People who are secretly judgmental often use these 5 phrases in a conversation

I’m proud to say it. I’m a fan of Mean Girls from way, way back. 

And I’m not talking about the recent (inexplicably musical) remake, I’m talking the 2004 classic. There’s no competition.

Think about it. There’s a huge reason Rachel McAdams’ Regina George goes down as a hall of fame bully.

It’s not just her ability to pull off hot pink or become high school’s ultimate queen bee—it’s that Regina is one of the most judgmental characters of all time! 

Seriously, she pulls it off so damn well. From throwing shade on people’s outfits, to manipulating opinions to control the entire school scene (with the Burn Book being her weapon of choice, of course) Regina’s got judgment on lock.

Maybe you even know a real-life Regina. And maybe, just maybe, you are 100% sick of their judgmental attitude.

If this is the case, I’m with you.

So, if you happen to be keeping an eye out for the signs that someone might be judgemental—but they are trying to be a little subtle about it—here is what they might say.

Starting with one of my least favorite ones: the unconvinced doubter.

1) “Oh yeah, how did you manage that?”

Ah. You know that person, the one who has this subtle air of superiority but tries to keep it low-key, so as to appear humble and chill.

But you see it. Yeah, you do!

Because every now and then, this person will inevitably sprinkle in a comment that rubs you the wrong way. 

Why? Because it stinks of judgment, doubt, and veiled critiques.

This might surface in the form of “Oh yeah, how did you manage that?” 

When this judgmental person throws this apparently innocent question your way, they are not curiously looking into your achievements. Not a chance!

Instead, they are digging deep for details to dissect and analyze. The goal for them is to pull you apart completely. 

Look underneath it all and there is an unmistakable hint of skepticism. 

Legit, they might as well be saying, “I cannot believe you pulled that off, so go ahead prove it to me.”

This question is a slick, judgmental inquiry wrapped up in a cloak of questioning.

They are silently daring you to prove yourself. Sneaky as heck, right?

Sure, they are not not outright saying they doubt you, but they are inviting you to convince them otherwise. Take it from me—do not fall for it.

Remember, you don’t have to prove a thing to them—let your accomplishments speak for themselves. 

The truth will reveal itself, either way.

2) “Hang on. I have a much better idea.”

I really don’t like it when I am in the zone, like, I’ve settled into a conversational groove, and I have someone (usually, a man) interject with their unsolicited take.

To me, there is nothing worse—conversationally speaking.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean anyone who offers a suggestion or their opinion, I mean the kinds of comments that stink of judgment. Pee-ew.

I know you know the ones! It might be along the lines of: “Hang on. I have a much better idea.”

But why, oh why, do they do this? 

Well, the ultra-judgmental people in the world usually thrive on the need to outshine everyone around them, including you, in order to project an air of superiority

It’s not even about you and your tastes—although it can feel super personal in the moment—rather, it’s about them wanting to showcase their wisdom.

The worst part of all is that they seriously think they are doing you a favor.

3) “Oh, I didn’t know that was your kind of thing.”

“Oh, I didn’t know that was your kind of thing” is yet another cheeky way for a judgmental person to get at you. But why is this the case?

Well, think of it as their unique, distinctive way of feigning ignorance.

In saying this, they are basically suggesting that your interest or hobby does not appear to align with the idea they had architected of you in their mind.

It is kind of akin to Regina George’s famous line: “So you agree? You think you’re really pretty?”

It’s super sneaky the way this kind of phrase can casually blend into conversation while masking a world of judgment behind it.

The judgy person gets to maintain a front of politeness while quietly judging you and what you happen to be into.

4) “You’ve probably never heard of it.”

When someone claims some exclusive, elitist knowledge of something they deem to be specialist or obscure, there is a good chance they are one of the judgiest people out there.

I’m telling you, when they let slip the “You’ve probably never heard of it” line, it’s as if they are saying they are in on a huge secret that you will never be privy to.

Cue a collective eye roll.

It’s essentially their way of declaring superiority over you, of placing themselves in a whole other league entirely, by putting on a cool persona.

5) “Are you 100% certain about that?”

This final line is what I believe to be the ultimate cover-up for the judgmental person in disguise.

When a person turns to you while you are mid-conversation, and drops the line: “Are you 100% certain about that?” don’t respond immediately. 

Instead, pause, mull it over, and think about what they might mean.

And here’s what I think they mean. 

By asking if you are “sure” about something you have stated, they are making a play for you to defend your stance.

They want to see if you can hold your ground.

Instead of them being more straightforward coming out and saying their opinion, they cover it up with doubt.

By adding this doubt to the mix, they create a diversion, steering attention away from their own opinions while slyly testing yours.

Final thoughts

If you have ever met a master of subtle judgment, all of this (or some of this) will have struck a chord with you.

They will drop the “Are you certain about that?” line in conversation in an attempt to quietly question every little move you make—and in front of everyone, too.

Plus, there is always going to be the judgy person who is also the one-upper. 

You know, the one who will always better what you have just said and act like they have done you the ultimate favor.

And then there is the “cool” guy, the “well, you’ve probably never heard of this one” savant. Yep, they talk as if you live under a rock.

Remember, being genuinely curious always wins over barely-concealed judgment. 

So, let’s go ahead and keep it real!

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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