As we compare ourselves to others, as I was talking about in last week’s blog, inevitably we fall prey to a certain attitude, either coming from ourselves or coming from each other. That attitude is commonly known as patronizing another person, or being patronized, whichever the case may be.
It dawned on me as I attended my first Zumba class in two years that no matter how much we say we can’t stand being patronized (or maybe that’s just me), we all do it and it’s done to us all the time, even by those people we love and those people we call friends. Think about it for just a minute. Have you ever been doing something with a friend and say you were doing it just a little bit better than your friend? Either I am just a bad person and imagining things from other people, or what I just mentioned leads to a certain amount of feeling smug. And, whether you want to admit it or not, sometimes that smugness leaks out and other people notice. Call it friendly competition or whatever you want, but the bottom line is that it goes back to people judging each other and ultimately patronizing each other. It’s that “I’m better than you and I feel immense pleasure at that knowledge.”
In my experience (that is my disclaimer, in my experience), guys can be patronizing if they know more about politics or something similar than another person. Or if they are better in sports. Girls patronize each other sometimes on just about everything. I don’t know if it goes back to the cavewoman days where we were competing with each other for the biggest caveman who was best able to provide or what, but girls like competition. And we are much more subtle about it than men, I would think. We’re also meaner. If you have ever seen Mean Girls with Lindsey Lohan, you know exactly what I am talking about. Girls are like kids, unexpectedly vicious sometimes. Unlike men with their physical strength, we have to get creative and that leads to the fun stuff, but I am getting off track.
So we all patronize, random strangers and our best friends if we’re completely honest with each other. Like I said last week, I think it comes down to insecurity a little bit, and that human need to feel our own worth, sometimes even if it means we’re better than our friends for just a minute. Is that a bad thing? Not until it turns into what we like to call a pissing contest and people walk away mad and with hurt feelings.
Consider this some of that “rise above it” –ish advice. The next time you feel like you are being patronized by anyone, I don’t care who it is, instead of getting upset, take a minute and think that maybe that person is just as insecure as you are and they need to feel good for a minute. The person might really be an asshole, but if you learn to think like that, you can probably save yourself in blood pressure medication down the road. P.S. Yes I am going to try to take my own advice and no, I don’t plan on turning this blog into an advice column, no matter what the last two updates have looked like. Just saying.
I cannot end this blog without addressing those who do patronize. All I have to say is try not to do it. Whether or not you think people notice, they do. That is something to keep in mind, for everyone.