Dealing With Snobs

Snobby businessman sitting in couch.
  Antonio Saba / Getty Images

Have you ever been around someone who thought she was better than you? Or have you experienced being left out by people who clearly think you're beneath them?

Do you find yourself being the victim of an arbitrary set of rules that someone else set to meet their so-called standards? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you're the victim of someone else's snobbery.

Snobs are everywhere. You'll find them in the city, out in the suburbs, at work, and in school. You can often recognize them by the fact that they think they're better than everyone else. They may be surrounded by people, yet they have fewer true friends than most because they care more about themselves than others.

Regardless of your social standing or economic status, there is absolutely no reason to be a snob. After all, one of the most important rules of proper etiquette is showing respect for others. Snobbery does the opposite.

Traits of Snobs and Well-Mannered People

Traits of a snob:

  • Snobs typically make others uncomfortable by insisting on their specific set of rules, which may or may not be appropriate. These rules may be based on what brands you "must" wear, neighborhoods that are acceptable by their standards, or places that you should or shouldn't frequent.
  • Snobs put others down by excluding them from events for arbitrary reasons, such as lack of money or social status.
  • Snobs are often phony and try to make others think more highly of them than they deserve.
  • When backed into a corner, a snob may turn into a wimpy weasel. Instead of standing up for what is right, they are more likely to fight for whatever benefits them at the expense of others.

Traits of a well-mannered person:

  • Someone with good manners will do his or her best to make others comfortable.
  • Even when practicing proper etiquette, it will be silent and often invisible with no attention called to the actions.
  • A well-mannered person is more likely to cover for someone who doesn't know the etiquette rules than to call the person out for the infraction.

Definition of Snob

An individual snob is someone who thinks he or she is better than everyone else in one or all areas of life. This creates a mindset of entitlement. Snobs typically prefer designer labels and other status items to impress people rather than the intrinsic quality of the item.

Group snobbery is a little bit different. When you have a group that dictates what is or isn't acceptable according to illogical standards set by the leaders, the members of that group who follow these rules can be considered snobs. For example, a group of car enthusiasts may consider anyone who doesn't have a "muscle car" to be beneath them. Society snobs, may insist on wearing certain brands that they consider sophisticated. Or a group of chefs who look down on people who use boxed mixes may be classified as snobs. Members of these groups often rely on others to tell them what is or isn't acceptable.

In reality, snobs are often weak people who rely on outside factors to define themselves rather than their own core values and integrity. Their conversations may revolve around labels and other outside factors that have nothing to do with who they are as a person. It takes strength of character to do the right thing and follow proper etiquette that involves being kind to others, including those who don't fall into the same social or economic group.

How to Deal with a Snob

If you don't have to be around the snob, you are probably better off staying as far away as possible. However, there may be some circumstances that force you to be in close proximity.


  • Call them out. Privately let the snob know that his or her behavior is not acceptable. The snob may not realize how he or she is coming across, so you might be doing this person a favor. Don't be surprised if the snob becomes defensive at first, so after you say something, back off and let the person process the information.
  • Ignore the behavior. When the snob does or says something snooty, ignore it and continue with whatever you were doing. Eventually, the snob might take the hint and stop misbehaving.
  • Avoid certain topics. If you know that certain subjects bring out the snob in someone, don't discuss them when you are around them. If someone else brings up the topic, change the subject to something less likely to bring out the snobbery.

Teaching Your Children How to Avoid Snobbery

Most people's natural tendency is to surround themselves with others who are similar in one or more aspect of their lives. This may be based on culture, religion, academic, or other group that provides comfort and sameness. Your children are no different.

Parents need to teach their children proper manners and then allow their children to be friends with whomever they choose while letting them know certain things are not acceptable. Naturally, this precludes letting them hang out with thieves, liars, druggies, and other people who can ruin their lives. But if your kids are in honors classes at school, it makes sense that their peers are other honor students, as long as they know this doesn't make them better or more important people. You might even want to emphasize that while their strength may be academic, other people might excel in music, art, or sports.

Teenagers can be susceptible to peer pressure which is often filled with snobbish comments and actions. If you have set the foundation when they were younger, your teenager should be able to weather the snob storm. However, if you see troubling behavior from your teen, spend more time showing how the snobs are the most insecure people of all.

Things to emphasize to your children:

  • Be respectful of others, regardless of social status, family income, abilities, or other criteria.
  • Be a good neighbor.
  • Be a good sport.
  • Never humiliate others in private or public.
  • It's okay to disagree but give the other person a chance to voice an opinion.
  • Acknowledge other people's accomplishments and never take credit for something someone else did.
  • Be prepared for the times when a snob makes a rude comment or asks a rude question.

Beating Snobbery

Anyone with confidence can leave the house every morning feeling comfortable in their own skin and know that no amount of snobbery will make them better than anyone else. When you're subjected to snobbery, remember that it's their problem, not yours.