- Condescension is one of the easiest flags to see; many Narcissists will do it before they have targeted someone personally, before they have started putting on the facade. It's easy to get this one "down" so it's obvious to recognize right off the bat (but it's not foolproof, there are people who are not "NPD" who condescend and there are N's who know better than to do it openly). To see it, just pay attention to strangers, like store clerks and waitstaff, sales people in various stores, the doctor's office, receptionists and nursing staff, school faculty; really anywhere there are humans~ listen to how they speak to you.
Condescension sounds like "I KNOW you know less than I do just by looking at you, so I'm going to over explain, change my vocal tone, invade your space, and assume you are completely clueless" or "I see you as a naive, inexperienced child, and myself as a fully capable and important adult". Or, "You're just a girl, (or just a boy, or just a young person, or just an older person...) so I am going to speak to you as if you just fell off the turnip truck, like you have no clue what's going on, either here or in life in general".
It can also sound and look like "You're one of those dumb blondies, aren't you?!" or "You're a cute little piece of fluff!" or "Look at those abs.." or "Why don't you cut/dye your hair?!"
or "You should gain/lose some weight, you'd be really hot"
It can sound and look like "You'd be happier if..." or "You whine too much.." or "You need to get a thicker skin..." or "Lighten up!"
It can sound and look like "You don't really belong here... you're not like us..."
It can also sound and look like "I really like your friend! You, however, I already don't like..."
or "I am pleased to speak to your friend (partner/relative/coworker), and I am showing them respect and courtesy. You, however, are a "lower" person, so I'm just going to pretend you don't even exist."
It can also sound like "You don't know what you're talking about" or "You are not as wise as I, or my associates..."
It can also sound like SILENCE~ a lack of acknowledgment of your PRESENCE, or of the fact that you spoke, or of what you actually said.
Basically, people who condescend seem to enjoy it, because apparently it gives them a sense of feeling like a "grown up", above and beyond lowly and clueless "child-people" like us...
Being able to recognize the signs and sounds of condescension (not just vocal tone) can be a tremendous asset in protecting one's self from future Narcissist problems, seeing through b.s., getting ripped off, and getting manipulated.
Amazingly, many humans will TRUST a condescender MORE than they will trust a person who treats them with respect, because their perception has been skewed from growing up around so much Narcissism. Condescension sounds like confidence, experience, and knowledge to many people, unfortunately for them. Good for con-artists, though...
For example, Mark calls three contractors to remodel his kitchen. The one who is the master craftsperson and carpenter is confident and sincere, so she simply answers Mark's questions and does not speak to him with an arrogant tone. Her price is in the middle of the three, and she is actually the most skilled and will do the best job. The other two are not as skilled; one of them is honest and also does not speak to Mark in an arrogant tone, but Mark senses that they may not be that experienced. The third one who bids far and above both of the others is the one Mark hires~ because he spoke DOWN to Mark, treating Mark like he was a complete novice, even clueless, even not very bright. Mark swallowed it hook line and sinker, without even finding more information about any of the contractors. If he had asked around, he would have found out that the middle bidder was easily the best and most talented, and the highest bidder has had several complaints about shoddy work and even unfinished jobs.
It happens all the time, from the highest levels government, to "Big Business" all the way to fast food employees. People don't realize that condescension is NOT a sign of knowledge, experience, or intelligence, it's just a sign of arrogance and delusions of grandeur, and actually indicates an absence of skill and knowledge, and disinterest in seeking information.