You can always tell when you are being underrated or you’re not being supported. Whether you hear it outright when someone expresses an assumption about what they think your limitations are, or there is just a sense that they are dismissing your contributions. However, you know more about yourself than anyone else ever can or will. You are the one who knows how successful you are and can continue to be.
Here are some comebacks to say when you experience behavior that is dismissive, and what you can do for yourself to keep your pride:
- Say this: “Why do you think I’m not capable of doing well? I’d like to hear your views so I can improve.” You’ve disarmed the snarky remark with the willingness to hear their point of view, and they will have to own the assumption they made about you.
Do this: Show pride in yourself externally. You can do this when you walk confidently, make smart clothing choices, and ensure you do perform to the best of your ability. It’s harder for people to underestimate you if you look as though you know what you’re doing.
- Say this: “I think I’m perfectly capable of dealing with these new responsibilities.” This is a great way to put your feelings out there without blaming anyone else. It is more effective than, you’re wrong about my capabilities. This strikes a great balance between expressing yourself, while not being confrontational.
Do this: Bring to mind the reasons you have pride in yourself. No matter how insignificant they may seem, your previous accomplishments can show you that the one small thing you are being underestimated for is not that important when you think about it.
- Say this: “What makes you ask this question?” or “What does that mean? This comeback is best for people who underestimate you, but aren’t trying to be nasty. For example, your boss might question whether you’re capable of performing a task because he’s seen you fail at it before.
Do this: Use the criticism constructively. You don’t need to buy into others’ assumptions or agree with the feedback about your capabilities. Let them know that you will work on it if you see the need.
- Say this: “You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, but I’d rather let the outcome speak for itself, rather than make you decide whether I can do this or not.” One of the best ways to counteract critics who underestimate you is for them to see you succeed at the very thing about which they’re underestimating you.
Do this: If someone is underestimating you, just focus on mastery of the task you’re working on and ignore the assumptions. It’s a great way to use their underestimation of you as motivation. Remember though, that if you fall short of your mark, what matters is how you feel about it, not others.
- Say this: “Remember when I asked for your opinion? Me neither.” You can use this comeback for the times you face a snarky, belittling, or outright-mean remark.
Do this: If someone is very harsh in underestimating you, you can always choose to avoid giving this person the satisfaction of a reaction. For example, you can just ignore the comment or walk away. There’s nothing to be gained from engaging with people who say nasty things. You can prove the other person wrong with your actions, and you don’t need to talk with them about it.