December 19, 2017

The Secret Kind of Snob

I’ve been noticing more and more: a different kind of snob . . . a secret snob, if you will.

The Secret Kind of Snob

I’ve noticed a theme of arrogance lately—but what’s weird about it is that it seems to be a socially acceptable kind of arrogance. Here’s what I mean.

We all know what a snob is, right? The textbook definition is, “a person with an exaggerated respect for high social position or wealth or who believes that their tastes in a particular area are superior to those of other people.” The last part is what I want to point out. It describes something I’ve been noticing more and more: a different kind of snob . . . a secret snob, if you will.

I was at the mall the other day on my first Christmas shopping excursion of the season when I overheard two women talking about a friend they left back at the Kate Spade store. “I can’t believe she’s going to spend that kind of money on a purse,” one said to the other. “I know,” came the reply, “She always wants the latest designer bag. I would never spend that kind of money on a purse. I would never spend that kind of money on anything!”

Obviously there are several things going on here, but I couldn’t help but notice the particularly judgmental tone in their voices. They clearly thought they were better than their friend because they didn’t spend that kind of money on a designer purse. It’s an interesting twist on this idea of being a snob.

We think of snobs as people who think they are better than others because of their brand names, bank account or social status. But let me tell you a hard truth: If you’re looking down on another woman because she has a high social status or big bank account or designer brand name, she’s not the snob. You are.

The root of the problem is still the same: thinking you’re better than someone else, for any reason.

I don’t care if you’re snobby about Kate Spade or Walmart’s Great Value. It doesn’t matter if you think you’re better than someone because you spend so much money or you save so much money. It doesn’t matter what you’re being snobby about. When you think you’re better than someone else, you’re the one being a snob. It all comes from the same ugly place. No arrogance is acceptable—not even the coupon-clipping, craigslist-shopping, modest-lifestyle-living kind.

Galatians 5:26 (MSG) says, “That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives.” Amen to that!

Related: Podcast episode 36—Shake Off Your Shame

Friends, let’s stop with the comparison and arrogance, regardless of what it’s about.

Instead, let’s be as compelled to give our compliments and encouragement as we are our opinions and judgements. Let’s build each other up and cheer each other on. Let’s love each other well regardless of the number in our bank account or the label on our clothes. The Christmas season always brings a long list of things for us to cherish and celebrate, so let’s make sure that the women around us are on that list as well.

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  • Abby White says:

    Omg! I think I am guilty of being a secret snob (sometimes). I didn’t really realize I was doing this, but after reading this, I sure know I’m guilty. I am so glad you shared your thoughts on this. I want to love others well and build them up, not judge. It’s not my place. Today, I will change this ugly behavior. I will find a positive thing to say instead. Self improvement everyday. Have a beautiful day!

    • Dawn Black says:

      Abby, I was convicted as I read this too! Thank you for not being ashamed to admit it. I really didn’t even realize I was being this way, but now I can work on changing my thoughts and behavior patterns!

  • Michelle says:

    Thank you for this post. Exactly what I needed. I am wondering if you or someone from your network can help me find a powerful scripture saying not to judge or be a hypocrite. Unfortunately, the majority of the people I work with belong to the same religious group and they have developed a culture where if you don’t believe the same as they do you are somehow inferior and less valued as an employee. I would like to remind them this behavior goes against my impression of what they claim to believe in. I do not want to do it rudely, I would like to just display a biblical number on the window of my car to tell the world I think we should all love each other and not judge. Galatians 5:26 will work but wondering if there is a better one.
    Thanks in advance! Happy Holidays

  • Jen says:

    I remember my mom telling my sister when we were teens “Be careful not to look down your nose at people who look down their noses at other people.” It sounded funny at the time but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made.

  • Nancy says:

    You know, this is really true, and your words gave me a heart and mind check. I’ve always felt that being wasteful of what God has given us is sinful. I’ve taken that to include wasting electricity or water but especially money. I think what it is going to boil down to is making sure I’m true to my own beliefs but being careful of any judgement I place on others for their actions.

  • Lila says:

    I actually quit reading a lot of personal finance blogs because many of them have this attitude that anyone that’s wealthy is broke, and if you’re not buying stuff at goodwill you’re “evil” or some type of degenerate, etc.

    I’m not wealthy, I’m just in college right now but it was such a huge turn off for me, I pretty much to stick to Dave Ramsey, and a couple of independent PF blogs that are more well-balanced.

  • This is so true. So what kind of purse or phone someone has? Are they a good person? Do they treat others with kindness, love and respect? I don’t get why some women have to tear others down in order to feel better about themselves.

    Our high school days are over. Let’s empower each other and see where that takes us.

  • Bethany says:

    What a humbling reminder that pride rears its ugly head in unexpected and even seemingly virtuous places! I certainly have a heritage of thrift-store bargain pride!! This pride can also bleed into my realm of wholesome nutrition and natural living. I have to fight the tendency to snobbishness in that arena as well.

    Michelle, If I may respond to your comment, I think what you may be getting at is addressed in Scriptures such as Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (ESV). Also Colossians 3:12 and the following verses in that paragraph remind us how we are to live as God’s beloved and chosen ones. Only the Spirit in us can create a heart of true humility and not conceit and judgement. The Colossians verse states the positive side of what we should be doing instead of just the “thou shalt not” of the Galatians 5:26 passage. May your humility and gentleness be an encouragement to your co-workers!

  • Sheryl says:

    Good view point. If you look down on others because they dress expensive or dress modestly, you are still a snob. So then it must be if you look down on others because they go to church / don’t go to church, then you are a snob. And if you look down on others because they vote conservative / liberal, you are a snob.

  • Lynette says:

    Unfortuneatly, this does not only apply to friends and aquaintences, but family also. Since I am in my mid-fifties, never married and don’t have kids, My own family members gossip, judge and “feel sorry” for me that I don’t have the usual life experiences. I have the “old maid” knik-name and always tell me that I should “get back out there” and meet someone to cook and clean for. Thanks, but I know whats out there and that is why I prefer to be alone. I also thank the Lord every day that I don’t have kids, in my situation. But do they acknowledge that I’m the one who lives with my elderly parents and the daily challenges that brings, or that I’m using my creative talents to honor the Lord with my tatted and clay creations. And secondly want those creations to help make this world just a little bit prettier. Even if it’s for a second or two. They dwell on what I don’t have or what they have heard based of the mean-spirited gossip of other jealous old ladies that are stuck in relationships that they don’t want to be in with people they don’t love.

  • Jennifer says:

    Thank you for this perspective. It does seem like all the people involved are fitting the “snob” definition, including the person the friends left behind at Kate Spade. Do you have any advice on how to strive to meet your goals at being the best in business, wealth, life, whatever it is, without coming across as a snob?

  • Thomas johnson says:

    This was a powerful message and it’s needed When I was growing up in the 70’s we did not have much but we, my family, never looked at who were rich all we did was focus on building our selfs up. We knew others had more than us. So what that was their business not ours.

  • Heather says:

    The judgement that is pervading our society right now is overwhelming to me! Who you voted for, who you didn’t vote for, what you believe in, why you support something…it is to a point where I feel like I cannot speak out loud to friends or certain people. Reading or listening to the news is no better. I get very judgmental of people who are very judgmental! And I guess I should change that…