Ahh, the British. Perfecting the art of put-downs since before America was born. If you are a fan of British period dramas, then you know what I'm talking about. In the show, Downton Abbey, Dame Maggie Smith's character, Violet, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, perfects the art of insult with an air of grace.
Check out some scenes that highlight some of her best put-downs.
I basically watch the show to find out what she is going to say next. It's really quite brilliant.
I also feel that there are a few things from this show that we can all learn. For instance, it's okay to not pretend that you are the nicest person in the room. If there is someone that always seems to think they are better than you and tries to one-up you or put you down in their own way, let them have it. The best retort to anything that they say can be, "Oh, of course you think this or that," or "that doesn't surprise me in the least," or my favorite, "why ever would you do that?" The possibilities are endless.
However, when you are "putting down", remember that making facial expressions is important to furthering your retort. The Dowager Countess has no problem showing her disdain as she is saying her lovely words. She doesn't apologize for what she thinks and she certainly makes it known. I've been practicing this lately and I must say, that it is highly effective.
Snobbish friend: "While I was summering in Athens. . . "
Me: "Oh, of course you summer in Athens". [Insert look of feigned interest]
Snobbish friend: "Umm, I know not everyone can go to Athens, including you, but it is really lovely in the summer. . blah, blah, blah. . ."
My response, "Oh, I'm sure it's quite lovely. . " [Insert pointed stare with a hint of sarcasm and exasperation]
SOURCE: Georgia Public Broadcasting