my patronizing coworker interrupts meetings to explain basic things to me

A reader writes:

My coworker, Craig (mid-40s, male), chronically interrupts discussions in meetings, ostensibly to “help” me (mid-50s, female) by explaining obvious things.

Typical example: Other Coworker is proposing a plan to use to our advantage a quirk in the way our state categorizes, say, UFO sightings. I’m well aware of this quirk, because I developed our company’s internal UFO tracking documents. In the midst of this perfectly clear discussion, Craig interjects, “Hold up, let’s make sure everybody’s following. Jane might be a little lost. Jane, do you know what ‘UFO’ stands for?” As usual, I assure Craig that I’m thoroughly versed in this subject. … and yet he ignores me and proceeds to deliver Today’s Rudimentary Lesson on the Thing We All Already Know.

Craig and I are both in senior roles, with different specialties in which we’re competent and qualified. I have all the customary degrees and licenses, and have been in the industry several years longer than Craig, while he’s been at this company a few years longer (and has been talking to me as if I’m brand new ever since I was actually new, more than eight years ago.)

Craig has a reputation for dismissive and contentious behavior toward other female coworkers, so my read is that his interruptions are intended to keep getting the idea into colleagues’ heads that I’m lacking basic understanding of our work, while simultaneously demonstrating that he’s the expert who can translate complicated things into one-syllable bite-sized pieces for the edification of the tiny-brained. I find this sad and tiring, and my coworkers’ reactions suggest they’re also super annoyed.

What’s the best way to address this next time it happens? I’ve already tried many variations of “Yes, I do know all about that. Please let Other Coworker continue” — yet it never staves off the remedial lecture.

It would be a difficult and perhaps too trivial thing to take to HR: it would sound like I’m complaining about Craig for trying to be helpful, or he would spin it that way.

Of course, it would be fun to start preemptively interrupting meetings myself to explain wildly basic stuff for Craig’s benefit, but is there some more professional response that would stop this “help” once and for all?

Craig is an ass.

And wow, he is an unusually flagrant ass. He’s stopping meetings to provide remedial lectures to you, in front of people who are all well aware that of course you don’t need them? He’s obtained a special level of dickishness that we don’t normally see.

A couple of options:

First, when Craig interrupts a meeting to “explain” a basic comment to you, choose from the following menu in the moment:

* “Are you really explaining what UFO stands for? How could I not be aware of that?”
* “What a bizarre thing to halt a meeting for. Obviously I’m aware of what a UFO is.”
* “Obviously all of us here are well aware of that.”
* “I can’t figure out why you thought I would need that explained!”
* “Why are you explaining that to me?”

These are all more irritable-sounding than what I normally recommend, but that’s because Craig’s behavior is so outrageously over the top. It’s appropriate for him to hear how utterly ridiculous he’s being; he should receive a clearly frustrated, somewhat baffled response. It’s also fine for others at the meeting to see that you’re aggravated — what he’s doing is aggravating, and your similarly annoyed coworkers will probably be grateful that someone is calling it out.

In addition to or in place of that, you could also talk to Craig one-on-one and say, “It’s really weird that you keep pausing meetings to explain rudimentary concepts to me. Stop doing that.” If he argues or tells you that you’re misinterpreting, say, “The upshot is you need to stop.” Do not be wishy-washy here or soften the message; Craig is relying on people women not to bluntly call him out; show him that you will.

For what it’s worth, I don’t agree that this isn’t worth escalating (maybe not to HR, but possibly to Craig’s boss). The message isn’t “Craig is being too helpful.” The message is, “Craig has a pattern of undermining and questioning women’s knowledge and expertise.”

{ 545 comments… read them below }

    1. 2023 Got Better*

      Being a woman is just exhausting. Professionally and personally. This constant barrage designed to keep us ‘in our place’ is incredibly wearing.

      1. Random Dice*

        I think it’s perfectly appropriate to use the word “mansplain” in this context.

        “Thanks, Craig, for mansplaining the process I invented decades before you were even hired. Now back to what we were saying…”

        And also talk to HR.

          1. San Simeon*

            I tend to just not say anything, when someone interrupts me when I am speaking in a lecture or presentation. I just stop, stare at them, and not say anything. A complete lack of expression and response is often very effective when someone is being a dick. Sometimes, I may cock my head to one side, like a pup as if to say – “I’m confused by your behavior,” and maybe have a frown. All the typical body language that says, ‘what the hell are you doing there buddy?’ Letting them embarrass themselves with the weight of silence can often be very effective.

            Other times, I just call them out – “I’m sorry, why did you just interrupt me? Please don’t do that again.” It is indeed very exhausting being a woman in the world of men, sometimes, but it is getting much, much better with each new generation of women.

        1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

          Agree with the sentiment 100%. I am wary of any whiff of appreciation or sarcasn (i.e., using “thanks”).

          I’d modify the script to, “Craig, there’s no need to mansplain the process I invented decades before you were even hired. Now back to what we were saying…”

          1. Mongrel*

            “Wow Craig, it looks like you’re having a problem with “I understand that” let me explain that to you…”

            1. L'étrangère*

              Oh yes, womansplain right back to him, detailing what he appears to be missing. I think this one’s brilliant

        2. Boof*

          I would not actually do this. Just say “yes Craig I know; I need you to stop interrupting meetings to explain things no one has has asked you about”

            1. Boof*

              I’m glad it worked for you. I think I find it too snarky for a professional/somewhat formal setting.

              1. Llama Identity Thief*

                Sometimes you need to use some snark for someone to Actually Get The Message. This appears like one of those times.

        3. Ms. Climpson*

          As satisfying as this might be, using the word “mansplain” will likely trigger him and the whole meeting would get derailed while he has a tantrum.

        4. lpuk*

          sorry Craig, do you know what mansplaining means? it’s when a man unnecessaril;y explains something really obvious to a woman who already had expert knowledge in that topic… rather like what we’ve just witnessed. Is that now clear to you??

      2. Sweet 'N Low*

        These are the aspects of sexism that are so, so hard to explain to people who don’t experience them. The one that wears on me the most is constantly being treated like a child. It’s never in major ways, of course, which makes it so hard to explain why it’s so degrading. Even worse, it often seems from the outside like the other person is being nice… but if you reimagined any of these things being done/said to a man, they suddenly seem really weird. Going up to a man who’s carrying a box and saying, “Oh, you shouldn’t be carrying that, let me get that for you.” Calling a man “sweetie.” Refusing to go through a door a man is holding because “I should be holding that for you.”

        1. Zephy*

          AUGHHH the door thing. I have had men break into a sprint to reach a door we were both heading toward, and which I was going to reach a full 8-10 seconds before him, so that he could do the creepy gallant thing and open the door for the little lady.

          Men. Stop doing this. If you’ve never done this, thank you, continue not doing it. If you see your boys doing this, tell them to cut it the hell out.

          1. DJ Abbott*

            I would feel a little sorry for a man who did this. He must have so little going on to go to such lengths to feel good about himself.

          2. WhatTheActualFact*

            I must be one of the few feminists that have no objection to this at all. You want to help me? Great! Thank you! :D

            Mansplaining? No, GTFOH and stop patronising!

            1. Billy Preston*

              Yeah, it doesn’t bother me and I often hold the door for other people! And especially when it’s a man and they get confused, I love it.

              So I vote for more holding doors open for people of all genders.

              1. amoeba*

                Yes, this for sure! I’m all for being polite and helpful and generally… nice to people of all genders! But the original complaint was about men refusing to walk through a door that a woman holds open for them. Which is… different.

              2. aebhel*

                Holding open the door open for someone who’s right behind you or obviously has their hands full is normal and polite. Sprinting ahead of someone to make a big Gesture out of holding the door open for them is weird and annoying.

          3. Medusa*

            This, and “letting” me on the elevator when you’re already in front of me and this blocking half of the doorway, and doing the same thing when we’re getting off the elevator when you are in front of me because you insisted on me getting on ahead of you, and you are now blocking the door while waiting for me to get off.

          4. Rachael*

            Oh my god, yes! Add a pram to this and it becomes completely uncontrolled! I’ve had men insist on holding doors open for me when I’ve been out with my twins and then be frustrated with me when I was never going through that door in the first place!

            1. amoeba*

              To be fair, I (as a woman) would also hold the door for a person with a pram because, well, they might not have their hands free! That just seems like a genuinely nice thing to do, regardless of gender? (Not for doors you have no intention of walking through, obviously!)

              1. Happy*

                Opening the door for anyone regardless of gender is indeed a nice thing to do.

                Chauvinistically opening the door for women, which some men do, is not a nice thing to do.

        2. Boof*

          Yeah, I never really contemplated the “women and children first!” thing as being incredibly patronizing until I did some martial arts where I (the only woman) was often paired with the younger kids and… well I don’t mind teaching them but let’s say I don’t really actually get much relevant practice for myself in that situation XD And then it dawned on me how clearly infantilizing it is.

          1. Clare*

            I always thought the idea was that women are needed to care for the children because obviously all the women know how. Besides, none of the men should be expected to know how to do women’s work, eww, how insulting.

            Just as demeaning, but in a different way. Who knows, it’s probably both. Sigh.

            1. Boof*

              The phrase “children and parents first” or “children and caregivers first” instead of “Women and children first” would totally make sense in a “make sure escaping children are properly taken care” way. But I always thought it intended in the more chivalrous “women need to be protected… like children” way

        3. Mongrel*

          “Even worse, it often seems from the outside like the other person is being nice…”

          Same as in abusive relationships. Outsiders just see the one incident that looks fairly innocuous rather than the persistent and constant belittling that makes it so grinding to the recipient

      3. EllieJay*

        Agree so much with this, it’s been 30 years of the SOSDD. I think this guy has worked in every dev shop I’ve been in.

      4. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        Yes. I have twice stated facts (in my private life not professional) in the past few days, only to see a man whip out his phone to prove me wrong. The first had sat listening to my partner explain a whole lot of stuff about an obscure country we were about to visit. At least half of what my partner had said was wrong, but never mind. Yet when I contributed one interesting fact, out came the phone. Then just last night someone mentioned the Oktoberfest in Germany, because some Germans had come to our place in September, bringing us a souvenir. I simply explained that yes, they probably had been to the Oktoberfest just before coming to our place, because weirdly, the Oktoberfest starts mid-September. The souvenir was right before our eyes as evidence, but the man couldn’t just accept my word for it. They needed Google’s confirmation. It’s exhausting. This guy’s excuse, when I called him out, was that I’m sometimes wrong. And that he does it to other men too. Except that if it were a man who’d said it, he’d probably have googled “why is Oktoberfest in September” rather than “is Oktoberfest in September”.

    2. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

      I work with a Craig, except that he went to law school and works in a nonlegal position while I went to law school and have been a working lawyer for 31 years, so in addition to the explaining things, he’s wrong about what he’s explaining.

        1. PTBNL*

          I laughed during a call while reading this. Im a 20 year paralegal who has a Craig with a non legal business background so worth it.

      1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

        He explained that the lawyers at our org “do X all the time” to my most senior attorney. When I told him that was condescending (because she’s the one who does X and has been doing it for 15 years), he told me I was wrong.

        1. Csethiro Ceredin*

          “no, sweetie, I’m not being condescending. Do you know what they long word means?”

          *incoherent rage noises*

          1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

            At first, I read that as *you* saying that to the Craig at your org. Maybe worth trying?

            …I’m not sure if I’m being sarcastic or not.

            1. TechWorker*

              Me too. Maybe try ‘that’s incredibly condescending. Do you understand what that means?’ With a bright smile…

            2. KateM*

              If Craig is white, then I don’t know how OP has managed to make it so far without ever murmuring under her breath (but still audibly to Craig) “God give me the confidence of a mediocre white man”.

      2. Lauren19*

        Yup. I’ve been in communications for 20+ years and have a journalism degree. Had one male senior to me question my comms strategy based solely on the fact that he went to journalism school 30 years ago (and then spent his career in sales). Had another male tell me he didn’t need help because his wife was in comms one level higher than me, despite the fact that she had NEVER worked at our company.

        1. Im the problem it’s me*

          I just had a 70+ yo white man tell me that he knows all about privacy law and security issues because his MOTHER worked in a bank when he was a kid. Well gee sir that’s wonderful but I’m sure even she will agree that a few laws and regulations might have changed at both the state and federal levels once or twice since 1963.

        1. Random Dice*

          My long-ago coworker punished her husband for some infraction by taking all of his socks and invisibly cutting the seam over the big toe. Every single sock.

          I never ceased being afraid of that woman.

    3. Purpleshark*

      Or Craig is an external processor who needs a dupe to do that too and uses Jane. I would be inclined to tell him the following -“Craig, if you are having trouble processing new information in your mind do not use me -or anyone else- to do that aloud.”

      1. Mad Harry Crewe*

        Nah, don’t do his work for him. Focus on the behavior, not on figuring out why the behavior is happening. The ‘why’ doesn’t matter if the behavior is as inappropriate as this.

        1. Purpleshark*

          I think you misunderstand- my implication is that HE is the one who is explaining things to HIMSELF. Said to the group aloud provides the opportunity for others to know that he is really doing this so that HE will understand. I don’t really care what his motivation is but, I hope that this will embarrass him into being quiet in the future as it implies that he is slow.

          1. She of Many Hats*

            So you say “Yes, Craig, that is correct. What part of that don’t you understand? I’m happy to help you find the answer.”

            1. Selena81*

              I kinda think it is how his mind works though: that if he is unsure about something he spins it as ‘can someone please explain this concept to some nearby woman’.

              And when he does know something he can’t keep himself from infodumping on the nearest woman.

              1. ClaireW*

                Nah i think he geninely thinks (and/or wants other people to think) that women are less capable of understanding. It’s nothing to do with his own understanding, it’s pure basic sexism, like a lot of men I’ve worked with.

    4. BenAdminGeek*

      Hold up here, guys. Teapot, I just want to confirm that Jane knows what “Cut it out” means. Jane, “Cut it out” means to stop doing things. It’s a pretty common phrase, but you might not understand. Let me know if you need me to help with figuring things like this out.

    5. ugh craig*

      Work with a Craig, who is a newer member of the executive team. He mansplains constantly to the younger looking women on the team. Good news on this – everyone is aware of it, and constantly shuts it down (“Craig, why are you explaining this legal issue to our general counsel? you aren’t a lawyer.” “Craig, Sue wrote that document, how bizarre you are trying to teach her about it. Moving on…”). Was on a hybrid meeting, he was on the phone, rest of us in the room. He did this to the other woman, and the WTF faces in the room were classic. The big boss shut him down quickly. And somehow Craigs projects just aren’t moving very quickly…

      1. Boof*

        /And somehow Craigs projects just aren’t moving very quickly…/
        Mmm, is the implication craig isn’t competent, and basically attempts to cover their own confusion by explaining stuff that is actually really basic to make themselves feel superior?

        1. Candi*

          More, I think.

          People who have trouble with their jobs and politely ask for help find all sorts of ropes and ledges to help them along.

          People who have trouble with their jobs and alienate everyone who could help them find a smooth cliff where they have to hack out the steps themselves.

          1. Zweisatz*

            We have one of those and he is halfway competent and somewhat higher up, however he has alienated so many people with his condescending and pushy behavior that he is simply less effective at his job.
            Prime example why you should be courteous to your coworkers.

              1. Zweisatz*

                Admin support, IT Support, knowledge transfer – you name it! It is truly so self-defeating.

    6. Susan*

      Honestly to nip this in the bud is always the best strategy. The first time it happens you immediatly say, thanks Craig from now on if anyone at the table needs clarification they can stop the discussion and get some. From now on lets just assume everyone knows their job, thats why they are here.

      If it continues, get really direct. Craig, I knew that. Please stop interrupting.

      And if it happens again or there is any sort of defense, you frankly become a fire breathing dragon and state. Craig, I am a senior here for a reason. Stop.
      And use glare, assertive body language and back it up.

      Anyone that runs over you or continues to mansplain to you will now have decided you are to big of a “b*tch” and they don’t like getting taken to task in front of the group. DO IT IN FRONT OF THE GROUP. Always.

      Many of us wait till we can descalate. But with this sort of behavior, it just encourages it. Its territory grabbing. Just stop it in its tracks.

  1. MysteriousMise*

    my favourite Alison replies are those that out the tl;dr at the top.

    Craig, you’re an arse.

    1. SarahKay*

      I’m particularly fond of Alison’s phrase “a special level of dickishness ” in this one.

    2. Bronze Betty*

      “my favourite Alison replies are those that out the tl;dr at the top.”

      Yes, a thousand times yes!

    3. Kiwi*

      there was one a few weeks ago where her reply was basically “what the f***” and it fit perfectly. i can’t remember which now though!

      1. Zidy*

        That was the one where the OP’s coworker claimed they were talking to the OP’s dead relatives.

        And personally, I thought Allison was rather understated in her reactions. Both there and here. But then again, it’s why she has the successful advice blog.

      2. I Laugh at Inappropriate Times*

        I read one a couple weeks ago (I don’t remember if it was a new post, or something in the archives I got gleefully sucked into) where her response was “What the double fried f***?” And I found that to be the most delightful response ever.

        1. LaMiele*

          That was so funny, I wrote it down on a Post-It note so I can remember to use it everywhere I go!

  2. Sara*

    Honestly OP if he’s been doing this to you for 8 years, I’m shocked you haven’t snapped with a loud “Craig, that’s enough! Stop interrupting!” or a really sarcastic “Oh here we go again” with a major eyeroll to the person next to you.

    Would it be worth it to discuss this with other female employees that have been subjected to his behavior and get on the same page with a response? If you’re all consistently dismissing his lectures or responding like Alison suggests – maybe it’ll help? Maybe not. Or get someone superior to him to cut him off with a “If anyone needs a refresher, please reach out to Craig after the meeting. Otherwise we can continue on”. If your other coworkers are just as annoyed, I think you need to fight this jackoff together.

    1. Anonys*

      Honestly, personally I would just say to him in the meeting: “Craig, please stop trying to interrupt meetings to mansplain basic concepts of my job (which I have x years of experience in to me. It’s really weird”

      When he then gets defensive about how that’s not what he’s trying to do, he is just being conscientious, courteous, bla bla, just say: “Still, it’s really weird you keep trying to explain rudimentary concepts to me. I am pretty good at my job and we’re on the same level. In the future please assume that if I ever need a further explanation for anything, I will speak up for myself”

      I honestly feel like publicly calling him out is the way to go.

      Also, have you discussed this with other coworkers on these calls – have they noticed it? If you have good relationships there and they find it weird as well, you could recruit a trusted colleague to also speak up and say “wow Craig, its so weird you think OP doesnt know what an UFO is (- after all she is a senior alien advisor here)”

      1. TootsNYC*

        I agree—drag these things out into the open!
        “Craig, this is something you frequently do—interrupt the meeting to announce to everyone that I, specifically, must not know something that’s very basic. It’s coming across very pointed, as though you are attempting to sabotage my reputation within our work group. Please don’t do it anymore. it’s a massive waste of everyone’s time and it’s incredibly hostile to me.”

        Then when he sputters, say: “Nevertheless.”

        1. learnedthehardway*

          And do it IN THE MOMENT – don’t bring this up with him afterwards or in private. He is doing the behaviour in public. The only way to shut him down and stand up for yourself effectively is to return awkward to sender in the same context.

          1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

            One of my public speaking teachers armed two different students with a cliche counter bell and a vocal pause horn, to mark those issues in the moment. Maybe LW could use a phone-based sound board to mark when Craig is doing the thing again? Perhaps with an, um, appropriately *windy* sound effect, to represent that Craig is being a windbag?

            1. Indigo a la mode*

              Good gravy, that would be distracting while delivering a speech. Sounds like a great way to get more pauses.

              For that reason, though, I support it for Craig. I vote for sad trombone slide.

        2. Anonys*

          I think the main issue is that right now OP is “reassuring” Greg that she knows things. That’s too soft, especially if she is “nicely” saying: “Yes, of course I know that” – it still doesn’t challenge the premise of the question.

          I think the more OP can act confused and concerned by these comments, the better. A slightly softer approach for example (rather than straight up pointing out the mansplaining): (making a really confused face, wrinkling a brow) “How would i not know what an UFO is Greg? It’s really weird you would think that! I’m an expert in this and developed our UFO tracking documentation”

          Then when in the next meeting he says: “mhm, maybe we should explain to Jane what an extraterrestrial is”: “Craig, I’m just so confused! last meeting you thought I didnt know what UFO stands for and now this” what makes you think I don’t know basic concepts I use in my job everyday? Did you forget I am a licensed alien advisor?”

          Don’t be afraid to explicitly point out your expertise, OP, especially if it might not be clear to everyone in the meeting.

          1. waffles*

            Really though, wouldn’t acting confused just solidify Craig’s point (even if only in his mind)? Direct language could get the same point across without playing fake dumb.

            1. DJ Abbott*

              I think so too. He’ll only hear “confused”.
              Call him out with loud, simple phrases that can’t be misunderstood even by him.

            2. Boof*

              Yes, I think there should be more clear messaging that this is a craig problem, not an “op is confused” problem. I like more the “craig, we do not need these basics covered, as I’ve said before. Is something about this topic confusing you?”

      2. Totally Minnie*

        This is what I was going to suggest. Get some coworkers on your side and start pushing back on each other’s behalf when he starts doing this. If OP is the only one who ever pushes back, he’s going to complain about how she’s too sensitive and he’s just trying to help. It’s much harder for him to make himself out to be the victim of he’s getting pushback from all sides.

      3. goducks*

        Yes. I think it’s important that the LW point out that Craig is specifically undermining her expertise. I’m concerned that the fact this has gone on for eight years unchallenged has actually damaged the perception of LW as an expert somewhat, even if her colleagues all know he’s a blowhard and she’s an expert. That continual chipping away at her authority can do damage.
        She needs to point out in front of people that he’s targeting her specifically, and reassert her expertise in the same breath.
        Guys like Craig live in the land of benefit of the doubt. Meaning, they know they’ll be given it for their bad behavior. The LW needs to connect his behavior to her specifically as the target and show that it’s egregious given her expertise. Otherwise, the others in the meeting may not really connect what’s happening and extend Craig the benefit of the doubt, again.

          1. And the Skeletons Are ... Part of It*

            Yes! After the first “No, I don’t need that explained, it’s odd that you would think so,” as soon as he plows ahead, say, “Craig, why do you always assume your female coworkers are ignorant and unqualified?”

            1. TechWorker*

              I would use that last question without the ‘why’ – there’s no good answer.. whereas if you go ‘do you always do this?’ He basically has to go ‘er what no?’ and you can be like ‘ah good, don’t do it to me either then’ & move on.

        1. Palliser*

          I replied something very similiar below. You’re spot on. These are little digs designed to lower OP in the estimation of others over time. It’s a total power play, and the only way to combat it is to agressively and publicly assert yourself and make him pay a cost for the behavior. Especially if OP wants to keep climbing, she needs to get him to knock it off, and a little fear of her is no bad thing. Sadly, no matter how good you are at your job, you don’t get respect if you let yourself get pushed around. I’ve been dealing with this kind of thing for almost 20 years, and it’s a lesson I’ve only really learned in the last 3 or 4. OP has power too, but it’s almost like you don’t realize it until you exercise it. And everyone will benefit once she has freed herself. Everybody attending the meeting wants Craig to shut up too.

      4. learnedthehardway*

        I firmly agree – the only way this stops if if you confront it and make it embarrassing for the person to continue. Address the behaviour. Address the pattern of behaviour, too – but don’t ask a sarcastic question such as “Is there a reason why you feel I don’t know this information” – that will invite an argument about your qualifications or his experience relative to yours or whatever.

        Just tell him flat out that he is being disrespectful and condescending, and that you find his pattern of behaviour offensive, when he is well aware that you have X+ years of experience in the field and are his peer in the department.

        I would also raise this issue with HR and his manager. This is insane that nobody has knocked some professionalism into Craig before now.

    2. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I fully admit I have less tact than Alison in most cases, but I would have lost my shit on this man at this point.

      1. not nice, don't care*

        Craig, can you explain how a burdizzo works, and why you might be in need of one…

        1. Sharp-dressed Boston Terrier*

          I did not need to be enlightened in this particular manner this morning! But yes, if anyone ever needed one…

      2. Auga*

        I am in awe of OP’s patience. If it were me, I’d be writing in for advice on where best to hide Craig’s body.

    3. ARROWED!*

      It should be “reach out to LW.” Emphasize that Craig doesn’t need to be involved at all, because he doesn’t have some exclusive knowledge that only he can dispense to the masses of women who (he imagines) would be helpless without his expertise.

    4. Sloanicota*

      My first thought was to try and build allies in the room in advance, the way women in the white house practiced amplification techniques. Ideally, a male that Craig does respect could be enlisted also, but if there isn’t one, a chorus of other voices could still work. Every time Craig does this, other people in the room could counter, “that’s extremely odd, I have no doubt Jane knows this information” or, “Craig, we’re running short on time so I’m going to ask you not to interrupt with this right now.” “That seems obvious, Craig.”

      1. Putting the Dys in Dysfunction*

        Why is it that not a single ally has spoken up through 8 years of this shit?

        Makes me wonder about the culture there.

        1. Sloanicota*

          Yeah, but it’s possible they think Craig’s an ass but that Jane would be embarrassed if they spoke up. If they were asked to help her redirect him, maybe they would be happy to. It’s a dicey strategy – you’d have to pick people you could trust if you spoke with them discretely.

    5. Jessica*

      I’ve found that a quietly disdainful, “Are you about done?” works wonders in shutting people up.

    6. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      And even a confused “Craig, are you okay? You just stopped a meeting to explain what a UFO is to a licensed alien advisor.”

      (Potentially followed by “do you need to step out for a moment and collect yourself or can we get on with the meeting?”)

    7. Gan Ainm*

      I wouldn’t say “reach out to Craig for a refresher” because that reinforces him as an “expert,” id flip it around as another commenter suggested and say something like “Craig, if you need a refresher please reach out to myself, Amy or Sue after the meeting and we’d be happy to bring you up to speed, but we have a lot to get through and need to keep moving with the agenda.”

      1. PlainJane*

        On the other hand, you could use it to infinitely waste his time. Finish the meeting and one after another go over and say, “Craig, could you explain how FTL travel works in Einsteinian physics?” “Craig, could you teach me how to scrape the gum off the bottom of the table? I just don’t get the chemistry.” “Craig, could you show me how the vacuum cleaner works?” “Craig…”

        Until he understands the sarcasm or his head explodes, whichever comes first.

        1. Coffee Bean*

          Yeah – I would be tempted to come up with inane questions for Crag to address. “Craig, if a tree falls down in a forest, and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”. ” Craig, candy corn – yay or nay?”. “Craig – toilet paper – over or under?”

          1. PlainJane*

            Or, conversely, set aside a lot of time for the meeting and every member of the team can preface her remarks with, “Well, before I get started, I’m not sure Craig’s up to speed on the alien autopsy files, so… ” and “Okay, thanks, Dana. Before I get on to the virus we mean to upload, let me explain to Craig what a computer virus is…”

    8. Coverage Associate*

      I can’t figure out if the leaders of these meetings are women conditioned not to interrupt or men tacitly participating in the mansplaining. But the meeting leader should be shutting this down. If it’s a woman, I think it’s worth pointing out privately and asking her to intervene. I personally would be more careful raising it with a man.

      1. PlainJane*

        The first time it happened, I think I’d be too confused, or just be thinking, “Surely, he’s (a) kidding and (b) almost done.” The second time, I’d think, “Oh, h*ll no” and have a private conversation about it to avoid embarrassing him. If there were a third time, that’s when the gloves would come off. But the first time, I think I’d be so flummoxed by its occurrence that I’d be completely wrong-footed! Which is probably the point.

    9. Emma*

      Another option, depending on how long Craig tends to ramble, is to just step out. Look at your phone and say “oh, I should take this call. Please continue, Craig, and we can get back to [actual meeting topic] when I get back.” By doing this you’re demonstrating that his little monologue is not relevant or useful to you, and removing his power to make you sit there and listen to him.

      When you get back, you can jump immediately into the actual topic; if Craig tries to start up again, you could say something like “Gosh, Craig, I’m surprised you’re still on this topic! We’ve got a lot to get through, so [topic]”

    10. whingedrinking*

      I gotta say, somewhere around the second or third time my response would be, “Yes, Craig, I know that already. I’m not a complete fucking idiot, so stop treating me like one.”

      1. whingedrinking*

        (Hit post too soon.) I’m not saying I recommend that as a solution, just that I’d run out of patience a lot faster than LW.

  3. Harper the Other One*

    I definitely agree with telling Craig, “I will tell you if I need clarification on anything; otherwise do not explain a concept to me.” And definitely return awkward to sender in meetings: “I’ve told you I will ask if I need clarification. You are wasting everyone’s time by continuing to do this.” You might even loop in meeting organizers to cut him off if you think he won’t stop talking.

    And yeah, I’d discuss this with Craig’s boss and potentially point out that Craig has a reputation for doing this with feminine-presenting colleagues.

    1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      I really like the focus on “you are wasting everyone’s time” – it’s not only are you being an ass, but also you’re negatively impacting work in order to be an ass.

      Alison’s “what a bizarre thing to interrupt a meeting for” comment does this as well.

      I’d say “what a bizarre thing to interrupt a meeting for. Of course I know what a UFO is. Please continue, [Person who was speaking]”

      And if Craig continues, then interrupt and say “Craig, you’re wasting everyone’s time and this is getting really strange” and then just look at him with no expression.

      And “what on earth are you doing, let’s talk offline, but I’m done with you derailing meetings to explain basic concepts to people who specialize in them”

      1. duinath*

        craig, you’re holding up the meeting. again. if you’re confused we can talk about it later. hilda, why don’t you pick up where you left off.

      2. wordswords*

        Agreed — focusing on wasting everyone’s time is a useful (and extremely accurate!) phrasing, that has the benefit of emphasizing your professionalism and consideration.

    2. MigraineMonth*

      I’d also recommend interrupting him back. It feels rude and I wouldn’t recommend it if others in the meeting didn’t also seem frustrated, but he’s made it the only way of stopping him. If you’ve said you don’t need his explanation and he tries to explain anyway, do not let him:

      “You see, UFO stands for–”
      “I’ve told you I don’t need an explanation, Craig. Steven, please continue what you were saying before Craig interrupted.”
      “I want to make sure we’re all on the same page–”
      “We are all on the same page except for you, Craig. Steven, please continue the meeting.”
      “–and the F stands for–”
      “Craig, stop it. Steven, I think you were telling us your idea for using the UFO reporting quirk.”

      1. Sloanicota*

        Right, at the moment Craig is hiding behind the audacity and the knowledge that OP is too polite to cause a scene or create awkwardness. You need to return his awkwardness to sender, in a way where your own butt is covered (just as it’s hard to call out Craig for being “halpful” it should be hard to call you out for calmly but publicly redirecting to the agenda). Perhaps you can flag to higher ups that Craig often causes meetings to run too long and wastes time so you have to manage that since the upcoming meeting has a hard stop / tight agenda / whatever. Do a little power mapping first; does Craig have power that you don’t have to run to higher-ups and be believed? If so, that’s a huge part of your problem OP.

      2. whingedrinking*

        Exactly this. I’d probably throw in a “Did you hear me say that I already know this?” and if the answer is “Yes, but – ” “Then you know you don’t need to explain. Steven, please carry on.”

    3. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      I wouldn’t even give him an I will tell you. Because then he might assume you will need clarification in the future, so he is just being pre-emptive.

      I would be very clear — stop explaining to me. Do not do it again.

      But honestly I would take this to HR. Name the pattern. Name what you have noticed about how he treats other women. Because this is most definitely A Problem that needs to be stopped before the words You will be hearing from my lawyer are uttered.

      1. West coast*

        I totally agree. And being able to identify and name the pattern is something I have learned to do better from reading this sight. In fact just the other day I was able to cite two examples of behaviour from a person that guys might dismiss as odd and flag exactly why it reads as creepy for women. And contrast it with an example of something that on paper might seem creepy but was actually just funny and why the situations were different. Anyway, Craig is an ass, call it out!

      2. Boof*

        I think that’s more for the audience, it sort of highlights up how weird it is that he’s just explaining this when no one asked.

    4. I'm just here for the cats!*

      I’d rather she say “I’ll ask if I need clarification…” and not say she will ask him, because he might take it that he has more knowledge than she does.

    5. Ellis Bell*

      It can be really difficult to get a word in edgeways with a Craig type, so I like to get in a really strong: “Let me stop you there, Craig”, complete with raised “stop” hand, repeated persistently over what he’s saying, if necessary. Then I follow up with something like: “That’s a really basic concept that we’re all familiar with (!) and I’m concerned about wasting time, so if we could just pay attention to what Caitlin was saying” but in this kind of piss take situation there’s room to call out even more bluntly than that and just say “I’m not sure what you’re trying to suggest but WE have all known what a simple UFO is for a number of years, and we need to avoid interrupting, especially in my name, please”.

    6. Quinalla*

      Yup, regardless of whether he is doing this because of sexism (definitely sounds like it OP!) he is wasting EVERYONE’S time with this nonsense. I’m not sure if you have a meeting organizing/moderator, but since you are senior, I’d just start moderating the meeting. Don’t just tell him once that you know what UFOs are. Interrupt him again and say “Craig, I need you to stop. We only have X time for this meeting and I’ve said I don’t need an explanation. Back to the agenda…” It will feel really rude, it’s ok. This is so, so obnoxious, everyone else in the meeting will silently (and maybe not silently after) thank you for putting a stop to this.

      Good grief!

  4. NameRequired*

    It would be funny to interrupt his explanations to make sure he knows what even more basic things are (“Craig, I just want to be sure you’re following, do you know what flying is?”)

    This probably isn’t a /good/ idea, but its a funny one

    1. Sara*

      I love this, but I’m extremely petty.

      Or just cut him off at the knees:
      ” Jane, do you know what a UFO is?”
      “Oh yes Craig, but I know you’ve been confused on this in the past. Do you want me to refresh your memory?” And then just launch into a quick explanation.

      1. Warrior Princess Xena*

        This actually transcends petty into rather brilliant. I might try it if Allison’s suggestion + going to Craig’s boss didn’t work.

      2. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

        I was thinking something like this, too, “Craig, no need to explain. It may be a new concept to you but I’ve been aware of it for many years.”

      3. Elizabeth*

        I’ve done this when all else fails; it’s generally pretty effective. And hilarious to everyone else.

      4. Tau*

        THIS, but I’d change giving him a quick explanation to “I don’t think we have time for a refresher now, so feel free to reach out to me for one afterwards. If you’re having trouble following the meeting without one, feel free to drop out and I’ll catch you up on what we discussed later.” Also uno-reverses the whole thing in his face, but doesn’t lead to you contributing to derailing the meeting.

      5. Moodbling*

        just pass Craig a baby book about UFOs and say “while Craig gets up to speed with this reading material, let’s continue our meeting.”

      6. I'm just here for the cats!*

        when Craig sais ” “Hold up, let’s make sure everybody’s following. Jane might be a little lost. Jane, do you know what ‘UFO’ stands for?” ”

        “of course I know what UFO is? Maybe you’re the one whose confused”

    2. Alas*

      In a perfect world you could interrupt him with “on that note, are you aware that you keep halting meetings to explain basic concepts you know I/we are well versed in? You seem a bit lost as to how meetings are usually conducted. Anyway, back to [coworker].” Alas you wouldn’t get away with that. Or the concerned “Craig, are you okay? You remember I wrote the company protocols for that subject right? I’m getting a bit concerned that you so often forget these things.” Oh if only we could say those things

      1. birb*

        I’ve been through this exact situation. An older male employee tried to tell me I couldn’t tell him what to do in a particular department until I completed a specific training course for that department. I kindly informed him I’d written the training course.

        1. Jay (no, the other one)*

          I attended a call with about ten or twelve women to discuss a Llama Grooming training program we were going to implement. I was new to the organization and had taken a step back for my last pre-retirement job, so I was also the most experienced person there and the facilitator of the meeting (also a woman) knew that. About ten minutes into her presentation a man signed on and interrupted the proceedings to explain why he was late. No apology, just some irrelevant info no one cared about. We resumed.

          During the Q&A session at the end I made a suggestion about rewording one of the grooming exercises. The facilitator started to respond and Late Man interrupted and said “I don’t understand why that would matter and I don’t even know who you are.” So I introduced myself by name and politely provided the additional info that I was a member of the leading National Llama Grooming Organization where the training program was originally created. He had the grace to shut up. The facilitator had the grace not to laugh.

          I thought I was very restrained. I am actually a past president of the National Llama Grooming Organization and was a mentor to one of the people who created the program. I didn’t mention either of those.

        2. Nina*

          Yeah, I’ve had the ‘I checked the register and you’re not signed off to do that task unsupervised so you can’t tell me what to do!’.

          Who signed you off to do it, Mike? John, mhm. And who do you think had the external training and experience and whole-ass degree in this field that let them write the training material, create the procedure, train John, and sign John off to train you, Mike? Mhm. Me. I’m not listed as ‘can do unsupervised’ because you have to flip to the ‘created training, signed off to train trainers’ page before you find my name, Mike.

    3. Mill Miker*

      I mean, he’s obviously unclear on what advanced vocabulary like “yes” and “no” mean, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to stop and explain those terms to him.

    4. RIP Pillowfort*

      Yeah you don’t want to rise to his level because that could be used against you (in a ridiculous double standard).

      But there’s no reason to treat his outbursts as legitimate queries or anything other than disrespectful. I’d have a hard time not following up with the “Jane might be a little lost.” with some really dry responses.

      “Oh I’m following just fine but if you want an explanation I can give you information later. We don’t need to interrupt for basic terms.
      “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m following the conversation fine. Anyone that wants an explanation should be honest enough to ask for themselves.”

    5. Someone else*

      I once heard someone suggesting responding to this kind of unnecessary explanation with a “Well done, did you just learn that?”

      Then when he inevitably gets defensive and explains he’s always known it, look puzzled and ask “Then why would you think it’s something I wouldn’t know?”

    6. fhqwhgads*

      “Craig, I just want to be sure you’re following, do you know what ‘mansplaining’ is?”

  5. Some Dude*

    The obvious solution is to out-Craig Craig.

    “Well, actually, you’re supposed to call them UAP’s now. ‘Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.'”

    1. slashgirl*

      The A in UAP stands for anomalous (source: NASA, UAP FAQ). I thought it was Aerial as well, but when I listened to The Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know podcast, they used anomalous and I thought they were wrong. Then I double checked.

      1. Stay-at-Homesteader*

        They changed it! It has been aerial and was changed to anomalous. (Source: Oh No Ross and Carrie)

      2. The Unspeakable Queen Lisa*

        What a terrible choice. Unidentified Anomalous Phenomenon is really hard to say. Do better, scientists!

        1. SpaceySteph*

          The thing about acronyms is that you’re supposed to just use the acronym until the words inside of it lose all meaning.

    2. Miss Muffet*

      Reminds me of a favorite joke:
      Where do mansplainers get their water?
      From a well, actually.

      1. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

        I can’t believe Alison got through the entire answer without using the word “mansplaining.”

        Mansplaining is when a man (such as myself) explains a simple concept to a woman (for example, OP, Alison, or Miss Muffet) even though the woman didn’t ask for an explanation and may know more about the concept than the mansplainer. So you can see how that is applicable to OP who knows more about UFOs than Craig, right? Does that all make sense to you?

    3. Exhausted Electricity*

      I straight up “thanked” my Craig for “showing me that he did not have a gap in the specific knowledge, but that I’d trained the whole room in these processes, so I was confident we are all prepared for a high level discussion.”
      So far no consequences beyond him silencing himself but we’ll see.

    4. Chocolate Covered Cotton*

      “Craig, the assumption that I don’t know basic concepts comes across as condescending. You do know what condescending means, yes?”

  6. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

    Since your co-workers are also annoyed, can you enlist their help? Mainsplainers who won’t listen to women can sometimes be short-circuited by a male ally saying “Of course Jane understands that (add supporting evidence as needed, like “she trains our new hires on it”), can we move on?” This is similar to the strategy for when a male colleague repeats your idea and it gets listened to, to have a co-worker say “I’m glad you agree that Jane’s idea to do XYZ is a good one”.

    1. Sandi*

      I have a lot of sexism in my workplace, but thank goodness I have male coworkers who love calling out this sexist behavior.

    2. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      This is a good suggestion. If Craig won’t stop when the OP says, maybe he’ll listen to a man telling him it’s unnecessary and obnoxious.

        1. I Have RBF*


          In my more curmudgeonly mood I have been very tempted to get a large strap-on sex toy, slam it onto the table, and say “See, I have a dick too, so I know what I’m talking about. Can we please move on now?”

          No, I’ve never done it, but I fantasize about it a lot when dealing with sexist pricks.

          However, in one MMO game, when the sexism got bad and guys were having essentially dick size contests, I said “I have a nine inch dick. It lives in a bag on my nightstand.” It shut it down and got a lot of laughs. I can’t do that at work, though.

        2. Axel*

          Hey let’s not make this about genitals please, I guarantee that Craig would not be any more thrilled to listen to a trans woman or other person who wasn’t a man but may have one of those.

        3. Aqua*

          it’s the gender, not the genitals, which you don’t actually know as often as you think you are

    3. Richard Hershberger*

      I would totally volunteer to turn to Craig with an expression of doe-eyed innocence and ask him to explain what a UFO is. Then what “unidentified” means. Then “flying.” Then “object.” Then keep drilling down to asking what “is” means. Gotta pick a slow day for this, since no actual work will get done.

      1. MtnLaurel*

        Richard, that’s terrible advice as it will only reinforce the behavior and further undermine OP.

          1. Always a Corncob*

            Could you define “font” for me? Preferably at length, I don’t want to get anything done in this meeting.

      2. Sparkles McFadden*

        I once had the pleasure of watching my male coworkers do this to my mansplainer for five full minutes. (as in: “Gee, I don’t know what that word means. Can you spell it for me, Craig?”) It was glorious.

    4. Chirpy*

      Yes, men of the world, please call out the Craigs. Sometimes they listen to men better, because it’s harder for them to rationalize “well, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about/ she’s too sensitive” if it’s another guy backing her up.

    5. Catwhisperer*

      +1 to this, I’ve had success using this method in the past on both sides. Usually it’s something we discuss doing beforehand as allies for each other, but in virtual meetings I’ve also pinged other attendees in real time to ask them to speak up and vice versa.

    6. Quinalla*

      Yes, this is unfortunately sometimes what I have to do, recruit a male ally to say the exact same thing I just said. I haven’t had to do it as much recently (I think because I am “old” now -44!! – I don’t get as much of this BS since yes I’m a woman but I’m not a young woman too), but it for sure comes in handy.

      It is of course rage making that this is a strategy, but sometimes you do what you’ve got to do to get shit done!

  7. stacers*

    “Why would you think I wouldn’t know that?” And then when he offers some lame excuse about being helpful or you being ‘new’ or ‘just making sure you understand,’ I’d say calmly but firmly: I’m perfectly capable of handling myself and speaking up when necessary. Don’t assume something on my behalf ever again.”

    1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      I love the idea of returning the awkwardness to sender. Ask him to explain why he thinks the OP doesn’t know these basic things. If he says he’s just trying to help, ask why he thinks the OP needs help understanding this. Make it awkward and unpleasant for him to do it because he’ll have to scramble for ways to not seem like an ass.

    2. Joielle*

      Yes – or even just “What an odd question.” And just look at Craig and let the awkwardness hang in the air until he says something.

    3. Clare*

      “Craig, you’re not being helpful, you’re insulting my professionalism by implying that I wouldn’t speak up if there was something I needed clarification on.”

      1. Clare*

        Then if he doubles down:

        Craig: “Wow, I was just trying to help you, no need to get all nasty about it.”

        OP: “Craig I can see you’re a thoughtful person… (brief pause)… which is why I don’t believe you’re going to insult me by continuing on with this. Let’s carry on with what Taylor was saying, shall we?”

        What can Craig do then? He can’t say “Oh, actually no, I’m a thoughtless asshole” and continue mansplaining. He can’t whine to management and say say “OP asked me not to do something then called me thoughtful”. He’s stuck.

      2. F as in Frank*

        this is great and then a redirect back to the meeting: “let’s get back to the discussion at hand, Bill you were speaking on UFO certification?”

  8. General von Klinkerhoffen*

    LW needs to make a note every time this happens, because solid examples (like the UFO explanation) will be compelling when she inevitably does have to make a formal complaint (because he won’t stop).

    In the meantime, if he asks what she’s writing, she should say “I’ve been making a note of every time you derail a meeting with this patronising rubbish.”

    1. Panicked*

      I need that .gif of Ryan from the office staring at the camera and dramatically writing in a notebook.

      I would absolutely start calling him out. Either he’ll be embarrassed and back off (unlikely) or he’ll double down and make an ever bigger ass of himself when HR steps in.

    2. Jellyfish Catcher*

      The ol’ document, document, document approach is needed – by other women as well.
      Clue in your trusted female colleagues, for documenting dates and the content of these condescending interruptions. Then….off to HR.
      Btw, I am totally stealing dickishness, thanks Alison.

      1. Photosynthetic*

        Yes! Trusted male colleagues, too. Their word / opinions / documentation often counts even more than women’s in these situations — it shouldn’t, but it does, especially with the sexist jerk himself.

    3. Sparkles McFadden*

      Yup. Document, document, document (and make note of who else was present too). Even if the LW doesn’t file a complaint, she may very well need the documentation to refute some nonsensical complaint against her.

      I’d have similar nonsense happen to me. If I ignored the mansplaining, the guy would go to my boss and say he thought the work was over my head. If I did push back and say “Everyone in the room knows what UFO stands for Craig” the mansplainer would go to my boss and say I was “too emotional.” It always backfired because I had documentation.

    4. knitcrazybooknut*

      You can even ask another attendee what date it is to emphasize what you’re doing.

    5. Jen with one n*

      I like the idea of her pausing the meeting to finish writing her notes, ideally holding one finger up in the air until she’s done. Then staring him dead in the eyes to deliver your line.

  9. pally*

    Meeting chairperson(s) should be taking an active role in shutting down Craig. Every time. His actions are benefiting no one.

    And whomever he’s interrupting should also be instructed to tell him to dummy up until after they’ve finished speaking (“Craig, your interruption is NOT appreciated!”).

    1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      Came here to say this. Assuming that the OP isn’t leading the meeting, whoever is leading it needs to take a firmer hand in this. Sexism is bad. This example is also super annoying because it stops everyone from using the time to make progress on things.

      1. pally*

        yes- you’d think the continued time waste this creates would be enough for anyone with any authority to shut him down.

    2. bamcheeks*

      Yes, I was wondering whether these are informal meetings or chaired. If they are chaired, I would *absolutely* point this pattern out to the chair and ask them to shut it down. They might have noticed but not know whether you want them to handle it, so I definitely think that telling them that you do is a good start.

      I would also be tempted to start a backchannel game of Craig bingo with a few other people. If several people start sniggering and/or marking things on pieces of paper, it would be a much less satisfying activity for him.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        I would like to be a fly on the wall in the meeting where someone bursts out, “Bingo! I win Craig Being Sexist Bingo! Whoot!”

        1. Always a Corncob*

          “Chaired” sounds formal, but it’s typical for meetings with multiple people to have a lead or organizer who does things like circulate an agenda, run the meeting and keep people on track, take notes, send out next steps, etc. In my org, usually the person who schedules the meeting will be the de facto lead. It’s pretty much essential if you want to have productive meetings.

      1. linger*

        Compare: Duct Tape Manager (“My boss tapes people’s mouths shut during meetings”, 4th Feb 2020; update 26th March 2020).

  10. CheesePlease*

    “Craig, why do you think I need you to explain UFOs to me and I created our UFO document? What are you trying to prove”

    or alternatively “Craig, you never seem to have to explain things to Derek and he just started last month. Please stop explaining things unless somebody asks. You are not helpful”

    1. CatMouse*

      This. I was thinking thay first response, but this particular ass probably would juat ignore it anyways

    2. goducks*

      “Craig, you never seem to have to explain things to Derek…”
      This wording makes it sound like Derek is just more knowledgeable than LW, since in Craig’s mind the LW does need the explanations.

      1. CheesePlease*

        I am assuming Derek is like, the new college grad on the team. But you’re right – it could be less effective

        I use this script well calling out sexism / misogyny in the workplace “Hey Brad, you never seem to compliment John on his body. Please stop complimenting mine.” Because sometimes in these situations they’re always like “oh but I’m trying to be nice blah blah” and I am pointing out that saying my new pants look nice on me isn’t the same as saying “good morning” when it’s EVERY DAY FOR A WEEK

    3. All Het Up About It*

      Yes! I think adding specific’s to some of these public comments is a great idea.

      “Jane, do you know what a UFO is?”
      “As I developed our company’s internal UFO tracking documents, I’m well aware of what a UFO is, Craig. It’s bizarre that you would interrupt Steven to ask me specifically that question. Steven, please continue…”

      1. HeraTech*

        “It’s bizarre that you would interrupt…”

        ^This! I think it’s really important to state that his behavior is weird. Return the awkward to sender!

  11. Khatul Madame*

    Tell Craig what you want him to do.
    “Craig, please stop talking so we can return to our meeting’s agenda”.
    If the meeting is virtual, you can add that you will mute him if he keeps bloviating. And make good on that promise.

  12. ChemistryChick*

    Ugh, eff Craig.

    Definitely use one of Alison’s suggested responses. Return awkward to sender. And if he says anything like “Oh, well I just want to make sure you understand what we’re talking about.” please respond with something like “I have a degree and X,Y,Z certifications that cover UFOs. Why wouldn’t I understand?” Make him spell it out explicitly in front of all your coworkers.

    And yes please, if you’ve noticed if this is a pattern in the way Craig treats all female coworkers, do speak with HR. He’s not being helpful at all.

  13. Snicker*

    Craig let me stop you right there because you might be a little confused. You see, men interrupting meetings to explain rudimentary concepts already understood by the participants in called mansplaining. Mansplaining is generally considered unacceptable and we won’t be having any more of it. Now back to UFO tracking…

    1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

      I like this. I’m totally in favor of just flat out calling it what it is and telling him enough.

    2. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      He’ll just argue what he is doing is not mansplaining and you are being sexist by calling it that.

      Give him as little to push against as possible. Craig, stop is all that needs to be said. Then turning to the speaker and say, please continue.

      1. Snicker*

        Good point. I stand by the verbage though, just sub in “patronizing” and sub “you” for “man”.

      2. Jarissa*

        We had a twerp who was likely to call us sexist exactly as you predict. Instead we called the behavior “Craigsplaining”. He still got offended, of course, but part of his indignant defense included, “I do not either do this to everyone!” Which did not work out as he expected.

        In retrospect, I wish I had read the term “condesplaining” before that week.

      3. Ellis Bell*

        “What I am doing is not mansplaining and you are the one who is sexist!”… “Okay, Craig, I’m going to explain the concept one more time, so this time can you take more notes? If you think your female colleagues are uninformed AND you only explain things to women…”

    3. Orsoneko*

      Well played.

      The following sounds like the premise of a comedy sketch, but I swear it actually happened. I was once talking to a guy who, after making a self-deprecating “Well actually” joke (we were at a nerdy event), proceeded to explain the entire trope of the phrase “Well actually” to me. At which point I made two mistakes: 1) I assumed he’d be able to appreciate and acknowledge the irony when I pointed it out in a lighthearted manner, and 2) I used the word “mansplain” in the process of said lighthearted pointing out. In an M. Night Shyamalan-level twist, he immediately became hostile and defensive.

  14. Snarkus Aurelius*

    You can also start talking about something only you know in highly technical detail and then ask him a bunch of questions about it in front of everyone.

    I did it once, and that Craig never did it to me again.

  15. No Tribble At All*

    In addition to calling him out, write down (or get someone to write down) the start & stop times when he “explains” things to you. If you do complain to your manager/HR, it’s much easier to say “Craig spent 2 minutes out of a 15 minute meeting explaining what UFOs are to me, and I have a masters in UFOology”

    Also signal the mothership to abduct him

    1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      This is a great tactic. I wish “Craig is being a sexist ass” would be sufficient to get someone with power to act. In some organizations, it probably would be! But in many, the best strategic move is to focus on how it’s costing time / money by making the team less efficient and effective.

      1. Boof*

        Honestly, you really do need specific examples, there’s plenty of times someone will say whatever they think will get them the most leverage even if it’s actually not true (or heck, maybe they actually do think what they’re saying is true because they can’t possibly have messed something up)

      2. Indigo a la mode*

        I thought you meant alien-abducting Craig would be a great tactic and was like “well, it’s unconventional, but it gets results!”

    2. Longtimelurker*

      I worked with someone like that and ended up being able to demonstrate exactly how many hours a week were wasted. This person was a consultant being paid hundreds an hour, and worked with other consultants compensated similarly. The documentation was super important for getting it to be taken seriously as a problem because it showed the financial impact of the behavior to the company.

  16. mb*

    Oh man, I feel so much rage reading this letter. I would have definitely called him out in front of everyone by now – perhaps being called out in front of others would shame him appropriately into stopping this insane and insulting behaviour.
    In addition to asking him why he’s explaining this to you – I would also say that if I need an explanation I am capable of asking for it. Sometimes adding in your years of experience or accomplishments can help.

    “Why are you explaining this to me? You realize I have x years of experience and I developed our UFO tracking system? If I need an explanation I’ll ask for one – let’s get back to the meeting at hand.”
    If he continues – take it to his boss and/or HR. And a little notebook full of all the times he’s done this would help.

    1. Van Wilder*

      I’m feeling so much rage right now. Glad I’m not the only one.

      IRL, I would eventually attempt to call him out but my voice would get all tight and squeaky and I would sound like I’m about to cry, even if I’m not. Must remember to breathe.

      OP – hoping for a satisfying update!

    2. Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom*

      Yup. All of this. It’s just unnerving. Having been in that position, I’d leave these meetings shaking.

  17. Will*

    “Craig, if you need something like this explaining, you don’t have to keep using me as a cover, you can just ask. We won’t judge you for not knowing something basic like this, everyone’s got blind spots.”

    1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      Oh I love this. I mean he will splutter all over that he knows it but was just making sure you did, but it really puts him on the spot. It also moves the meeting along because he will be too stunned to go on.

    2. All Het Up About It*

      This is advanced “Bless your heart level” and I love it, but it takes real skill to pull it off perfectly.

  18. Thistle Pie*

    With coworkers support, I would be tempted to stand up when he starts in on a lecture and say “oh I’m already deeply familiar with this concept so I’m going to grab a coffee/tea from the kitchenette and by the time I’m back we can move on to discuss what we’re all here for”. And see what happens.

    1. Single Parent Barbie*

      My thought exactly. Just get up and wonder over to refill your water/coffee/whatever. Or just glaze over while he is talking , fiddle with your phone, clean your keyboard, etc and when he is done talking, wait a pause then say “Oh, are you done? I wasn’t paying attention since I already knew all that…”

    2. MigraineMonth*

      I used this against someone in my writing group who just read the same scene of sexual violence every time he showed up. Whenever it was his turn to read, I said that I didn’t want to listen to it, stood up and left the room.

  19. Wendy the Spiffy*

    Tempting to turn it back around on him.
    – “Sounds like you have a solid handle on the basics, Craig. Would you like to see some articles/documents to develop a more nuanced understanding?”
    – “That’s correct, Craig. Which parts do you find confusing, so we can get on the same page?”
    – “Did you have a specific question, or do you just want a more in-depth explanation?”

    1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      These two are works of beauty and genius.

      – “That’s correct, Craig. Which parts do you find confusing, so we can get on the same page?”
      – “Did you have a specific question, or do you just want a more in-depth explanation?”

    2. The New Wanderer*

      I did something similar to the first one to a Craig who did in fact understand the very simple basics but absolutely none of the nuances of the field I am the expert in. It was extremely satisfying to bury him in references. I knew he’d never read them, but everyone in the room had no doubt who was the expert.

      But I love that last question! Counter it like he was getting your expert feedback on his explanation.

    3. Erinwithans*

      Yes! This kind of thing is so effective. I feel if you get into a “Of course I know this” or a credential fight, it can play into his hand a bit. This “oh, honey, how can I, a competent professional, help you?” vibe really takes the wind out of their sails.

    4. Lady Kelvin*

      I was coming her to suggest the exact same thing. Treat Craig like my 4-year-old when he repeats back to me exactly what I just told him, “That’s right! Good job. I’m glad you understand. Let me know if you have any other questions about it.”

  20. mlem*

    I think these are all way too soft, personally.

    Definitely do NOT let him continue his “explanations”. Make him stop. “Craig, we all already know this. If you need someone to confirm *your* understanding, you can approach me after the meeting.”

    And absolutely pull in Craig’s boss and/or HR.

  21. Zarniwoop*

    Who’s in charge of running these meetings? They should be cutting this off if for no other reason than that it’s a waste of time. You can ask them to do so going forward.

    If there’s no well-defined chair, maybe your eye-rolling cow-orkers might be willing to support you (and each other) by asking Craig to stop wasting their time.

  22. RIP Pillowfort*

    I 100% concur with taking this to Craig’s boss. If he’s interrupting meetings and derailing them to do grandstanding like this with no benefit, this is something his boss should be reigning in. I’d flag it with my boss otherwise and try to resolve it that way. I’d expect any of my employees to let me know if someone started treating them like this in meetings.

    I’ve been in my field for literal decades and I’ve had the best success with calling it out in the moment and if I trust their boss, bringing it up as a performance issue. And I work with some blunt people so I generally go with a “I know how X works. We’re here to solve Y problem if you want to get on with it.”

    Though I do take a personal enjoyment when someone explains the subject they’re trying to lecture me on wrong. I’ve had to keep my hand over my mouth not to laugh super loud or smile too much while being told the wrong definition or policy.

    1. Cobol*

      LW should definitely respond to Craig in the meeting, but I wouldn’t even bother talking to him one on one – if he’s this much of an a, he’s not going to change, and I definitely think it’s worth escalating.

      Even if you’re on equal levels as him, and able to be unimpacted, he’s likely been doing this for years to people who aren’t able to push back. Regardless of his expertise, the organization will be better without him, and even if you can’t make that happen, at least there will be a record of his activity.

    2. MigraineMonth*

      I once had a college professor try to define “metaphor” for me, with examples. Not only was the definition wrong, every example was increasingly wrong. I would have cracked up, but I was too busy trying to pick my jaw up off the floor.

  23. ENFP in Texas*

    “Jane, do you know what ‘UFO’ stands for?”

    “Yes, Craig. Do you know what ‘mansplaining’ is? Stop doing it.”

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      “Craig, do you know what ‘STFU’ stands for?” If only one could really say that at work…

      1. RVA Cat*

        “Radio silence” could be a safe-for-work version. Though I’d prefer to tell Craig to put on his listening ears like he’s in kindergarten.

    2. Single Parent Barbie*

      My partner does this thing when I complain about some guy at work telling me how to do my job.

      He goes “Well you DO know what mansplaining is, right? Its when a man explains to someone else, usually, a woman, something they already know. ”

      I have been tempted to use this as a response.

  24. Juicebox Hero*

    Craig is relying on people women not to bluntly call him out; show him that you will.

    People, we have a winner.

  25. I should really pick a name*

    “Craig, you’re wasting time going over basic concepts, let’s move on”

    Also, perhaps speak to whoever runs the meetings, asking them to keep things moving when Craig derails.

  26. HannahS*

    Interrupt him. “Actually, Craig, I’m not confused at all, and I would like to return to the topic at hand.” Or, “No, Craig, you’ve mistaken me. I am not confused. Please let Jennifer continue.”

  27. Pippa K*

    If the word “Craigsplaining” isn’t already in use at your workplace, you should remedy that.

    Craig apparently wants his behavior cloaked in the general category of “helpful explanation,” and naming it helps bring it into the light as Craig-specific condescension and undermining tactics.

    1. Warrior Princess Xena*

      It may not be in use now but I propose we coin it as AskAManager terminology. It will slot in nicely with bananapants & cheap-ass rolls

      1. linger*

        1. Do we really need another derogatory name use? Haven’t Karens suffered enough?
        2. The only advantage of “Craigsplaining” over “mansplaining” as a term is the implication “not all men”. Dunno if that’s really (enough of) an advantage. Especially as it’s also “not just Craig” and “not all Craigs”.
        3. The real-world use is, you substitute in the name of whatever practitioner you’re currently facing. Alas, substituting a variable, viz: “Xplaining”, just sounds like we’ve reverted to the original.
        4. Alison’s description of Craig’s level of dickishness suggests “dicksplaining” as a term avoiding all of these problems. (“I’m not being sexist, I’m saying you specifically are acting like a dick.”)

  28. MsSolo (UK)*

    There is a part of me, as someone relatively new to a role where I’m attending meetings to learn more about the work where senior people only occasionally remember to stop and check if people know what the acronyms mean, that thinks there’s a version of this behaviour which would be appropriate. The difference is when someone does catch the jargon-heaviness of the convo, they address the newbies, like myself, to ask if further explanation is needed. They’re not addressing their fellow senior staff members, and they don’t give an explanation if it’s not needed.

    Craig’s manager is definitely the first route (I think if you can get other female members of staff to document the issue as well, the weight of evidence might force a conversation with Craig, at the very least) but if they prove ineffective, or if Craig persuades them it’s a habit built as a result of working with junior colleagues, a slightly passive-aggressive work around might be to start the meeting with a slide showing all of the relevant acronyms and jargon on, “just in case anyone needs the context”, or attaching a glossary to the meeting invites as standard practice, so when Craig tries to interrupt you can point you that you already made that information available. You’re just being helpful, Craig? Well I’m being more helpful, sooner! Look at how helpful we all can be!

    1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      I understand where you’re coming from but I would gently push back on this suggestion (actually, I have a firm Absolute No on this suggestion but I want to be gentle with you lol) because we don’t need passive aggressive here. Craig doesn’t hold the power and doesn’t need to agree. He just needs to completely stop, and he needs to be called out firmly every single time.

      Otherwise it becomes a power game and a bit of a dance, and the way to resolve bullshittery and passive aggression and people like Craig banking on women’s conditioning not to speak up is to call it out firmly and directly. Wry humor is always fun when you can manage it, and the Southern Lady Fine Art of Throwing Shade is awesome too, but it needs to be direct and firm. Return awkwardness/dickishness to sender.

      1. JustaTech*

        I agree, because Craig won’t get it. He will completely miss that this is directed at him because it isn’t about the jargon, it’s about belittling the OP.
        Craig is wearing the cloak of helpfulness, but it has all the structural integrity of tear-away pants. He’s not being helpful and he knows it.

        If this had only happened once or twice, or if the OP really was new and junior, or if other people in the meeting appeared to find Craig’s talk useful then yes, your suggested slide would be super helpful. But in this case Craig is just a jerk.

    2. RVA Cat*

      The newbies’ managers should just give them a rundown of the jargon, especially if it’s company-specific.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        At the jobs I’ve had, newbies are invited to team meetings but expected to hold terminology questions for one-on-one meetings. It would disrupt the meeting too much to stop every time someone used an acronym to discuss what it means.

  29. CLC*

    Wow usually mansplaining isn’t quite this on the nose. I’d go with the first suggestion of responding in public. If everyone else in the meetings laughs it will be bonus awesome.

  30. Hiring Mgr*

    Is Craig the CEOs good friend or relative? It’s pretty f’d up that this has been going on for 8 years, and not just with you but other women – and not even subtly, but brazenly in front of everyone, and interrupting meetings??

    Something’s seriously off here

    1. Jiminy Cricket*

      I’m sorry, this sounds so familiar and common to me that I don’t even need to speculate that something especially nefarious is going on. The Craigs of this world get away with this stuff every single day.

  31. CS*

    “Craig is relying on people women not to bluntly call him out”

    Actually, if he’s doing it in front of more than one gender, it’s not just women he’s relying on. There’s no reason other staff members who witness this happening can’t call him out on it too.

    1. Bruce*

      Yes! One of my coworkers sometimes makes sexist comments, it always seems to happen on an overseas trip and I’m impressed by how immediately my European >male< coworkers call him out on it. They spend more time with him than I do and seem primed to respond while I'm still processing whatever came out of his mouth. In his defense when challenged he does seem to be mortified in the moment, but he still lets his misogyny slip out sometimes. He has a lot of talents but this is a big, big flaw.

  32. happyhoodies*

    One thing I’d like to add (and while your initial comments should be enough for him to get the idea) is also getting coworkers to rally around the same message too.

    “Craig, you may not have heard her. She said she is well versed in the topic. Did you misunderstand her?”

    “Craig, unless someone has a question, we’re going to move on.”

    “Craig, why did you assume Jane wasn’t up to speed?”

    If he’s trying to paint a pictures to the audience that other people just don’t understand, it’s helpful for his “audience” to also engage in push back so he understands his weird way of proving himself is having the opposite effect.

    1. ScruffyInternHerder*

      Pretty lucky that my grandboss seems to *enjoy* calling people out on their bullsh!t.

      “I’m confused, why are you taking the time to explain basic llama ear techniques to Scruffy? She’s our SENIOR llama groomer….”

      Because sexism IS rampant in my industry. But…there are a growing number of people who are over it and call it what it is, and sometimes they come from a place of power because the sexist arses don’t see it coming.

    2. Elbe*

      These are great! I’d love to be a fly on the wall when he tries to explain why he though she didn’t know basic stuff.

  33. Jane Bingley*

    A phrase I’ve found helpful in these situations: “please don’t assume my ignorance.” Combined with “I’ll speak up if I have questions, and I trust others to do the same.” Then, the next time he asks a vet if they know what cats are or whatever: “You’re assuming my ignorance again. I need you to trust me on this. Let’s move on to discussing the pros and cons of surgery for eating socks.”

  34. iKit*

    I disagree with the position of “don’t take it to HR; it’s too small”. I hold the position of catalogue it. Present them an Excel spreadsheet of a dozen or more times where he’s done it. To you. To your colleagues. Show it as a systemic pattern of sexist behavior. And all the better if you record meetings for others to review/playback at a later time. Because then you can go in with *timestamps*.

    Because he’s not going to stop if you just bring it up to him or his boss. So make it nuclear. Make it a thing that forces the company to realise it’s in their vested interest to shut this down.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      HR here: agreed. I would always rather be in the loop. Even if something isn’t immediately actionable, I will be grateful you brought it to my attention. It helps me keep a finger on the pulse, it lets me coach managers on how to handle problems before they become situations, it establishes patterns that I can track, all very helpful.

    2. All Het Up About It*

      Yes. I had this thought as well. Especially if he’s known to do this with others… but is it known to HR? If Craig is relying on everyone assuming that he’ll be able to pull the “just being helpful card” but 8 women can come forward to show he is repeatedly “just being helpful” to them about incredibly basic tops that’s a pattern that shows something else. But HR can’t see the pattern if they aren’t in the loop.

      (Saying this recognizing that some HR of course sucks and won’t do anything about it, but some might!)

    3. Jay (no, the other one)*

      YES. I put up with sexist bullshit from my new boss for six months before I finally talked with one of the other women in the office and discovered she was experiencing the same thing. We went to our grandboss and grandboss went to HR. I wasn’t willing to speak up on my own behalf. I was much more willing to make waves on behalf of other women. This is my own mishegoss after thirty-plus years of being told I had to tolerate sexism. Good to know things have changed.

  35. BellyButton*

    I could feel my blood pressure rising and then I got to “Jane might be a little lost. Jane, do you know what ‘UFO’ stands for” and my head almost exploded!!!

    It reminds me of the time that someone called a meeting with me, my boss, and my grandboss to tell us about this great “new process” that her friend attended a webinar on and how we should be implementing it at our company . She hadn’t even attended the webinar. As soon as she put the slides up I realized it was the webinar I had given to my professional org the week before. I let her carry on, until the last slide which had my photo and contact info on it. She obviously had not even looked at all of it.

    I said “I am so confused. You were in the meeting 2 months ago where I presented this very deck outlining the process, which had already been approved by grandboss and CEO, and the plan to roll it out. ”

    LW- shut that sh*t down, and you don’t even have to be super polite about it. “Craig, I can’t believe you are trying to explain what UFO means or how to track it- I WROTE the tracking process!”

      1. BellyButton*

        She sputtered and looked confused and at first tried to say she had grabbed the wrong deck. But I wasn’t having it. I said “I am so confused. I guess we should meet again so I can make sure you understand what we are going to be doing with process and what your roll will be. Why don’t you find some time on my calendar for that.” I thanked boss and grandboss and said I needed to get to my next meeting.

        She didn’t look me in the eye for months. I have no idea if my manager or grandboss ever spoke to her about it. I later told my boss it was incredibly offensive and someone should make sure she understands my roll and experience/expertise in the area.

      2. Juicebox Hero*

        I’m betting the coworker mumbled something, gathered up her stuff in a hurry, and scampered out like her behind was on fire.

      1. BellyButton*

        Ha! I actually needed that time to process what the F was happening and how I could respond calmly. I was raging inside!

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          I won’t say I’ve been in this exact situation but I’ve definitely been in the situation of someone enthusiastically proposing something I already rolled out two months ago and the rage is incredibly hard to contain. I love that you got a photo reveal at the end that’s the dream.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            I hate that this is so common. I had an analogous situation this week, pinging boss “is he really taking credit for implementing this on XYZ when product owner & I designed XYZ with the feature before this project got started?”

  36. Somewhere in Texas*

    I wouldn’t do this, but for giggles…

    When Craig starts to explain something, start a timer. Once the meeting gets back on task, stop the timer. At the end the meeting, get everyone’s attention and do a calculation of how much of everyones’ time he wasted. Perhaps the time multiplied by the number of people in the room. A step further would be to assign a cost to that time. “Due to Craig’s need to see important, he wasted ## time to a tune of $$$. Maybe we can skip that next time.”

    1. Pippa K*

      There’s a handy online tool for this! It’s really for measuring how much men dominate a meeting, and it has two simple timer buttons for “dude” and “not a dude” that you click when someone starts talking. Would work just as well for timing “Craig” and “not Craig.” Link in reply.

    2. Iris Eyes*

      Yes! Get people to understand that this isn’t just annoying and to be put up with there is a real business reason to cut it out. Also great hard data for his boss and HR, and justification for why this isn’t just an interpersonal issue its a company resources issue (to say nothing of the sexism issue).

    3. I Have RBF*

      I have a gadget I got that was literally a timer with cost calc for meetings. You put in the hourly cost for everyone there, then started the timer, and the readout showed the cost. I think it was a Geek Toys item, of something.

      I would use that to track how much time Craig was wasting, and include that with the rest of my report to HR.

  37. Bob-White of the Glen*

    “Craig, I understand that it took you awhile to learn these concepts and the simplified explanations really helped you, but please believe with my years of experience I already know everything you have explained to me, and do not need the level of remedial instruction that you do.”

  38. Vaca*

    “Craig, please be aware that I am both smarter and more capable of you. Your condescension towards women is obvious. Please be quiet. If you can’t be quiet, leave and don’t return. Bye.”

    1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      I wouldn’t recommend saying the part “I’m smarter and more capable than you”, regardless of how true it may be, because it comes across as insecure and engages with him on his level. It calls to mind kids fighting on a playground.

      He just needs to stop period.

      1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

        I dunno, when Amy Trask got her Princess of Darkness nickname, the reporter said she was a smarter and meaner version of Al Davis. When she and Al — her boss mind you — would argue, she would just look at him and say Smarter and Meaner and walk out of the room.

        Now mind you she could get away with that because Al Davis for all his faults, really like Ms. Trask and what she did for the organization.

      2. Juggling Plunger*

        No, she needs someone else to say “she’s smarter and more capable than you.” It needs to be said, and having someone else stand up for her will eliminate the risk that she’ll come off sounding insecure.

  39. cactus lady*

    ugh, i had a guy on hinge message me a paragraph just this morning on how to train my dog. i hadn’t asked for help on how to train him, i had simply posted a picture of me with him. i wish this were the same guy so there was only one of them, and it makes me so angry that this behavior is so widespread among men. i have almost never seen it with women. i agree 100% with alison and hope that everyone (including men) start adopting these phrases when they see a guy do this.

  40. Stuart Foote*

    Craig is definitely a sexist a-hole, but I think the deeper issue he likely deeply loves to hear himself talk, and rambling on “explaining” things during meetings gives him a lot of pleasure. He probably gets a lot of self-worth from yammering on and on telling people stuff they already know.

    I think Alison’s advice is the best option, but sadly there probably isn’t a good way to fix this. This would probably be an uphill battle for Craig’s boss to fix, but it does seem like it is his responsibility to fix, and even apart from the sexism involved hijacking meetings is a huge waste of company time (and must be infuriating to other co-workers).

    Alternately, someone could just Craig to shut the f up next time he goes off and see what happens.

    1. I Have RBF*

      Yeah, I wish it were socially acceptable to tell mansplainers to STFU in all environments. Because it seems endemic in male dominated workplaces. It wastes a lot of time and the value of the women employed there.

    2. Firefighter (Metaphorical)*

      Nah, the sexism is the deeper issue – the sexism that deeply permeates our cultural norms creates the conditions that enable Craig to get his self-worth from mansplaining. I mean, I might get a very satisfying sense of self-worth from gently tickling the noses of my male bosses, but we’ll never know because I would never get away with doing it!

  41. Looper*

    The “high road” only works with people who have shame and self-awareness. Pull this fool up short AND report him to HR. It’s likely you aren’t the only one he does this to and you have a senior position which gives you more leverage.

  42. TootsNYC*

    I would be so tempted to say, “Craig, did you think I’m stupid?”
    Also–onlookers of the world, say something as well!

    1. Irish Teacher.*

      I’d be afraid he’d reply with some version of “yes.” Like “well, I know you have difficulty following this stuff sometimes. It’s all right. I don’t mind explaining.”

      1. TootsNYC*

        true. Maybe “You seem to have forgotten that I invented our current tracking system and have decades of experience in this field, and have been here at THIS organization for 8 years. And, you also seem to have forgotten that I am not an idiot.”

        I just think it’s time to go on the offensive somehow.

  43. Ugh. Craig…*

    For in person Craigsplaining (where he’s close enough to do this) I’d like to add AAM hand up in front of his face in a stop motion and say “Stop. Your manaplaining is not needed.” If he persists in any way hold up the stop hand again with another reminder. The stop hand is helpful.

    1. pally*

      yeah- he may not heed any verbal objections to his mansplaining. It may take a more blatant approach – like you suggested. Talk to the hand. Better yet, don’t. Just end this need to mansplain.

  44. pally*

    If Craig is this much of an a$$, would he even react to verbal retorts?

    He may think his actions to “educate the educated” is so very ”mission critical” that words aren’t going to silence him. Or make him reconsider what he’s doing.

    Too bad he can’t be entirely removed from those situations where he does his mansplaining. But that might end up hurting the company via the lack of information exchange.

      1. pally*

        For sure! Not suggesting nixing the verbal approach. Just suggesting he might be a harder nut to crack, so to speak.

  45. VaguelySpecific*

    I work with a Craig…except his explanations of things are usually wrong. It’s absolutely exhausting.

  46. Holy Carp*

    I would for sure call attention in the moment each time Craig starts that stuff, “Craig, are you MANSPLAINING to me?”
    I’d repeat the phrase EVERY time he interrupted.

    1. Jaybeetee*

      The problem I’ve noticed is that a number of jerkwad guys I’ve encountered just roll their eyes at the word “mansplaining” and view it as some not-real thing angry feminists complain about. The guys who most need to be called out for it are the least likely to consider it.

  47. Purple Jello*

    Please, please, PLEASE: call him out on this. Every. Single. Time. Enough is enough. Be exasperated. Encourage other colleagues – men and women – to call him out. you should be so done with this horrid behavior. He can’t just be doing this to you. Alison’s suggestions were great, but so are some of the commentators.

    Please provide an update. We’re all rooting for you.

  48. TootsNYC*

    I’ve already tried many variations of “Yes, I do know all about that. Please let Other Coworker continue” — yet it never staves off the remedial lecture.
    Ooh, this is petty and not a completely serious suggestion.
    When he starts the lecture, get up and say, “Since I already know this quite thoroughly, I’m going to get coffee while Craig lectures and pontificates. I’ll be back in a bit,” and leave the room.

    1. Anonymoose*

      I came here to suggest walking out, also. My version would be to say, “Excuse me,” go for water or the restroom, then come back, and say, “You done? Great, let’s move on.”

  49. Kan*

    Just pull him aside and say “I have more experience in this field then you have, and probably 10 years on you in life. For 8 years, you’ve been treating me like an intern in meetings, explaining very basic concepts. That needs to stop.” Let him sputter and then say “I accept your apology. If it happens again, I’ll explain it to you again, IN the meeting.”

    Or just pull a Trump and say “A lot of people in our meetings have come to me over the years and asked ‘what gives?’ with your tendenacy to interrupt meetings to explain basic concepts to me, of all people! I was kind of doing you a favor by letting it go, but it’s making everyone uncomfortable. It needs to stop.”

    1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      I am crying, that’s hilarious and so beautiful. Yes please, I hope LW does this too.

      I’m also tucking this into my own pocket for future reference.

    2. I Have RBF*

      Or just pull a Trump and say…

      Bwahahahaha! Hilarious!

      Yes, I read that in Trump’s voice. That’s funny as hell.

  50. Trawna*

    My Women – nip things like this in their misogynistic little buds on instance one. Do not wait eight years.

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      OP writes, I assure Craig that I’m thoroughly versed in this subject
      He doesn’t care. He doesn’t believe you.
      Stop treating this like a conversation. It is not. He is not answering a question you asked.
      He is making a point that he disrespects you.
      You are asking how to navigate this because it is not overtly rude. He is being speaking politely, therefore you must give him time and room to speak.
      Politely tell him that you need to interrupt him because although he was clearly listening and willing to participate he misunderstood the matter at hand. This is not a remedial lesson in industry vocabulary, this is a meeting to create an action plan. But I love your willingness to jump in!

      1. Warrior Princess Xena*

        Yup absolutely.

        To borrow from Captain Awkward – Craig does not have to like the new status quo. He does not need to agree with it. Your goal is not to get him to understand that he’s an ass (though that would be lovely!). Your goal is that Craig shuts up and knocks it off.

      2. Chocolate Covered Cotton*

        “He is making a point that he disrespects you.”

        This right here. He is interrupting meetings, apropos of nothing, to make sure everyone present knows he thinks you’re an idiot.

    2. Blinded By the Gaslight*

      Seriously. EIGHT . . . YEARS. That is such an awfully long time to be putting up with this garbage. I would have told him off after eight months.

    3. Tick-of-approval*

      I spent over 7 years in my first job, where I felt I was treated as a student at high school (more likely due to age than gender, but who knows, I’m in tech field full of men). In my second job one colleague tried to self-appoint himself as my boss asking me to report to him, and another one was constantly patronizing. Being still pissed off by the past experience, I decided I shall be treated differently and made it clear to both that that’s not how we’re going to collaborate together. It felt inside quite scary at first (and required a couple of firm iterations), but was totally worth it. 10/10 can recommend.

  51. Ex-prof*

    I like Alison’s suggestions. I was going to suggest yelling. Sometimes a small strategic loss of temper can work wonders with the truly obtuse.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      Nah. Then Craig will just make some remark about “emotional women”.

      LW needs to give Craig as little ammunition as possible.

    2. Pippa K*

      Yelling is inappropriate (internal screaming excepted, of course) and also ineffective. It’ll just give him cover by redirecting focus to your behavior rather than his.

      Another strategy, which requires a bit of cooperation from everyone else in the meeting, is to let him talk, and when he’s done, say nothing, holding the silence until it’s a noticeable pause. Then say something brief (“wow,” “oh my god,” “yikes”) as colorlessly as possible, and make a visible shift back to work. Bracket his nonsense off. Be faintly puzzled, be faintly pitying, but be clear that his behavior seems weird to everyone and derails normal work.

    3. TootsNYC*

      small strategic loss of temper
      or an F-bomb
      “What the fuck, Craig?” And let it sit there.

      1. I Have RBF*

        Yes, but stated without any emotional load whatsoever. “What the fuck, Craig?” in a dry, bored voice states that he is a) out of line, b) on thin ice, and c) boring the shit out of you and everyone else in the meeting. But you have to remove all emotion but boredom from it or he will act like you are an emotional little woman.

  52. EtTuBananas*

    You can always frame it to Craig’s boss as a time management and productivity issue too – which it is!

    “Craig frequently spends a large portion of meetings explaining concepts in detail that the team already knows. It takes up a lot of our valuable time and resources getting the meeting back on track as he has not been responsive to polite missives to cut the lecture short and allow the meeting to go on.”

    1. Mermaid of the Lunacy*

      And also fair to say “Craig spends a large portion of meetings *singling me out in meetings* to explain….”

  53. Just Here for the Llama Grooming*

    I know this isn’t a good idea…but oh by all that’s holy it’s a tempting one.

    “Craig, don’t you get exhausted being this big a mansplaining glassbowl idiot all the time? I think you really need to give it a rest for the sake of your health. Let’s move on.”

  54. EH*

    I don’t think it’s as professional as some of the tactics already suggested, but I would be tempted to make it into a running joke at his expense. As soon as he starts in, everyone at the table begins to smile, exchange glances, even chuckle. And give him a nickname, the “Craigsplainer” and say “the Craigsplainer strikes again!” each time he does it. Insufferable people like this can’t stand to be laughed at. *He* would probably take that to HR, though.

  55. Reeneejune*

    “It sounds like you’ve got a basic grasp of the topic Craig, was there something I could clarify for you, considering that I handle alien identification processes on a daily basis?”

    “it’s so odd that you don’t trust me to ask for clarification when I need it. Moving forward, let’s assume that everyone understands the topic unless they specifically ask for more information.”

  56. Peanut Hamper*

    “Ass” barely describes what Craig is.

    Even if you add “hole” it’s still not enough to describe what Craig is.

    1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      At least arses have use in real life (for pooping). He has no use, I’d liken him more to a virus – no beneficial use and makes people sick.

      1. Gumby*

        Sadly, one thing viruses are good at is replicating themselves. Which is why Craig must be stopped!

        1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          This point is brilliant because people will pick up on how Craig treats OP.
          Remember the letter were OP was established in a place but and old manager moved into the company and made odd jokes about how OP was fired or a screw up and OP’s peers started double checking work and stopped collaborating?

  57. JSPA*

    Make it about Craig, each time he makes it about you.
    Somewhere between solicitous or irritated, but mostly puzzled. And it’s fine to let a hint of “seriously over this” show.

    “Craig. What in the world are you doing with these interruptions?”
    “Craig, are you feeling OK?”
    “Craig, if you need a break, just take a break.”
    “Craig, digressions where you explain basics to people who have literally written fact sheets and books on the topic are disruptive. What’s driving you to it?”
    “Craig, what’s your goal or end game, here?”

  58. ENFP in Texas*

    I’m also thinking a multi-pronged approach would be useful. Meet with Craig individually and tell him, “In the future, please do not interrupt meetings with the assumption that you have to explain concepts to me. If I have any questions, I will ask them myself. Thank you.”

    When he does it again, look him in the eye and say “Craig, we talked about this. Please stop.” After the meeting, send him an email. “I asked you earlier about not assuming that you had to explain concepts to me, and if I had any questions I would ask them myself. What you did in today’s meeting is an example of what I was talking about. Please do not do this going forward. Thank you.”

    cc: HR

  59. BellyButton*

    One of the best take aways from my therapist was “you don’t always have to be nice or take the high road. Sometimes someone’s behavior and words warrant you being rude to shut it down.”

    That has been extremally powerful for me it gave me permission to take up for myself and to stop being a people pleaser.

    1. Goldenrod*

      “Sometimes someone’s behavior and words warrant you being rude to shut it down.”

      This is awesome advice.

    2. Elbe*

      It’s wild how much pressure most women feel to be nice to men who are being actively rude to them.

      Politeness, consideration, concern for feeling – these things are social contracts. They apply to everyone.

  60. cabbagepants*

    I’m a woman in a male-dominated industry. A few other in-the-moment comebacks. They all take the tone of speaking to an over-eager intern who has just learned that ice is frozen water and has interrupted a meeting to share their new knowledge. It goes without saying that you know the information — don’t even acknowledge that he’s trying to be patronizing.

    “Yes, that’s correct.” Can be either deadpan or chirpy; I find that chirpy bothers these types more and thus is more effective.

    “Oh, we all know what UFO stands for. It’s great that you know, too!”

    “Yeah so UFO is defined on Page 2 of the document I wrote; if you’re struggling with definitions, Craig, I recommend you review it before the next meeting.”

    “I seem to have taken for granted that this is common knowledge. Craig, thanks for sharing this. I’m so glad you’re now on the same page with us.”

    “Craig, there isn’t time on the agenda for us to review these basic definitions, but if you want, please feel free to share some in an email after the meeting is over.”

    1. Photosynthetic*

      “I find that chirpy bothers these types more and thus is more effective.”

      Ohhh yes. Condescenders do not like being condescended to, and enthusiastically reversing their attempts to teach you (the expert) is a perfect Uno reverse card. You can escalate it if the first time doesn’t get the point across, too; break out the kindergarten-teacher persona if you have to. “Great job, buddy! That’s exactly what the ‘U’ means! Now, do you remember what the ‘F’ is for?”

      I’m working up the nerve to try it the next time one of my students (I’m a youngish female university TA) decides that I don’t know what I’m talking about. Really wish I’d done it to the one guy last semester.

  61. Don't Mansplain Me Bro*

    I would probably go full on “kill with kindness” in responding when he does it: “Craig, you seem to need a minute to refresh your memory; we can wait if you like.” “Craig, I’m concerned that you once again forgot that I’m an experienced UFO researcher. Have you seen a doctor about your memory lapses?” Or there’s always the “WTF face” with a raised eyebrow and dead silence before continuing. If nothing else, it lets the others in the meeting know that you’re pretty much over Craig’s bullshit. What an ass.

  62. kayakwriter*

    In a previous incarnation working for BigCorp, I had a Craig (older male) give similar “explanations” to me (younger male) in management meetings. He was the accountant, and while none of the rest of us were CGAs or CPAs, we all had at least a working knowledge of accounting, and I had a few university courses in the subject. After one particularly patronizing “clarification” I responded “Why thanks, Ernst, I’ve never heard the concept of an audit trail expressed in one-syllable words before.” The explanations stopped.

  63. HonorBox*

    Just adding to Alison’s last paragraph… it would be awesome if other(s) from those meetings where Craig is being an ass went with you to speak to Craig’s boss about the situation. I’m positive it is incredibly off-putting to them, too, and a HUGE waste of everyone’s time for him to continue his assholery.

  64. Regina Phalange*

    I think you should make Craig put a dollar in a Mansplaining Jar every time he does this. Then at the end of the week everyone else can go out for lunch.

    1. Just Here for the Llama Grooming*

      Oh I so love this!

      “Awesome, another dollar for the Mansplaining Jar! And remember, Craig, it’s a sawbuck if you go over two minutes!”

      “At this rate we’ll be able to afford Rare Steakhouse this month! Way to go on the Mansplaining Jar contributions, Craig!”

      “Amy, you’re the Last Interruptee of this meeting! That means you get to pick the restaurant we’re all going to on Craig’s dime!”

  65. Pretty as a Princess*

    I have had some success with Craigs by ignoring the Craig, making eye contact with the speaker he interrupted and making a handwavy gesture as if to bat away a gnat (Craig), and saying along the lines of “Please continue, Georgia.” If Craig complains, “This is a pretty basic concept we’re all familiar with. If you feel the need to discuss it further, send me a meeting invite.” YMMV. (He won’t send the meeting invite.)

    But absolutely log every instance where it happens and bring numbers to his boss. Not “I feel” or “I think” but “Craig constantly interrupts women when they are speaking to talk down to them. He did it X times in these meetings with Y people about their specific areas of expertise.”

  66. Eldritch Office Worker*

    I screamingly second all the wonderful advice here, particularly about proactively stopping this for the future, but I also want to put in a good word for the power of a pointed facial expression. Look at him like he has six heads, or like he’s clearly embarassing himself and you’re finding it difficult to watch, or simply like he’s being an ass – because he is! The verbal shutdowns and possible escalations are also important, but remember that a lot of communication is non-verbal – and even if he doesn’t pick up on the non-verbal parts, the people around you will.

    1. I Have RBF*

      Yes. I think of the look as “Looking at someone who has just wet their pants in public.” Concern, bemusement, and a slight sense of superiority.

  67. Bossypants*

    Not sure if I can recommend stuff here, but I think we all need to watch more Deadloch. It’s definitely workplace relevant.

  68. Goldenrod*

    Ugh, I worked with a Craig. One time he asked me where he could get the updated copy of a certain manual we used. I explained that the one he had *was* the most current copy – it wasn’t updated every year, only every few years.

    He didn’t believe me, asked around (probably asked some men), then circled back to me and “explained” that, it turns out, we had the most current copy – he “found out” that it was only updated every few years.

    Gee, thanks for the update, Craig.

  69. Mr. Shark*

    Wow, I’ve had co-workers like that and I’m sure it’s 100x more frustrating for the OP when it’s obviously a sexist thing to keep her down and looking like she knows nothing.
    I think Alison’s responses are perfect!

      1. Just Here for the Llama Grooming*

        + 1000. Never, ever, ever meet alone with this Olympic-level victim of TPS.

  70. a*

    I mean…I would respond with “Given that I WROTE the SOPs on this topic, I’m pretty sure I’m conversant, Craig. But if you feel the need to hear yourself talk for the next several minutes, please carry on.” This is why I’m not a manager.

  71. Pandq*

    Saw a post somewhere about mansplaining and how one woman responds. She says it’s like when a toddler has discovered dinosaurs and tells excitedly their new information!!!! Your reply is Good job or way to learn! So point something out Craig has said and tell him what a good observation he made but make sure to say it in a patronizing voice. I would live to see this happen.

  72. Trillian*

    Alison’s rebuttals don’t have to sound irritable to bystanders. They can be delivered with an inquiring head tilt and a tone of cool inquiry. Channel your inner duchess, or your inner anthropologist.

  73. Devious Planner*

    Can you just ask “Why did you think I needed a refresher on this?”Then wait.

    You could start with something like “Given that I’ve been here for eight years,” but the short question should work just fine.

    Return awkward to sender and force him to say… what, that he thinks you don’t know what a UFO is?

    1. Pretty as a Princess*

      Or *smiles around room* “Craig may not be aware that I quite literally wrote the book on this topic. That’s OK Craig, now that you DO know, we can get back to the matter at hand.”

  74. But Not the Hippopotamus*

    Somebody (probably OP or the person who is running the meeting) could work to stop the interruptions. This means being as determined to get your way as Craig.

    Craig: Let me review this for Jane.
    Jane/anyone with standing: No, we all know that so we are going to keep going.
    Craig: Well, I just think not everyone is aware that…
    Person with standing: Craig you need to stop. This is detailing the meeting. We can discuss this offline if you are concerned, but we need to stick to the agenda.
    Craig: This will just take a min..
    Person with standing: Craig if you don’t drop this now you will need to leave the meeting.

    And if he doesn’t stop, it goes to his boss as a performance issue of detailing meetings and not listening when people with standing try to right track.

    Honestly, it might be worth banding together with some folks to have a bunch of people ready to shut him down regularly.

  75. Fluffy Fish*

    Maybe not HR, but if your company has a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging (DEIB) office or person, you can take it to them.

    One of our DEIB offices role is to help employees handle exactly these types of situations including being part of the conversation.

    1. Mr. Shark*

      Belonging? That’s a new one to me. How is that really different from DEI and mostly Inclusion?

      1. Clare*

        To explain via an example:

        When I moved schools as a kid, the other children in my class made sure I was invited to join them to play games at lunch from day one. They generously included me straight away, but I still felt like ‘the new kid’ for a while. It took a few months to go from ‘they’re kind because they’re nice’ to ‘they’re kind because they like me’. I was included from day one, but to feel like I belonged I needed to feel valued for my strengths, not just accepted in my weaknesses.

        Hope that helps!

    1. cabbagepants*

      I’m not LW but have dealt with this multiple times in my career and have seen a few different outcomes!

      Mansplainer #1 was protected by a big boss. I stopped letting him talk over me and take credit for my ideas and in response, my boss put in my performance review that I wasn’t a team player. I quit.

      Mansplainer #2 needed to feel smart and, when I stood up for myself (really just stood up for my data), he escalated his behavior into singling me out and denigrating me. My boss reported him to HR and he became very quiet/standoffish until he quit a year later.

      Mansplainer #3 is a loudmouth but never got aggressive. I got comfortable laughing at him, both to his face and occasionally behind his back, and it has defanged him — I think he does it less to me now, and I have also trained myself to laugh at it rather than taking it personally.

  76. Annie M*

    My go to shut down is:
    “Let me stop you there Craig.
    I’ve got this.
    We want to avoid philosophizing the obvious.”

  77. LifeBeforeCorona*

    Craig is wasting everyone’s time not just the LW.
    “Craig, we need to stay on topic, you can stay after the meeting and explain the concept to anyone who’s willing to listen”.

  78. Sharpie*

    “Craig, your sexism is showing. Please assume that I am here because I have been working in this field for years and don’t need to have the basics explained to me as if I were a beginner.”

    …I probably wouldn’t say this but it would be very tempting. I would absolutely go to HR and name the pattern.

  79. t4ci3*

    I know that he holds a senior role, but is there any way to just…continue the meeting without his involement when he does this? Everyone just ignores him and goes on with buisness like he’s not there?

  80. 1-800-BrownCow*

    Sadly, if Craig is anything like the “Carol” at my job who does this with both men and women, but especially other women, these responses won’t work. I swear I’ve used all these with “Carol” and she just continues like she never heard you. Her job is entry-level, but she will speak this way to SME’s on subject matter she barely knows the basics about, oftentimes not even correct with her explanations. I even recently told her to stop making incorrect assumptions about my work and she kept talking like I never said a word. And once during a meeting when she kept talking when she was firmly told to stop, a male manager, 2 levels above her, stood up, said she was wasting his and everyone else’s time, and walked out of the meeting. It.Didn’t.Stop.Her!!! And going to her manager (Top Management) and HR does nothing, her manager always makes excuses for her and will not do anything about it. I like my job and my company outside of this employee, which is why I’ve stayed. But 10 years of dealing with “Carol”, I have no better advise on how to handle an employee like this. Hopefully Craig gets the message and stops. But if not, know that you are not alone.

    1. The Unspeakable Queen Lisa*

      That’s shocking. I think I would just repeat “Carol.” “Carol.” “Carol!” “CAROL!” until she stopped. Like, literally overtalk her, increasing in volume until she is forced to acknowledge you. If she tries to start again, you do the same thing. It can’t get you in trouble, because nobody at your company cares about shitty unprofessional behavior.

      Also, why is she even in these meetings? Stop inviting her. If she shows up, don’t start the meeting. Tell her to leave and then wait until she does.

      Also, why haven’t all of you gotten together and gone to her manager?

    2. Marcella*

      So she’s been in an entry level role for 10 years and numerous people complain about her but she’s untouchable? How frustrating. I never understand why some people are so protected.

  81. Someone Else's Boss*

    Have you considered being a jerk back to him? Here is what I would do, using your example, “Oh, do you not know what a UFO is, Craig? Let me explain it to you.” or “I didn’t realize you found this topic so complicated, Craig. Would you like us to take a quick five so you can look some things up?”

    Two can play at this game.

  82. DameB*

    A thing I have found that actually works with my!Craig is holding up my hand like a crossing guard, with the words “Please stop talking.” I’ll take a step forward to make sure that the hand is close to his face. It’s usually so wildly unexpected that he will stop out of sheer shock.

    My dude is slightly different so into the shocked silence, I say something like “I can’t hear Jen if you keep talking over her to repeat what she just said.” And then I turn to Jen and say “Jen, please continue.”

    Instead, maybe OP could say something “I just said I know what this is. Coworker, please continue.”

    I admit it felt SHOCKINGLY rude the first time I did it but my!Craig was literally just talking over Jen to explain what she’d just told me in detail.

  83. Jaybeetee*

    Craig is gross.

    Nth to Alison’s response and to the people saying “return awkward to sender.”

    Craig is the one making this weird, so you don’t need to smooth it over for him. Your previous polite responses also haven’t worked, so it’s okay to get blunter and more forceful.

    I said something similar here yesterday, but I’m a fan of essentially asking why someone refuses to get a clue when you’ve already explained yourself clearly.

    “Craig, why would you think I don’t know that?” And silence. Let him try to explain *himself.*

  84. CraigSucks*

    The next time he does it, let him finish. Then as soon as another topic comes up say “hold on everyone, we need to give Craig a chance to mansplain this to me.”

  85. I'm just here for the cats!*

    In response to his next interuption “Of course I know what UFO standsfor. I was one of the people who created the UFO document. Why are asking?” or “Of course I know what UFO is, you know that I have a degree in other world studies. Why do you keep asking this?

    I’d also wonder if the OP, and maybe others who have had similar issues with him, should have a conversation with him. Although that probably wont help.

    1. linger*

      I know it’s not the actual example, and really bad advice to boot, but oh the temptation to say, “Craig. You. F.O.”

  86. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

    A calm face, raised eyebrow (taught self how to do this) and a ‘you teach your grandmother to suck eggs as well?’ fired back worked on one mansplainer I encountered.

    Or the ‘*I* know that but I’m beginning to think you don’t’.

    Basically fire up thine sarcastic brit inside and let loose. Although I cannot guarantee results and I still have a few mansplainers at work who will not shut the hell up.

  87. talos*

    I once asked a question about a design detail of a software system I was implementing to a more senior coworker.

    He started off his explanation by stating that it was written in X programming language, and proceeded to not actually give me the design advice I wanted while explaining more obvious things.

    I was the one who wrote it in that language! I mostly tuned out after the first sentence.

  88. Minty Fresh*

    My Craig told me last week when I questioned what he (in Sales, of course) was charging for a service he left off an invoice that $71 x 2 = $142.

  89. Aunt Bee’s Pickles*

    I‘be dealt with people like this by simply saying “Thank you, Craig” once they have finished their spiel. The key is to strike the right tone when saying it. Otherwise, they are likely to think that you really are thanking them. The tone needs to be flat, monotone, detached, and expressionless followed by returning to the topic at hand very quickly. Bonus points if you can manage a very slight hint of bemusement that lets others in the meeting understand the unspoken “Can you believe he just said that?”

    1. Random Dice*

      I wouldn’t advise this, he’s gunning for her, and this seems to agree that he was right in her ignorance.

      He’s threatened by her as competition, she shouldn’t help him undermine her.

  90. StressedButOkay*

    One thing I’ve learned is that if you physically turn away from someone who is being an ass, it drives them insane. Deliver your rebuttal and turn away – even if it’s your head/shoulders, turn and look at the original speaker or someone else and continue the meeting. It’s yet another signal that you are done with his utter nonsense.

  91. Such is life.*

    I find when confronted the Craigs’ of the world immediate response is a defensive “I was just trying to help.” I’ve found patronizing in return in front of everyone while seemingly maintaining composure usually curbs the behavior.

    “Craig, I don’t know if you realize, but you’re slowing down our meetings by stopping and explaining very basic concepts. Moving forward why don’t you write yourself a note when something comes up in a meeting that you’re worried you may need to explain and find a time to meet with me outside the meeting.” Then if he still does it in a meeting say “This is one of those things you should write yourself a note about and we can talk later.”

    1. Budgie Buddy*

      To weaponize “helpfulness” it’s also sneaky to ask for buy in:

      “Actually Craig I do need help with something? Can you help me out?

      “Thanks. Interruptions really derail these meetings. So can you hold you questions until the end and keep a tally of people who raise their hands so I can answer everyone in turn? Thank you so much.”

      He looks like a goon if he says yes and then refuses.

  92. Undone Spragg*

    “Well, Craig, it sounds like you’ve finally learned what a UFO is and you’re excited to share that knowledge, but I think most of us already knew that.”


    “Honestly Craig, are you really so insecure that you feel you have to explain what a UFO is to convince people you are knowledgeable? I thought you were way smarter than that.”

    Alison’s comments are very gentle.

  93. Quokka*

    Another side is how he assumes that she can’t ask for herself if she needs something explained.
    Perhaps next time you can jump in with “thanks Craig, but I’m more than able to ask for help on my own. I am a bit lost with something as it so happens. Craig, would you please get me a coffee?” Then indicate that the speaker can continue.
    That might derail him sufficiently. Anytime he starts up again, ask how the coffee is coming on, does he need help with using the machine, explain where the coffee is kept, etc.
    it’ll be pretty obvious to everyone in the meeting what is going on, but it would be hard for him to complain to a boss about you asking if he could get you a coffee and having it come back badly on you. Sounds like others in the meeting might jump on the same train. Perhaps he could get everyone in the room a coffee!

    On that note, try and tee up others who are obviously annoyed by it to jump in with things like “Craig, please let others ask these things for themselves”, “I didn’t hear anyone ask that Craig”, or “can I get a show of hands if anyone is lost? No? Ok moving on…” He is being disrespectful to everyone else in the room also with what he is doing. If you have a particularly strong Chairperson running a meeting, you could also suggest that they instigate a rule about contributions at the beginning and enforce that as needed in the meeting under the guise of time constraints. Everyone wins!

  94. Diana Barry*

    I think you can totally call these things out. When I’m not in the mood to actually call it out, I like to respond by saying some variant of “ye, exactly” over and over. sometimes that will stop them, but only if they are one of the more thoughtful people.

  95. NoIWontFixYourComputer*

    Isn’t gender a protected class? Sounds like time for a Hostile Work Environment claim to HR.

    1. the bat in the office popcorn machine*

      The same way LW doesn’t feel like HR will see this as more than annoying one-offs from a know-it-all, the EEOC will likely need more than “he interrupts during meetings.” Craig is an asshole who needs to be managed (and frankly, put in his place), but I am not sure he’s creating an unsafe or hostile work environment.

      While Craig is sexist, it also sounds like he is doing nothing more than being annoying as his lectures are less enlightening as groan inducing by the larger group: “…my coworkers’ reactions suggest they’re also super annoyed.”

      1. Chocolate Covered Cotton*

        If he’s only doing this to women, it’s a bigger problem than just being an annoying know-it-all. He’s announcing that he disrespects women who are his peers and even superiors.

        If he has ANY managerial authority, or ANY women who report to him, or if he EVER will, then it’s a huge problem that he’s fundamentally incapable of recognizing women’s competence.

        So yeah, “interrupts during meetings” isn’t an EEOC issue. “Shows a pattern of disrespecting women in meetings” absolutely is an EEOC issue.

  96. Hockeychick*

    I wonder how Craig would react if a man told him to cut it out. Would be nice if one of the men in the meetings tried.

  97. Elbe*

    I’ve dealt with a lot of this type of thing in my career, and I’ve found that one of the most effective things is to just not give this guy the response that he’s looking for. If the LW thinks that his main goal is to look smarter than her, a good response is to undercut that. Once he knows that his behavior is making HIM look foolish, not the LW, he’ll stop.

    “It’s so funny that you think anyone here doesn’t know what UFO is!”

    “It’s always so entertaining that you think you need to explain things like this.”

    “I was wondering if I’d get a Craig lecture in this meeting!”

    Directly addressing the issue is best, but sometimes guys like this can see it as a challenge and they respond by ramping up the I’m-smarter-than-you behavior. Framing it as something funny sometimes shuts it down better, with the added bonus that you can weaponize the “I was just joking, lighten up” stance just like he’s weaponizing the “I’m just being helpful” angle.

  98. Specialist*

    Cornelian dilemma.
    Interrupt Craig’s interruption and give him a choice of bad options.
    Craig, do you think that is a complex concept or do you have no understanding of your coworker’s skills? Do you think the hiring committee at this company is so completely incompetent that they would hire a bunch of people who don’t know the definition of UFO?
    He will likely respond about just trying to be helpful, at which point you have to seal the point.
    It isn’t helpful at all. It is insulting to a bunch of professionals who happen to work with you and quite frankly, giving basic information to someone with more experience than you makes you look like an idiot.
    I wouldn’t call it sexist or point out that he treats women differently. That would just derail the entire thing. He is likely threatened by you. This makes him feel superior. Poison that well. You can bring the mansplaining angle up to HR if they get involved.

  99. Political consultant*

    Since he’s not responding well to you saying you already know what he’s talking about, I’d try putting the focus on the fact that he’s interrupting others:
    – “Of course I know what a UFO is, please don’t interrupt Other Coworker.”
    – “Obviously I’m well-versed in UFOs and you’re derailing Other Coworker’s discussion. Please, Other Coworker, continue.”

    This has the benefit of asserting your authority as a senior voice in the room i.e. you’re speaking up to empower your colleagues to take back control of the discussion, especially if they’re junior to you or peers. Women also tend to face less backlash when they advocate for others vs. themselves. Even better if you can discuss it with Other Coworkers who are frequent targets of these interruptions in advance, so that they’re prepared to immediately follow up with language like, “Yes, Jane has led critical UFO research for us before – she’s well-versed in this discussion and I really need us to re-focus on X. As I was saying…”

    1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      I REALLY like the combination of the incredulous “of course I know, it’s ridiculous that you’re even saying this” message combined with “you’re being rude to others too” and then the redirect to the coworker.

      By doing this, LW would be completely taking control of the opportunity he has given her to talk, and sending several important message in the meantime, and then detailing his lecture before it starts.


  100. Former Red and Khaki*

    Just quote the line from Billy Madison next time: “Craig, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

    1. the bat in the office popcorn machine*

      No matter how much time has passed, I love this quote. It was delivered so well, lol. (Although, I do think Billy’s report had some merit from what we heard! Haha)

  101. the bat in the office popcorn machine*

    Let him finish and then: “Thanks, but not only do I know this, everyone in this room is aware of that. Going forward, can you not interrupt in the middle of presentations? Others can raise their hands if there is any confusion.”

    1. the bat in the office popcorn machine*

      Also: where is Craig’s manager in all this? Have you discussed how this is unproductive with them?

  102. Immortal for a limited time*

    Respond in the form of a question. Alison’s last suggested response is a question — DO THAT. Stare at him until he gives you a satisfactory answer. Always make a mansplainer mansplain why he mansplains. Make sure you ask it pointedly, in front of everyone. Lead with a statement if you have to (“I’ve been here 8 years. Why do you feel the need to explain UFOs to me?” (with direct, expectant stare)

  103. Budgie Buddy*

    In this case it would be very tempting and possible effective to just…laugh. Especially when everyone but Craig knows he’s the elephant in the room.

    “CRAIG …. [ill-suppressed laughter] Right, moving on…”

    Craig blusters

    “Questions for the end, everybody! Oh my. [wiped tears of laughter. Composes self] The new UFOs…”

    Like as soon as he starts mansplaining to just react like he’s made an annoying but hilarious faux pas that everyone knows has no place here and we’ve got to move on from as soon as possible to preserve the semblance of dignity.

    He might get angry (and that can also be called out) but he might also be confused and embarrassed in the face of laughter.

    1. She of Many Hats*

      Another way to turn it back on him “Yes, Craig, that’s right. What was your question about the concept that you don’t understand?”

  104. Diana*

    I would say, “Do you mean I need to explain it to you? Don’t you know? I would think you should know.”

    1. Devo Forevo*

      I agree. When it’s this outrageous, I would call it out explicitly. You can even use your own words here: “his interruptions are intended to keep getting the idea into colleagues’ heads that I’m lacking basic understanding of our work, while simultaneously demonstrating that he’s the expert who can translate complicated things into one-syllable bite-sized pieces for the edification of the tiny-brained.” Something like, “Thank you Craig, we all know that your interruptions are intended to give everyone the impression that I’m lacking basic understanding” etc.

  105. Abogado Avocado.*

    Please advise HR that this is happening. Craig’s persistent minimization of your knowledge and experience has created a hostile work environment directed at you because you are female. I know you want him to stop, but he’s not stopping. And because he’s not stopping, it’s time for HR to tell him in no uncertain terms that what he’s doing is illegal and puts the company at risk. Certainly, you could meet with him and tell him that, but there’s no evidence that it would have any impact on him. Therefore, it’s time to bring in HR.

  106. Palliser*

    I have a couple of Craig-like folks on my team, both 15-20 years older than me. For years I fumed privately and tried all sorts of graceful strategies to get them to stop talking over me and being dismissive. Then, I fought back. Alison is exactly right–sometimes you need to have a public battle where the jerk pays a cost for being a demeaning to you in a meeting. You re-interrupt them and shut them down, you raise your voice if needed, and you force the meeting back on track. It is very uncomfortable, but you are experiencing bullying behavior, and you need to show Craig and the other people in the meeting that you won’t be cowed. I also recommend taking Craig aside after the meeting and yelling at him. You can keep it professional, but you can absolutely tell him that this pattern of behavior is patronizing and sexist, and it stops now. Unfortunately, this kind of willingness to go to the mattresses is necessary in senior management, because some people get there because they love wielding power over others. Male executives play power games with each other all the time, so you need to have a certain level of firmness just to survive. Especially if you’re normally very even-keeled, people will see an outburst as a reasonable response to being on the receiving end of this BS and respect you for it. It sounds like “one weird trick” but I’ve found this strategy to be very useful.

    1. Jiminy Cricket*

      It’s true. You have to keep your powder dry, but be willing to use it when your professional reputation is at risk. You have to show not just Craig, but everyone else in the meeting, that you will not be treated like that.

      Interrupt him. “Absolutely not, Craig. Not now, not again. You called me out by name, and you know this is my area of expertise. Stop.” Keep your voice calm, firm, and level, and keep talking when he tries to re-interrupt you. If you work in We’re So Friendly environment, channel your inner Midwesterner and do exactly the same thing but with a great big Don’t Fuck With Me smile on your face.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        This part in particular is brilliant, the perfect level of assertive:

        “You called me out by name, and you know this is my area of expertise. Stop.”

        You clearly call out the behavior without any phrase that could used to deflect attention away from your point.

  107. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    “Yes, quite. Anyway as I was saying…” or just continue talking as if there was no interruption.

    Can you enlist some of the other people in the meeting (beforehand) to also step in or talk over him?

  108. Delta Delta*

    I had a Craig once. I looked him dead in the eye and told him I was leaving and when he was ready to talk to me like the experienced professional I am that I’d be available. And then I got up and left.

    Friends, this was the best move I’ve ever pulled and I can’t recommend it enough. My Craig cut it out and things went very well from there. If you do this you have to actually follow through and leave and not capitulate. Give it some thought.

    1. Jiminy Cricket*

      I can’t say I recommend this, but when my Craig did this, I launched into a completely unnecessary, detailed, five-minute speech on the history and nuances of the topic in which I am an expert and he is not.

      It didn’t advance the meeting, but he more or less stopped after that.

  109. Irish Teacher.*

    Honestly, this feels like intentional undermining. My impression is that Craig wants those higher up to get an idea in their head of the LW as “the one who had to be reminded what a UFO was” or “the one who tends to get a little lost on basic things.”

    My guess would be that he feels threatened by her and is trying to undermine her (not to say it’s not gendered because I doubt he’d do it to a man he was threatened by).

  110. Trillian Astra*

    “Hold up, let’s make sure everybody’s following. Jane might be a little lost. Jane, do you know what ‘UFO’ stands for?” Response “Of course I do, Craig, let’s move on”. Short and sweet. I love a “Of course” response because it’s a clear signal to everyone about how stupid the question is!

    I also read a tweet about how a woman likes to take mansplaining and treat it like a toddler who is explaining something rudimentary to you. For instance, Craig blathers on about something everyone already knows, the response would be “That’s right, Craig! I’m so glad you know this!”

  111. Andrea*

    Let him finish then say: “That sounds right, what part do you not understand?” When he rejoins that he was explaining it to you, act confused and reiterate that he stunned to be the one with a question since he stopped a meeting.

  112. pwl*

    I was in a VERY similar situation. I finally got comfortable with making the demeaning/sexist/patronizing commenter UNcomfortable. I stopped being excessively polite when the comments were clearly impolite: “I work really hard to make this an equitable workplace, and explaining the basics of a topic I’ve worked in for over 10 years, quite frankly, is demeaning.” He shot back with “Oh, well, I figured it’s always good to brush up on the basics” to which I replied “It’s my job to manage my education, not yours, and I can’t have you treating me or any other staff as though we’re not qualified.” He came up with all sorts of excuses, but the bottom line is that everyone in that meeting was SO relieved that I finally said something. Don’t feel bad about shutting this down hard. Others will respect you for it immensely, and likely be very glad that you said something.

    1. New Mom (of 1 2/9)*

      As much as I love some of the more biting responses here, this is one I could actually see realistically playing out.

  113. Office Drone*

    An alternative script for the next meeting that’s slightly more expansive on why Jane is irritated (not because Craig deserves explanation, but because I don’t trust him not to spin this to the colleagues into insinuating that Jane is dealing with PMS):

    Spoken in super-serious, peer-to-peer, Senior Person mode: “Craig, I’ve tried to be polite about this when you’ve interrupted past meetings for this issue, but you haven’t yet gotten my message. Please allow me to explain this to you bluntly: If I need clarification on a point, I’ll ask for it. It’s disrespectful of my expertise and our colleagues’ time for you to take time away from our meetings to explain basic concepts to me. Please don’t do it again. Thank you.”

  114. birb*

    “Craig we ask that everyone comes to these meetings prepared, if you need to review the basic info, please do so beforehand so you can keep up with the rest of us and we can be respectful of everyone else’s time.”

  115. Jiminy Cricket*

    This is so exhausting. Women are too young to know anything until the day before they are too old to know anything.

    Unfortunately, Craig knows this is such an effective way to undermine the OP’s expertise. Every time she talks about UFOs after this, someone could be thinking, “Oh, it’s a good thing Craig explained it to her.”

    This is one of those situations where you need to be clear, not clever. “I know that, and you know I know that. Stop.”

  116. CM*

    I think OP needs to reinforce her expertise, not just shut down Craig.

    Also, this is a totally obnoxious technique that I use only when someone is a chronic disrespectful interrupter, but it always works. I just keep talking over them, so we’re both talking at the same time. “Yes, I know. I’m already aware of this. This is a very basic concept. There is no need to explain this to me. You can stop the explanation now.” etc. and then when they finally stop talking you say, “Let’s move on.”

  117. I Have RBF*

    Craig is a chronic mansplainer. All of these incidents are microaggressions, and the pattern of them needs to be taken to management and HR.

    I would respond to him in an increasingly irritated tone, and start returning his condescension to sender. Then again, I am a bitch like that.

    The fact that he only does it to women is telling. It needs to be brought to HR. He needs to be put in his place and the sexist jerk he is.

    Do not just shrug this off.

  118. Pita Chips*

    I think asking Craig to explain why he’s explaining is delightfully meta and is the perfect approach to take.

  119. Coin Purse*

    Thank you Alison for a helpful, superb response. In my working life I saw a lot of Craigs and watched managers struggle to shut them down. Subtle doesn’t work with these blowhards.

  120. NotAnotherManager!*

    Our Craig used to do the opposite and NOT explain anything – packing in as many acronym and as much technical jargon as he could. I actually knew what he was talking about and tended to just ignore him, but I took a (male) colleague once who was less well-versed and stopped him every single time he used an acronym/bit of jargon my colleague didn’t know. It was taking five minutes for our Craig to get a sentence out. The highlight was when, after having to stop him three times in one sentence only to realize he was talking about an everyday thing everyone in our org new, my colleague asked him why he didn’t just use the common term of our organization rather than the bloated and less recognizable acronym and followed with, “It makes it seem like you’re trying to show us how much smarter you are than everyone else, and surely that’s not the message you want to convey.”

  121. SadieMae*

    I had a boss who did this sort of thing and I soon realized that he was *trying* to get a rise out of his female employees. It made him feel powerful, and he thought it was funny. Also it gave him a chance to say (often) that women are too emotional. Yeah, buddy, the reason I was close to tears the other day and my colleague John was not is that you were fairly cordial and respectful to John, whereas me you berated for being “stupid” (let me tell you, I was Einstein compared to this jerk) and also for being fat (which was true, but none of his damn business, and he certainly never told the men they had put on too much weight or that they shouldn’t be eating a piece of that month’s office birthday cake). He *regularly* made female employees cry. And he absolutely ate it up.

    So just be aware, OP, that Craig may be deliberately trying to get a rise out of you, as a power play and a way to dismiss his own feelings of insecurity (which was certainly the case with my boss). All the more reason to shut it down as calmly as you can (even if there are flames, flames on the sides of your face…)

  122. Despachito*

    I like the take when OP points out that he is wasting the precious time of the entire team. I think this looks much more professional because it sounds like “We are here to accomplish a common goal and this is distracting us”. If OP starts to argue about mansplaining, undermining her authority, sexism etc., it would convert the meeting in a battlefield between the two of them. She would be definitely right but it would sound more like a personal dispute, and I have been several times amazed how soon people forget who started it and tend to look at it with a prism of “the two of them are fighting again,” without acknowledging that actually, one of them was genuinely wronged and is trying to make it right. And they are not so invested in it.

    I think she needs to make it brief and non-personal (not “you are undermining me and demeaning my years of experience” but rather “let’s focus on our point and not digress”.

    And I also hate the idea she would need a MALE ally to shut it down because somehow a man’s word would weigh more than hers. A support from any coworker, male or female, would of course be helpful but the atmosphere where a man’s word weighs more than a woman’s would be the opposite.

  123. Raida*

    I also personally like holding up a hand and saying “you can talk after, if it’s needed.”
    and if they try to continue “No no – after. *If* it’s needed is what I said.”

    I like how it shows them that “Because I said so.” is the overarching theme of my response – I am in charge of the decision on if he speaks.

  124. Wow, really?*

    The only advice I have is that the letter writer practice shutting Craig down using wording that works best for them. Give yourself 2 or 3 responses to choose from before the next meeting. Even if doing it makes you nervous and your voice shakes, you’ll get better at shutting him down as you go. Good luck, OP!

  125. Dutch*

    “Craig, if the meeting is going too fast for you and you need a quick break that’s fine, you don’t need to keep inventing these scenarios of one of our professionals not understanding their jobs as an excuse to stop the discussion!”

  126. Aspiring Great Manager*

    What a plugged toilet this guy

    I have had the displeasure of working with a bunch of these, and from my experience, I recommend:
    – if you are chairing, say from the beginning there will be no interruptions, and then stop him when he interrupts
    – if he does interrupt, respond in a very short, matter of fact way: Yes I’m aware, Presenter please continue.
    – don’t take the bait! don’t act annoyed because he is looking to show how unreasonable you are
    – Report this to your manager, and also to his manager with a focus on how he is disrupting the flow of work, making meetings inefficient and you have a lot of work to do. Ask his manager to direct him to ask his questions separately (he probably won’t because there will be no audience)
    – Remind yourself that everyone else almost certainly can see through his act! ugh though

  127. Indolent Libertine*

    Start an actual pool among your sympathetic and also-annoyed colleagues about how many minutes into the next meeting Craig will launch into one of his patented bloviations. When it happens, shout excitedly “Aaaaaannnd that’s… X minutes! Who had X minutes until the first Craigsplaining? [consults phone] Fergus! You win!!” and then everyone pulls out their wallets and hands Fergus a dollar. Everyone high-fives Fergus. Apologize to the interrupted speaker and invite them to continue.

  128. Cardboard Marmalade*

    OP, I realize this is not a very professional suggestion, but it would certainly be cathartic to simply alter a meeting agenda beforehand so that there is a scheduled 5 minute interruption in the middle of a presentation for “Craig Talks Despite Being Asked Not To”. Once he begins his little lecture you can say, with evident delight, “Ah, I see we’ve reached the Craig Talks portion of the meeting! I’m just going to go stretch my legs, I’ll be back in 5 when we resume.”

  129. Lizzie (with the deaf cat)*

    Disrespect for women is so pervasive and destructive. Dear OP, if there are processes in your workplace that you can utilise, please do so if you can. People like Craig are not quietly dying out or anything. If you are able to show other staff that Craig’s behaviour can be named and even stopped – that helps you and so many others.

    It was instructive to see how appallingly our first Australian woman Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, was treated. There were no workplace protections in Parliament House. In 2012 Julia Gillard stood up in parliament and said she would not be lectured on sexism and misogyny by Tony Abbott, leader of the opposition. And that if he wanted to know what sexism and misogyny looked like, he should look in the mirror. It was an impactful speech – even so, within a couple of years Abbott became prime minister and even made himself Minister for Women.
    In 2021, following the (alleged) rape of staff member Brittany Higgins in Parliament House, by another staff member, there were widespread protests about how this allegation was dealt with. Thousands of women marched in protest across Australia in support of Ms Higgins. Those in Canberra went to Parliament House to speak with the prime minister Scott Morrison, who refused to speak with them and said that “women protesting against inequality and sexual violence in other countries would be ‘met with bullets’.”
    (For those interested in what the workplace was like for Julia Gillard, Anne Summers wrote some very eye opening articles on the extraordinary levels of disrespect, contempt and venom directed towards her which were a constant feature of her parliamentary life.)

    AAM is such a great resource for people to ask Is this normal??/What can I do about this?? and to receive advice, support, and encouragement -thank you Alison, and the commentariat.

  130. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

    And to any Craigs who think sexism isn’t a problem in the workplace anymore – read these comments. See the staggering amount of ‘it happened to me too’ from a lot of women.

    See what we deal with. It’s not a minor annoyance, it’s not funny, it’s a fundamental disrespect for our very existence as intelligent human beings.

    The fact that society taught us to be kind and gentle and accommodating to mens feelings is the only thing stopping you from encountering a rage hurricane aimed directly at your face.

    Stop. It.

  131. Don't Be Longsuffering*

    I’m late with one more suggestion. Interrupt Craig saying “Show of hands. Who knows what a UFO is?” Of course all hands will go up. “Craig, we’ll let you know if we need your help with remedial education. ” Keep doing it until his interruptions are met with everyone spontaneously raising their hands and glaring at Craig.

  132. IHavetheBestJobEver!*

    Sad and tiring indeed. My favorite comeback to this nonsense-and I rarely say it-is ‘let me stop you right there’ and then I proceed to explain why I need to stop them from dragging the rest of us through their waste-of-time ways. I keep mine short and to the point-usually a variation on the theme of ‘thanks but no need for your assistance-let’s take it offline if you need help’. Might work, might not but calling it out in real time as Alison suggests at least gives you the satisfaction of not having to listen to him yet again. Best of luck and please let us know how it goes.

  133. aebhel*

    Yeah, at this point I wouldn’t do anything to underline your own expertise; he’s too far up his own a$$ to take that as anything other than an opportunity for one-upmanship. Just say, “Craig, you’re wasting everyone’s time, again, please stop.”

    Use a very chilly, unsmiling tone. If he keeps talking, interrupt him to repeat it, then ask the person who was speaking to continue. Ignore him unless he interrupts again, at which point say, “I’ve asked you repeatedly to stop. You’re being rude and unprofessional.”

    I recommend looping your coworkers in so you can have some back-up on this, but frankly, once you’ve asked him bluntly to stop, in front of witnesses, and he continues to refuse, I think this is absolutely worth taking to his boss and/or HR.

  134. danmei kid*

    “Why do you think I wouldn’t know what UFOs are?”
    “Why do you feel the need to continue to explain something to me that I just now told you I already am aware of?”
    Say it out loud, say it directly, say it with confidence. Interrupt when you need to. Talk over him when you need to. In my experience this is the fastest way to shut these types of people down. When they are put on the spot to explain themselves in others and realize that openly saying “because you’re a woman” is not a great idea. Hopefully quickly you can condition him out of doing this.

  135. MCMonkeyBean*

    Uggggh. If I was in your shoes I would probably just stew in outrage while imagining punching Craig in the face. But as an outside party my suggestion is to say: “Craig, let me stop you there–I think we can reasonably assume that everyone at this meeting is aware of the fundamentals of UFOs. Bob, please continue what you were saying.”

  136. Sanity Lost*

    I actually saw a variation that worked when faced with this kind of dickishness “I’m glad to see that you understand the concepts Craig. Now Sally, you were saying?”

  137. Just Linda*

    While it would definitely be rewarding to be snarky, don’t worry underestimate the value of social pressure:

    “Before you proceed, let’s just do a quick check-in to level set around this. Would a refresher from Craig be helpful to folks?”


    “Okay then, moving on! Craig, can I assume you’re happy to help anyone who needs background and they should reach out offline?”

  138. Ivy*

    “Craig, is there something you are confused about and require for me to further clarify? No? As that explanation was not needed for my benefit, I can only assume it is for yours and that you are confused about the basics and required confirmation. Please hold these types of comments and discourse for outside the meeting so we may continue.”

  139. Kimekiwi*

    “Craig, your continual interruptions aimed only at your female colleagues and peer professionals comes across to everyone as pointed misogyny. Is that the impression you were trying to make?”
    “Then perhaps you stop interrupting for trivial reasons and wasting time.”

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