For example, if Person A is talking to someone who is differently abled (Person B), they may do something like attempt to give reasons to Person B why being differently abled has its benefits to make them feel special, even if Person B doesn't need the reassurance. I feel like there is a better word than "condescending" or "patronizing," since in a situation like this, there was no malicious intent.

  • It's empathising / using positive discrimination if there's really no condescension / patronising. Jun 24, 2017 at 21:56
  • 2
    Ignorant. Unless Person A has the same or similar disability as Person B, or a lot of experience with people who do, he doesn't know what he is talking about
    – ab2
    Jun 24, 2017 at 22:46
  • 1
    there really should be a word or term for types of "over-compensating" or premature familiarity .. and some related things.
    – Tom22
    Jun 24, 2017 at 23:20
  • 1
    Perhaps they are coddling them a little bit.
    – Jim
    Jun 25, 2017 at 4:03

5 Answers 5


The person is talking and acting officiously. From The Free Dictionary:

officiously -- in an officious manner.


Marked by excessive eagerness in offering unwanted services or advice to others: an officious host; officious attention

The OP specifies that Person A is offering reassurance to Person B "even if Person B doesn't need the reassurance." The OP also specifies that this is done "with no malicious intent."

Person A will claim that he is "just trying to make Person B feel good" or "just trying to help"; what he is actually doing is insisting that he knows better than Person A does what Person A needs and wants. He is treating Person A like a child. This may be totally without malice, but it is officious.


In response to the question of how to describe "one who talks differently to someone who is disabled"...to explain.."why being differently abled has its benefits to make them feel special"


Showing or feeling no concern for others' feelings. ‘an insensitive remark’
-Oxford Dictionary Online

Going even further would be...


3b : marked by a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern for something : apathetic indifferent to suffering and poverty
-Merriam Webster

Normally, during empathy training, we explain the concept in terms of "walking in another person´s shoes"; however, when the other person cannot even walk...the metaphor is useless.

  • That's pretty harsh! They might be well-intentioned but misguided. Unfortunately it looks equally bad from the disabled person's point of view, because words don't stop hurting just because they weren't meant to. Jun 25, 2017 at 5:44

Infantilize [in-fuh n-tl-ahyz, -tahy-lahyz, in-fan-tl-ahyz] /verb (used with object), infantilized, infantilizing.

  1. to keep in or reduce to an infantile state.

  2. to treat or regard as infantile or immature.

If your intention is to demonstrate that Person B is reducing the integrity of Person A this might be a good term. It implies that Person B believes that Person A needs their additional support because the condition diminishes them to less than a capable person and therefore they need extra caring for.

  • This is probably the runner-up for the answer. Will definitely use it too. Thanks!
    – Zack
    Jun 26, 2017 at 12:21

I think everyone does this a little bit while talking to different people.

Consciously or not you always tailor your conversation depending on who you talk to.

Make or adapt for a particular purpose or person.
‘arrangements can be tailored to meet individual requirements’



Pity [pit-ee]/ noun, plural pities.

  1. sympathetic or kindly sorrow evoked by the suffering, distress, or misfortune of another, often leading one to give relief or aid or to show mercy.

  2. a cause or reason for pity, sorrow, or regret.


  1. Informal. motivated by a sense of pity or sympathy for others or for oneself.

/verb (used with object), pitied, pitying.

  1. to feel pity or compassion for; be sorry for; commiserate with.

/verb (used without object), pitied, pitying.

  1. to have compassion; feel pity.


  1. have /take pity, to show mercy or compassion.

Though pity can be understood with mostly generous and compassionate connotations, unwelcomed and unwarranted pity can be destructive and often resented.

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