As I’m writing this post, I’ve just had a run-in with a know-it-all, and the only way to stop myself punching to wall is to write about my experience and try and twist it into something creative. Unfortunately, I have to deal with this specific know-it-all on a regular basis and it’s an issue I have had to learn to deal with and navigate around.
First, let’s define the know-it-all:
a person who acts as though he or she knows everything and who dismisses the opinions, comments, or suggestions of others.
How do you figure out if someone’s a know-it-all?
Ever get into a discussion and there’s one person who seems to have all these imaginary facts plucked out of the air that make no sense? Ever spoken to someone who claims they know more on a specific subject than you, almost making the exchange seem like an unnecessary competition? Or, have you ever asked for help, only to have someone talk down to you, as if you know absolutely nothing?
Then you’ve met a know-it-all. I’m sorry.
There are some people in the world that aren’t aware of this, and it’s a genuine mistake. Some just really want to help, contribute or fit in. I’m cool with those people.
I’m talking about the people who add the unnecessary comments, interrupt without warning, and simply throw false facts in the mix to feel like they’re winning a conversation. Maybe they’ll talk about how they took a course in the subject, or how they fought the issue head-on and know first-hand how to deal with a topic that’s being debated. Those humans seem to act as if they know it all, but actually don’t. And it can get very frustrating.
What’s most irritating, is when a know-it-all claims to know it all, but doesn’t know anything and you know everything. Know what I mean?
Like when a know-it-all imposes on your expert area, or claims things you know for fact aren’t true.
Try to avoid any subject that could cause argument. If there circumstances allow, maybe avoid the person all-together. But to be nice, and still engage in fun conversation, steer clear of things that are controversial, unless you’re up for the fight.
Don’t bring up personal problems. Unless you want them throw back at you in an attempt to win the “argument”. Know-it-alls will use dirty tactics to maintain the feeling of success and dominate.
Rive above. This is the easiest thing for me to do. Most of the time, when a situation is getting uncomfortable for me, or just taking a turn for the worst – it’s so easy to walk away. You may walk away irritated and annoyed, but it’s better to walk away.
Vent. Reason number one I’m writing this exact blog post. Since starting, I’ve completely calmed down because the worst is behind me and it’s all out in the open. I don’t like bad-mouthing people for any reason, so writing or journaling is ideal when it comes to getting all the negativity out.
Don’t add fuel to the fire. Don’t let the conversation get heated. If possible, even try to cool it down. I’ve learned the hard way, when it comes to dealing with a know-it-all, arguing your point and getting loud doesn’t absolutely nothing. It just makes it worse.
Be understanding. Don’t take everything a know-it-all says personally. Most of the time, they have this strange desire to unload everything going on in their brain. Sometimes it’s best to just let them get it out and move on. Maybe even try to agree with them on some points.
Give feedback. But make sure it’s constructive, not critical. As mentioned, there are some know-it-alls that aren’t aware of their tiresome trait. It’s just the way life is. Maybe let them know, they might actually adjust their way of speaking.
Keep a sense of humour. It’s one of the best ways to keep the conversation light and impersonal. Nothing’s worse than a conversation in a group setting when people start firing personal shots at others. The lighter the better.
Know your stuff. If you’re entering an exchange with a know-it-all, and possibly one that will create a little heat, be armed with the facts before you being. Know what you’re talking about and you’ll have more control.
Offer as little attention as possible. Believe it or not, there are some people out there who only act up for the attention of others. If you can sense that someone is acting like a know-it-all simply for the attention, don’t supply it.