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Save us from those who know-it-all

I am prepared to bet half my salary that you have encountered a ‘know-it-all’ person sometime in your life. I don’t want to bet the whole of it because there’s the risk that you are one such person yourself.

entertainment Updated: Jul 03, 2011 00:53 IST
Sonal Kalra

I am prepared to bet half my salary that you have encountered a ‘know-it-all’ person sometime in your life. I don’t want to bet the whole of it because there’s the risk that you are one such person yourself. Because I think in some unintentional and hopefully harmless way, I, too, may belong to this category. And I need to set that right sometime soon.

Hello, and welcome to this world where some people think they were born superior, because they have more knowledge than others. They may actually do so, because they are well-read or aced their grade in school, or it could simply be because they were raised with their dad reading out the newspaper aloud every morning and their mum singing ‘you are the best’ at bedtime. The fact remains that they know more than others. And since I truly respect knowledge, I have regard for people who have it.

My problem, however, is with ‘they-think-they-know-it-all’ kind of people. Such a person is opinionated; he or she doesn’t let anyone else express their views and disregards most people as idiots. They are devoted in their mission to put themselves up on a pedestal which has ‘I know it and I told you so’ engraved on it. And I can bet half my salary that you have indeed encountered such a person sometime in life.

I have a relative who monopolises and dominates the conversation at all family gatherings…all the time. No matter what the topic is. I can’t name him here because mom is likely to call up and throw a crying fit. Then, at school, I had a teacher who firmly believed that she’s an encyclopedia wrapped in human flesh. Any attempts at counter questioning and arguing with her would result in mild explosions.

The know-it-alls actually need not necessarily come in positions of power, since it’s more a matter of attitude. My last maid, God bless her, had a Phd in argument science. Whether she genuinely knew things or not, she thought she did…. and that’s all she needed to make my life a mini war-zone every evening. Anyhow, you get the drift of the kind of people I’m referring to. If you have lately been resenting a ‘know-it-all’ person in your life because they give you inferiority complex or very simply, annoy the mickey out of you, read on these calmness tips.

1 First, acknowledge and admit that albeit unintentionally, we all play a role in turning a person into a know-it-all monster. I happened to top in exams every year when at school. It’s another thing that I now know that such achievements have precious little to do with how you turn up in life. But at that time, my classmates were kind enough to label me as ‘the intelligent’ one, and I started to actually believe I have more knowledge than others. I now realise that all that air of superiority, if anything, only added to my state of being overweight in life! Anyway, on a serious note, the point is that when we chaddao someone on chane ka jhhaad, as it’s said colloquially, we are not doing that person any favour. We are just creating a know-it-all, whose superiority complex would someday bite him in the, you know what. Avoid.

2 Secondly, most of the time, the know-it-alls are good at just making up information to show-off their intelligence. If you do encounter an annoying person who is throwing random facts at you, consider asking him to specify the source of that information. They are not used to counter questioning, and it may just throw them off balance. However, if they become confrontational and loud at being doubted, say something like ‘whatever you say’ or ‘you have a right to your opinion’ and leave the scene. Your peace of mind is anyday more precious than winning a useless argument.

3 Finally, do know that in life, it’s OKAY to not know something. While it’s always, without a doubt, good to be in the know of stuff that’s happening around you and elsewhere in the world, don’t develop a complex or let yourself fall into the self-pity trap if you were caught ignorant at some point. Don’t know something? Duh…just ask! No one’s judging you. It’s all in your head.

Sonal Kalra wants to be able to always know the difference between having the answer and ‘believing’ that she has the answer. Would someone who knows-it-all help? Mail your calmness tricks at sonal.kalra@hindustantimes.comFollow Sonal Kalra on twitter at twitter.com/sonalkalra