Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Simple Request

There are not many things that annoy me. I'm very laid back; however, yesterday I was reminded of something that bugs me a whole lot. It is when people pretend to know more than they actually do. Let me explain.

I know and have come across plenty of people who seem to know everything about anything. The subject doesn't matter; they'll seem to know so much about it. Granted, there may be some people who have a broad range of interests and know a little about many things; however, I don't believe this is the case with most people. In my experience, whenever a particular topic comes up in a conversation the "all-knowing" individual will make assertions and statements as though they are facts.

Just yesterday while I was at work, a staff woman stated to a young client that "Thou shall not lie. You shouldn't break the first commandment." The young client challenged the staff and said it's not the first commandment. She resisted at first and then turned it back on him. She said, "Well if it's not, then what is?" The young client went to his Bible and showed her the first commandment (it wasn't about lying). This is not the first time this staff woman has asserted something as though she knows it to be the case but then was proven wrong later.

I know of two ways to deal with these types of people. There are plenty of them out there so this should be useful to those of you who know that you don't know everything. The first thing one could do is research. Plain and simple. The "all-knowing" individual made a statement and all one has to do is use some trustworthy resources in order to confirm or disconfirm the person's statement.

The second thing one could do is ask questions. That is, the right questions. First, one should ask how the "all-knowing" individual knows what he knows. Many times this type of person won't have a good answer. When someone doesn't have a good reason for believing something it doesn't automatically mean the statement is wrong. It just means one should be very cautious about believing what the "all-knowing" individual claims to know. The following questions are difficult to explain how to do. I know how to do it just through years of experience. I suppose the key element is listening and spotting inconsistencies. When someone hasn't thought out his beliefs, one will likely spot a lot of inconsistencies. Once one spots and points them out to the individual, it is likely the person will attempt to wiggle out of his inconsistent statements by either denying what he said or attempting to reconcile the inconsistency.

If you're one of the "all-knowing" individuals that I'm speaking about here, please humble yourself. You don't know a lot about a lot of things. There's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with saying, "I don't know." Don't pretend you have all the answers to every topic. It's annoying and makes you look foolish when it turns out you were wrong about a particular subject. Please just stop.