We have all come in contact with a “know it all” at some point in time right? You know, the person that ALWAYS has the solution? The person that begins EVERY response to a statement you make by telling you how you should do it or how it can be better. The person that is usually quick to make excuses when they are questioned on things they are responsible for. As I think about my life I can identify many times that I have come in contact with a “know it all” personality. I am actually fairly convinced I have actually been a “know it all” many times myself.
Whether it is a neighbor, a co-worker, parent or someone else in your life, “know it alls” are not fun to be around. It’s tough to voice your own thoughts around them, even harder to disagree with them for fear of being steamrolled by a strong personality. Still, sometimes our lives require us to work with difficult personalities. Here are some thoughts on how you can work with a “know it all” and still have a voice of your own.
- Smile and nod: Accept early that you may not get a word in edgewise. I am not saying agree with everything they say, I am saying let them talk until they are done. When they are finished you may actually have heard a good solution. If there is something they said that is debatable or might not work I usually respond with a statement like “thanks for that opinion, you have definitely given me something to think about.” Debates usually don’t work very well with a “know it all” personality so I would try and avoid them at all costs.
- Let them know you understand their point: A “know it all” will go to many lengths to get you to see it their way. “know it all” personalities tend to be type A, passionate people who easily get fixated on the best solution they can see to a problem or issue. Listen to them thoroughly and take time to clarify what you heard them say. This type of person will probably move onto a new subject once they know you understand their view on a subject.
- Don’t commit to a solution you are unsure about: You might feel pressured to commit to a solution that is being offered. If you are like me you probably don’t make too many decisions quickly. My take is that if it is important enough to discuss, its important enough to think on. This can sometimes be hard when people want an immediate decision but if the decision is yours to make then you can take the time to think it through. Stand your ground!