I used to be scared of sounding stupid. And giving others the impression that I don’t know jack s*** about anything.

 

Because the truth was, I didn’t know jack s***. I had no idea how credit cards worked. What gluten-free meant. How to travel by plane. How to order food delivery online. Who David Beckham was.

 

I didn’t know the stuff most people knew, because I didn’t bother to learn. Nor did I read the news.

So to protect my self-image and from total embarrassment, I turned to my two favorite words:
I know.

“You should seal your phone in a bag of rice if you drop it in water.”

I know.

“Weight lifting shapes your body better than cardio does.”

I know.

“A high-protein, low-carb diet is the best diet.”

I know.

While I did felt ashamed for lying to myself and pretending I knew when I didn’t, I just couldn’t confess the truth. It was too risky.

People figure out how smart you are based on what you say. So if you shoot back a “I know” after they pass you a suggestion or a fact, they’ll automatically assume you know, which leaves them with nothing else to say.

Conversation ends there, and you’re saved!

At least that’s what I thought would happen for every case. But no. There’s always that one person who forces you to continue with a follow-up question.

And that’s where it hit me hardest.

Because the moment I start talking gibberish or making stuff up, I get caught. Instantly. By people smarter than me in that field. In the end, I lose their trust and my credibility — a stain that sticks by forever.

“Trust doesn’t come with a refill. Once it’s gone, you probably won’t get it back, and if you do, it will never be the same and that’s a fact.”
~anonymous

So when you don’t know, say “I don’t know”

Because when you pretend by saying “I know”, two things happen:

  1. Others will eventually realize you don’t know as much as you think and your authority drops.
  2. Others will stop giving you information — because they assume you know it all.

So better you admit the truth than lose your credibility.

  1. Rob Schneider
    Aug 08, 2017

    “i know” limits your ability to explore subjects. When you say, “I know,” it closes a door to finding out what you don’t know. I don’t know much, but I think I know that much.

    Reply
    • Tiffany
      Aug 14, 2017

      Exactly! It’s not something most people are aware of, since they use it as a defense mechanism for not understanding something. But it’s a good habit to break out of.

      Reply
  2. homeless baker
    Apr 09, 2018

    i wonder how many people read your posts, because they are quite awesome! I should be working, but i’m here, 2nd day in a row already.

    Reply
    • Tiffany Sun
      Apr 16, 2018

      Haha I don’t know, but I love how you’re spending your work day reading my stories!

      Reply
  3. Robert
    May 16, 2018

    Years ago I came to the conclusion that just about everyone that answers “I know” rarely ever does, and the faster the response comes is an indicator of just how little they actually know.. I think it’s one phrase I dread hearing, especially from my kids hah

    Reply
    • Tiffany Sun
      May 16, 2018

      You’re so very right about that, Robert. And I love how you added the extra detail that the faster the response, the more they don’t know. 👊🏻

      Reply