Why I stopped saying “I know”

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.”

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.

Published by Tiffany Sun

I’m rebuilding my life by discovering who I am and what I’m capable of after being cast away and stranded in China.

2 thoughts on “Why I stopped saying “I know””

  1. Rob Schneider says:

    “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.

    1. Tiffany says:

      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.

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