What to Do If Your Friend is a Total Know-It-All

Whether their information is correct or not.

No one likes a know-it-all—that's (almost) a proven fact. Rather than avoid one completely (which might seem ideal) this week's episode of "I Want to Like You" has a few more practical solutions. Host Kristin van Ogtrop speaks to Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne, professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Diane Gottsman, etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Texas, about what makes a know-it-all and what to do when trapped in a conversation with one.



According to Whitbourne, there are two different types of know-it-alls: the one who actually does have a wealth of knowledge, and wants you to know it, and the person who, as a result of insecurity, only acts like he or she knows everything. While the former might be exhausting to be around—you didn't ask for a lecture—the latter can be end up being more difficult, because it requires more sensitivity to say, "You're wrong." How do you disagree without being offensive?

It depends on the situation and your relationship, according to Gottsman. It also depends on whether or not it's worth it to correct them. One example: What if your boss offers incorrect information in a meeting? Gottsman says to speak up, but phrase it carefully. Say, "I'm interested to know where you got that information, because it's incorrect." For how to deal with other know-it-alls—including an actual know-it-all, whose information may be correct, but is also exhausting—listen to the full episode below. Don't forget to subscribe and review the show on iTunes!