How to Deal With a Person Having a 'Know-it-all' Attitude

We all have a 'know-it-all' person in our life, who wants to give his/her golden advice on any topic which comes across. Such individuals want to exhibit their knowledge even when they do not possess the required expertise.
SocialMettle Staff
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
It's my life, take it or leave it, set me free
What's that crap papa, know it all?
I got my own life, you got your own life
Live your own life and set me free

―'It's My Life' (Dr. Alban)
If you're a fan of the Big Bang Theory series, then 'Sheldon Cooper' is definitely an inevitable part of your life. Sheldon exhibits personality traits that are quite similar to a 'know-it-all', even to the extent of arrogance. While in the show, this arrogance of his is the biggest factor for humor, if you encounter such a personality in real life, is it possible for you to take the person's arrogance with a pinch of salt?
'Know-it-all', as the name suggests, is an attitude in which a person is obsessed with himself, and sees things through his perspective only. He always believes that he knows all, irrespective of his knowledge. This feeling stems from the feeling of insecurity, and the fear of being exposed. They suddenly rebel, and have baseless counterattacks to prove how correct they are. Usually, narcissist personalities exhibit such kind of behavior. We might have encountered such personalities in our workplaces, friends, family circles, neighbors, etc. They find it extremely difficult to even patiently hear the other person out.

Dealing with know-it-all personalities can't be mentally taxing, especially if they tend to go overboard with their fairy-tales. So what to say to a 'know-it-all' person? The following tips will prove to be handy.
How to Deal With a 'Know-it-all' Coworker
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► Assert your viewpoint with examples. Support your opinions with evidences, so that it becomes difficult for them to counter argue. Once you give proof to your boss and the entire team, he cannot force his opinions on you or your team.
► Just smile and ignore their superfluous claims. As long as it does not harm your personal or professional life, let them go overboard. Simply concentrate on your tasks at hand.
► Thank them for their suggestions, and politely refuse their help if they interfere too much in your work. There are chances that they might be right sometimes, hence, do not always ignore or tend to take them as an unwelcome interference. Show them that you also value their opinions and experiences.
► Do not get into a heated conversation with them and sit and argue relentlessly. To win the argument, they can bluff to no extent. Sometimes, they might even take the fight too seriously, and go on a personal level, ignoring professionalism. Remember, such tactics are simply not worth your time. If you waste your time trying to prove that you're right, even you exhibit such personality traits!
► If you have a know-it-all employee, do not let him muffle the opinions of the other team members. Have a constructive discussion with him, informing him that though his opinions are respected, others will have a fair chance to voice their opinions too.
How to Deal With a 'Know-it-all' Girlfriend/Boyfriend
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►Dealing with a partner with this attitude can be more emotionally draining, and even more difficult than dealing with a coworker.
► First and foremost, be patient, and listen to what they need to say. Simply do not argue for the sake of it. Try to understand why they tend to behave like this. Try to be empathetic.
► Appreciate their comments, but explain your perspective. Prove them by action why your thoughts work. Sometimes they might make baseless comments, however, since they do not have evidence to prove it, use it as a tool to validate your point.
► If you really want that person in your life, help them deal with this. They might not be aware that they're inviting the wrath of many people due to their behavior. However, if they are too adamant, it is best to get out of the relationship, than letting your life and mental peace get harmed.
How to Deal With a 'Know-it-all' Friend
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► Such friends will never hesitate to publicly express their expert opinions on anything you discuss. Advice is always ready on the tip of their tongues. They'll boast that they are aware of everything. Right from interfering in your relationships, to telling you what is best for you, they just won't stop.
► Simply ignore harmless comments. Of course, that does not imply that you encourage such kind of behavior. Unless and until they're not creepy and do not harm anyone mentally, simply do not bother.
► If it gets into an irritating zone, and you don't want to be disrespectful, talk with them politely. Tell them courteously that you'll definitely approach them in case of any need, however, you've got your own viewpoint and thoughts.
► Know how much to take. Don't let anyone make you feel lesser. It's your life, and none of your friends have a right to judge you about your decisions.
What Causes a Person to be a 'Know-it-all'?
► Such individuals socially insecure, and feel that if they portray their knowledge, people will accept them and sing their praises.
► Attention-seeking behavior: perhaps they must have had a troubled childhood, and merely wish to draw some attention.
► If kids are behaving this way, as parents/guardians, you need to find the reason behind it. Are they simply emulating someone, or trying to seek attention? Teach them to respect other's opinions by telling them that their opinions are respected by you. Teach them by exhibiting an example. If this behavior culminates later, it might turn out to be a major hindrance in their future relationships.
In short, we all must learn when and how to politely refuse the interference of a know-it-all person in our lives. When you can't ignore, let them know that their opinions are welcome only when you ask for them.