Dear Sis, you *DO NOT* know everything

Tonight we went to dinner with my Mom and Dad for Mothers Day.

And my Sis did what she always does. She refutes any belief or fact that she does not believe as though she knows everything. No discussion. She is always right.

Damn it Sis, stop it. You don’t have to pretend you know everything to impress people. In fact it makes you look like an asshole. Smart people admit when they do not know something. The only way to learn is to know what you do not know. Otherwise you will always be ignorant.

Dear Sis, yes you have worked on a project dealing with finding low level medical nuclear waste for a year. But when the discussion of transporting high level nuclear waste comes up you DO NOT know more than Dad. Dear Sis, Dad spent 20 years of his life designing and testing containment vessels and other saftey systems. Dear Sis, while you may think that the containment vessels are unsafe but dimissing the data does not help your case especially when you haven’t reviewed that data.

Dear Sis, the fact that you do not know what is considered a safe Rad dosage doesn’t help your case when I do even though I don’t work in the field.

Dear Sis, please stop it. I love you but you make every family function uncomfortable because you have to disagree with everyone all the time. All it does is make you look like a fool and make us all feel embarassed.


Wow. You’re all radioactive waste experts?

So much for those news reports about the demise of the nuclear family … .

Wow. You’re all radioactive waste experts?

So much for those news reports about the demise of the nuclear family … .

Actually, no. My Dad was before he retired. My Sis knows a little bit due to writing drivers for instruments that detect low level waste. I know what I know due to hearing my Dad and others talk about it while I grew up.


I have a sister who also does this. She also tends to get her facts muddled, then quote them as if they’re canon. Whatever her latest junk science discovery is (which she probably learned around the water cooler at work, which is the finest reference source in the world, as we all know), that is now the law of nature and the way everything IS. It drives me crazy, too, as she loves arguing and I don’t, so I usually just clam up and let her spout her drivel, but every so often she says something I can’t let go by; I can argue her to a standstill and show her facts that disagree with her, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard her say she was wrong about something. I agree completely with you about not impressing people by pretending to know everything, sleestak. My sister could learn a lot from the people around her if she didn’t know everything already. And the discussions would be much more interesting, too, with everyone contributing, instead of consisting of her telling us “the facts”, and me sitting there rolling my eyes.

I believe it was a famous dead guy by the name of Socrates who went around Greece claiming to know nothing and showing everyone else that they also knew nothing. I think a lot of people could learn a thing or two from him.

I know the sister to which featherlou refers, and she is very bad for this. She is living proof that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

A few years ago, I also worked with a pinhead with this problem. If he received even anecdotal informatin about any subject, he immediately assumed the mantle of expert. I remember arguing with him at length on one occasion when “Dream On” by Aerosmith came on the radio and he exclaimed, “Hey, that guy does a pretty good Steven Tyler imitation.”

I feel your pain, sleestak. This kind of behaviour is irritating and disrepectful to people around them who might actually have some legitimate insight.

Thanks for making me feel that I am not alone. I make it a point to understand what I do not know and then find a way to learn. My Sis does the reverse.

I love my Sis and I think she does this because she is insecure. She’s a smart girl when she doesn’t hide behind the ‘I know everything’ thing.

What really kills me is that she has the nerve to argue with, and dismiss, my Dad on nuclear issues. My Dad was the go to guy for nuclear stuff for years. (He was asked to clean up Three Mile Island and turned it down claiming it was busy work) I do not automaticaly agree with my Dad on all these issues but I know that he has forgotten more about nuclear issues than I will ever know.

I love my Sis but sometimes I just want to smack her silly.

I won’t even go into her belief that herbal remedies are safer than prescription drugs…


But then he would also conclude “since I know that I know nothing, I therefore know something, which makes me smarter than everyone, neener-neener-neener.” :wink:

Seriously, though, you’re definitely not alone, Sleestak. Every company I’ve worked with has one of these types. Unfortunately, the “I know everything” approach seems to work just often enough for these POTA’s to get promoted into management. I’m thinking of joining them.

ah, memories. my ex had this problem. he knew everything about everything and was always right. he had tons of crackpot ideas (the government is trying to keep us from curing cancer) and misremembered facts.

plus, he had a tendency to re-write history as it suited him. for example, one night watching a news story about x, he told our housemate that last night we’d had a trivial pursuit question about that exact thing! when i told him no, honey, the question last night was actually about y, he insisted that there had been another question that was what he said, but i just didn’t remember it.

that gets old really fast.

I had that problem with my sister for years. Her opinion was always right, mine was always wrong. Or, if I knew something, she automatically had to embellish on it, whether it was true or not. She couldn’t admit that I might know something that she didn’t. It drove me crazy. Then, a weird thing happened. I got tired of it and ignored her completely. When she started, my normal response started to be, “Mm-hmm. Oh. Okay. Really,” and eventually, she stopped. And we started talking about things that didn’t require “competition.” I don’t know how we eventually started getting along, but we did. We’re actually friends now, which I didn’t think would ever happen.

My sister will go along with my mother on everything! That’s just so irritating to me, because sometimes I will disagree with what my mother thinks. When I try to venture an opinion, my sister will say, “That’s not right… it can’t be, because that’s what Mom says.” So sometimes I call her on things like this, and ask if our mother knows everything: “Yes, of course. She’s Mom; what do you expect?” Gaaaaaaah!!

This is not to say that my mother is never right about anything; not is it to say that I disagree with my mom just because I have a major beef with her. My sister can actually be quite nice (relatively speaking; pun not intended) when she’s away from Mom. That is, when she’s not saying how much she misses Mom every five minutes we’re away from her… :rolleyes:

Good lord. If my best friend wasn’t an only child, I would swear she’s your sister, slee.

She has an opinion on EVERYTHING. There is nothing in this vast world that escapes her. And her opinion is the ONLY VALID OPINION, therefore, she’s always right. She also has extensive knowledge of how our government works, and although she was living in an abandoned building during the entire Clinton administration, didn’t own a t.v., and didn’t read the paper, she knows for a FACT that Clinton is responsible for everything from George Washington chopping down the cherry tree to Lisa Lopes dying in a carwreck. (Some day I’ll start a thread devoted entirely to her ravings. It would be nice to be able to slam her head into the concrete with some true information.)

I feel your pain, slee.

My sister’s latest thing is diets and herbal cleansing. And of course she also takes half a dozen herbal remedies a day to make her healthier; wouldn’t want to, oh, I don’t know, exercise or anything. :rolleyes: Whatever the current trend is, my sister is a convert and out to convert the world with the gospel according to Oprah magazine. Oh well. She really is a great person, just a little hard to talk to sometimes.

Your sister and my brother-in-law must have a deep spiritual connection. My BIL is a putz in many ways, but one of the things he does that makes me crazy on a regular basis is reading an article/web site/whatever and than magically becoming an expert on the subject.

For mother’s day, we had a family dinner at my husband’s family’s home. At the table, the subject of motorcycle riding came up. My BIL started explaining to the table about risk of death associated with riding a motorcycle compared with driving a car.

Now, I’m not trying to be snotty about education, and perhaps I will fail and wind up sounding snotty. However, my BIL failed out of two colleges because they weren’t “interesting” enough for him to go to class. I have an MPH in epidemiology and am working on my PhD. I spent two years working on a study of motor vehicle collisions, during the four years I worked with the local Injury Research Center. I have studied injury epidemiology and at one time wanted to stay in that field for life. The statistical basis of risk is something that I have been studying and working with since 1994, and I have worked very hard in the area of communicating risk information in a way that is both accurate and understandable. It’s important to me. The point is, I knew a LOT more about what he was talking about than he did.

What he said was just plain wrong. My poor husband’s eyed bugged out of his head as he sat at the table waiting to see what I would do. Calling my BIL on his bullshit has been a favorite pastime of mine, because he gets so arrogant and self-righteous, and even when he knows he’s wrong he won’t back down.

This time, I decided to be the bigger person and let him have his moment. He gets very few moments where he is the one giving information and providing explanations, and he really, really likes it. The fact that what he says is pure crap doesn’t seem to matter to him, he just wants his moment in the sun. He pisses me off frequently, he is one of the few people in the world who can make me angry to the point of irrationality in less than a minute. But underneath, he’s really just very sad.

I wonder what he would do if confronted with the fact that Trivial Pursuit is not 100% accurate.

My wife has accurately described my brother-in-law’s asinine behavior above. Specifically, the “statistic” he offered regarding motorcycle safety was as follows: “If you drive a motorcycle for two days and then spend the rest of the year in your house, you have the same risk of dying in an accident as if you drive a car to work every day for the same year.”

As a conversational factoid, it’s kind of questionable. It’s even shaky in the context of those stupid little USA Today graphics. And as legitimate epidemiology, it’s utterly meaningless, the worst kind of oversimplification and obfuscation. I’m amazed my wife was able to restrain herself.

Later that same day, as we were getting ready to leave, he went off about “technical jargon” that he had found on some website or other, trying to demonstrate his great knowledge. Actually he was trying to show me up; he has a hugely misplaced desire to compete with me on stupid subjects. Unfortunately, he forgot that I do technical support and development at a major Internet company, and his examples were hopelessly puerile. Eventually, I just walked away from him.

He’s totally infuriating. This shit drives all of us crazy. Well, except my mother, who thinks he’s an angel. Even though he’s 30 and has lived at home since I kicked him out of my basement right before his kidneys died and he wound up hospitalized and now he can’t take care of himself but he pretends everything is okay and lets my mother wait on him hand and foot – well, hand and half a foot, since he had to have it amputated following the liver transplant… Shit. Long story.

Anyway, sleestak, we feel for ya. Truly.