"I told you so!"

Is saying it categorically intrusive, simply in principle? Or are there some occasions where it’s necessary to let a person know that he or she needs to take off the blinders?

This happens both at my job and with certain friends. At work, they will neglect some organizational thing that I know will come around some day to bite them in the ass, and when I bring it up, they’re so short-sighted that they can’t see it. They just think I’m being difficult, or overly complicating things. When they do get their asses bitten, they’ve completely forgotten what I forewarned. They act like this is some new thing that came out of the blue.

I have a friend who often comes to me asking for advice on something, bemoaning some difficulty he’s going through. I pointed out to him several times, for example, that I thought he has a real fear of taking responsibility, but I could’ve been speaking Greek for all he was concerned. Now that he’s started to take some simple steps to better his lot in life, he talks to me like it he’s gone through some kind of divine change.

I understand the concept that it usually doesn’t help to say, “I told you so,” and that a lot of this is just my own hurt pride in being ignored. Still, aren’t there times when people need to be reminded that they should’ve listened in the first place?

Quoting Michael Scott (from The Office (US)):
“How do you tell someone that you care about deeply ‘I told you so’?
Gently, with a rose? In a funny way, like it’s a hilarious joke? Or do you just let it go?
Probably the funny way.”

I think it’s very very hard to say “I told you so” without sounding like a prick. It’s probably better to be sympathetic and suggest something like “Next time, you’ll know how to do it differently.”

I think in the first case, regarding work, it might be useful to say something gently and privately about “when I mentioned this last week I hoped you would take note then” or something, if and only if it is in the spirit of teaching that other people’s advice can be useful and should not be dismissed out-of-hand or completely ignored without some thought.

However, the second case appears to me to be one where there is no useful purpose and nothing served but your own ego to point out your own wisdom. There is nothing for this person to learn except the shining truth that you are always right (sarcasm intended).

So I’d say it’s kind of a case-by-case thing.

I believe you can tell someone “I told you so” without being offensive, though it would need to be re-worded. A couple of approaches that come to mind:

If (as appears to be the case with the OP’s friend) the person is making positive changes that you had previously recommended, and are now discovering the benefits, you can say something like, “I was hoping that you would do that, it’s so much better now isn’t it?”

On the other hand, if it is a negative situation that you had warned against, you can say something like, “I’m sorry, I was afraid that might happen.”

Notice how both of those statements indicate your foresight, which might remind them of your earlier advice, but doesn’t say it right out, and therefore would be part of a more supportive conversation than sounding condescending.

I’ve never said “I told you so” and felt that it contributed anything positive to the discussion or to anyone else. Frankly, I can’t even think of a hypothetical situation where it would be productive to do it. It’s of course incredibly alluring to do it, but for a while now I’ve been trying hard to hold my tongue and I think both I and the rest of the world is a little bit better for doing it.

When someone comes to you with an idea that just won’t work, and you tell them why it won’t work, and they do it anyway, and it works, how much does it help your analytical processes when they come back and say “I told you so”?

“I’m so sorry, you were worried about that weren’t you?” Or maybe even better" “i’m so sorry that happened to you”. Leaving someone some dignity is nice.

I think it depends on how much of a jerk they were being about it in thinking THEY were right and YOU were wrong when the problem came around the first time.

IMO theres a big difference between not knowing everything and being a know it all that doesnt know everything.

The first is just life. The second needs to IMO be bitch slapped down every chance you get (though its probably socially and politically a bad move in most circumstances).

Maybe you could just start making friendly waggers everytime stuff like this comes up. Either you’ll find you arent as right as often as you think or you’ll make some spare cash.