To shut down a know-it-all, you must use logic and patience. People who think they know everything assume that you know nothing, so it’s important to stay confident.

In every family or friend group, you have a pretentious personality. And to shut down a know-it-all, you must be willing to stand up for yourself, and sometimes for others.

People who have this personality trait see others as incompetent and unable to make decisions on their own. This can cause damage to those with a humble demeanor or who just want to be heard and appreciated.

How to shut down a know-it-all?

There are many ways to stop people from taking over entire conversations and bragging about their never-ending knowledge. You can use these tips to shut down a know-it-all in your life.

1. Avoid senseless arguments

A person who thinks they know everything will try to dominate a discussion. If you agree with them, then they will use you to push the point that they are right.

If you disagree with them, they will use gaslighting techniques to prove that your opinion makes no sense. And if you push your point to prove them wrong, you’ll be drawn into the argument.

So, here’s what you do: You just refuse to argue with them. Once you see where the conversation is going, just duck out. Make an excuse that you have something else to do, or simply state,

“I refuse to argue this point.”

2. Don’t let them see you are offended

One way to shut down a know-it-all is to not show offense at their insults. Yes, they will insult you, and they do it for attention. This is because they always seem to be driving a point home in the conversation. Their standards, beliefs, and morals are the holy grail, right?

And when they really get worked up, they downgrade others who do not agree with their points. They want you to react, but if you don’t, this will shut them down much faster. Try your hardest to let the insults go and focus on what’s really happening.

3. Do not be intimidated

The know-it-all will thrive off your agreements or disagreements, and that’s why you shouldn’t cater to either one. You should do whatever you feel is right in your own eyes. You do not have to see this person in the way they want you to view them.

No, you can see and hear the truth and speak your own truth with no fear. When the know-it-all sees that you will not be intimidated to do what they want, they will quiet down a bit.

4. Bring facts into the conversation

People that think they know everything will be vague. They may make passive statements like,

“Everyone knows you can’t grow anything in the garden during winter.”

You see, this is vague because this differs from location to location. In some places, you can grow things year-round, and this also depends on what you’re growing.

Hey, I’m just using what I’ve learned personally within my interests to help you understand the know-it-all’s mindset. These individuals talk generally about everything, and they usually know very little about what they’re saying. So, call on facts and specifics if you want to shut them down for good.

5. Don’t let emotions take over

One thing that happens when know-it-alls start talking is that this brews anger. Sometimes, they can make you furious because you’ve been listening to their nonsense for a long time. But please, don’t let them make you lose your cool.

Take deep breaths, close your eyes for a moment, then formulate your response. Do not respond out of anger because a person who thinks they know everything will use your anger to make you look bad. This will certainly make them talk even more or feel justified.

But if you keep your cool and refuse to react to their off-the-wall statements, they will get bored.

6. Set an example

A know-it-all obviously feels uncomfortable when they don’t know something. So, to show them that it’s okay to be unsure about a subject, just say, “I don’t know”, when they ask for your agreement.

Show by doing; it’s the best way to get a point across. You can also say things like, “I’m not sure; I’m still learning.” Any variation of this will show the know-it-all that it’s normal to not know everything.

7. Offer feedback

Sometimes people have no idea they’re acting in certain ways. This is the same for someone who thinks they know everything. It can be traced to low self-esteem.

You see, if someone’s self-esteem is suffering, they may counteract this feeling of inadequacy by striving to answer all questions and offer persistent information. The goal is to hide their frail self-confidence because they are vulnerable.

If you offer feedback in a friendly manner, it may help the know-it-all come to terms with their issue. Of course, this takes time, and it also depends on their mindset.

8. Repeat your stance

If you completely disagree with something the know-it-all said, then let it be known. Better yet, be persistent about what you disagree with. If the self-proclaimed genius keeps saying, “Everybody is unfair to me. You can see it!”, and you don’t agree with them, then say so.

Say it once, twice, and three times until they understand. You should not be manipulated into seeing the know-it-all as a victim. If you think that people are fair, then say,

I do not agree with you. Everyone has problems. I see no differences.”

9. Ask questions

If someone thinks they know everything, a good way to shut them up is to ask questions. This works especially well if you know they probably don’t know what they’re talking about.

Ask them about their source of information, pushing them to squirm, trying to make something up on the fly. They may even get a little angry because you asked them for proof, but it will shut down a know-it-all pretty quickly.

10. Be empathetic

Most of the time, the know-it-all speaks from a place of fear. They are afraid that they appear unintelligent, so they try harder to spout information. Unfortunately, they come off being pretentious.

So, use empathy and try to understand that they need a boost in their self-worth. Unless they have a personality disorder, this know-it-all attitude can be soothed a bit. Try to understand their perspective and feelings and you may be able to shut down a know-it-all and help them change.

Can we really shut down a know-it-all?

Yes, we can say and do things that show people we will not stand for nonsense. Being careful not to hurt others, we should stand up for ourselves and say what we mean.

There is a fine line between giving in and arguing with the know-it-all, but if we practice healthy techniques, then maybe others can follow our lead. Good luck dealing with that difficult person in your life. You can do it.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Just me

    But what do we do if we are in the presence of a really intelligent person with a much superior knowledge of real facts and truthful commentary about a particular subject which opposes everything we do think we know about it?. It is easy to just walk away from a person, but should we walk away from knowledge?, from true wisdom?. What would you do in that instance?. Please think twice before you respond. Thank you kindly

  2. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

    Hello there…

    This is where discernment comes into the picture. You must understand whether you are in the presence of someone with vast knowledge or someone who needs attention. Both of these people have similar characteristics; sometimes, they can even be the same person at various moments. Take a little while, when listening, to make an educated decision about what you’re seeing. Using these observations may help you decide whether to stay and learn, or walk away and preserve your mental health.

    As for me, yeah, I would stay awhile and listen. Little details would let me know what to do. For instance, body language plays a large part in deciphering people. This is also true about facial expressions. There is also this gut feeling connected directly to the discernment that tells you if someone is full of it, or if they are on to something. Just observe people more often. And be open to new perspectives. After some time, it will become easier to tell the difference. 🙂

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