Are You Sure You Are Not A "KIA" (Know-It-All)?

You must have come across people who know everything. They are good at guiding others. They are the go to persons for many people around them when they need personal or professional advice. They are highly active on social media too. They always share their knowledge with people and help them.

Well, this is what they themselves believe they are or do!

A know-it-all talking

The reality is - They always boss around and argue. Dominate their co-workers and loved ones too. They are often found offering unsolicited advice.

They don’t want to change the way they work or do things because they believe their way of doing things is the best.

They are so complacent that they just don’t feel worth listening to or consulting others who could be the actual experts in certain matters.

You know what they are called? “Know-It-Alls”. Let’s call them KIAs.


Here are some of the most common traits of KIAs:

1. They talk a lot and hardly let others speak.

2. They hardly take advice.

3. They think they are never wrong.

4. They always argue.

5. They keep shifting goalposts.

6. They are excellent fault finders.

7. They always tell others how to live when their own life is a mess.

8. They can always do it better, even if they have never done it before.

9. They have a huge ego.

10. They are often condescending.


How to deal with KIAs?

While we can't control others’ behavior, we shouldn't let them walk all over us. Moreover, we cannot let them waste our time and destroy our peace of mind. There are certain ways you can deal with the KIAs.

1. Never take it personally:

The KIAs just want to win the battle of words by hook or by crook. They never mean to harm you. Don’t take it personally.

2. Add a pinch of humor:

Humor always helps ease the pressure while dealing with a KIA. If they say something totally outrageous, you can always just laugh at the absurdity of it and carry on. You can simply say ‘Okay’, ‘Got it’ and move on.

3. Ask questions:

You always have the option of asking questions. But don’t ask questions to challenge them.

Ask them for reasons, clarification, explanation, data in the form of specific and detailed questions in case you don’t understand something they are saying. This will help you slow them down and make them realize that they don’t have all the answers.

4. Lead by example:

  • Be a good listener

  • Respect them

  • Thank them for their advice

  • Don’t intervene

  • Deliberately admit if you don’t have the answers to all the questions

  • Keep reminding them to showcase the same kind of behavior

This might make them realize the social norms. This may not bring an overnight change in their behavior but could definitely be the first step towards change.

“Instruction is good for a child; but example is worth more.”

5. Give them constructive feedback:

Being straightforward and telling them they are wrong might encourage them further, no matter if they have a clue of what they are talking about or not. Giving them constructive feedback is a better option.

  • Appreciate their strengths

  • Ask them to let others speak

  • Set clear boundaries

  • Let them know if you don’t like any inappropriate negative comments

6. Let it go:

Sometimes the best option is to just let it go. If the KIAs can’t get a rise out of you, they get bored and move on to someone who offers them a little more spice in a conversation. Stay calm, walk away if you must and then just let the conversation go.

“Life is too short to waste your time on people who don’t respect, appreciate, and value you.”

Now that we know who KIAs are and how to deal with them; what becomes even more important is not to be one of them.

How to avoid being a KIA yourself?

Being a KIA definitely affects your relationships both personal and professional. No one likes being around a KIA. Hence, consider the following points to be a better friend, spouse, parent, colleague or a leader and not a KIA.

1. Listen:

Don’t listen to respond. Never plan comebacks while listening. Listen to understand. Listening might give you more information.

By writing others’ ideas off, just because you think you’re always right, you’ll miss out on a lot of potential lessons. Others may not change your mind, but by listening carefully, you’ll at least gain an understanding of their point of view.

2. Check your body language:

KIAs tend to have a smug look on their face and have their hands crossed. This shows negativity. Show others you are listening. Be an active listener.

3. Ask questions to understand, not to challenge:

Be curious and ask polite questions to understand the others’ point of view; not to challenge them. Questioning forms new patterns in the brain. The more patterns it forms, the more flexible it becomes.

With flexibility, it can access more information already stored in your brain instead of reverting to the old patterns. A flexible brain makes you open. You begin to understand and respect different perspectives.

"Part of being successful is about asking questions and listening to the answers."

4. Be open to learning:

If you are the one who talks all the time, you will never give yourself the opportunity to learn from others. No matter how knowledgeable you are, you can’t think of everything on your own. When you stop learning, you stop growing.

5. Respect:

Nobody likes to interact with someone who always keeps:

  • correcting

  • ignoring

  • arguing

  • belittling others

Show respect. Appreciate what others say.

“Someone once told me that if you respect a person, listen to their opinion. And if you do not respect someone, then do not listen to their opinion. And that works both ways.”

6. Don't think you are right all the time:

When you are always doing the same thing over and over again, you start feeling that you are doing everything right. “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” mentality, destroys your potential to innovate and improve, which hampers your personal and professional development, and your productivity.

“No one but a fool is always right”.

7. Be ready to change:

You learn important lessons, especially from changes that you didn't think would lead you to where you wanted to be. Every change that occurs in your life is an invitation to have a new experience or take advantage of a new opportunity.

"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."

I am sure you must have realized how KIAs could make others' lives around them miserable. Help those who have unconsciously become KIAs and make sure you don't become one of them.



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