Robert Arrowsmith: It’s OK not to know everything

Robert Arrowsmith

Robert Arrowsmith

By Robert Arrowsmith


CMI Publisher

Two people are having a conversation. Person A makes a point on something he has experienced personally. Person B responds to the Person A comment by saying it is not true. Person B does not know why it is not true, but just knows that what Person A is saying is false. Person A then goes on to explain why his experience occurred, or why his point is true. Person B then responds wanting to know why Person A had to make such a big deal to prove the point.

How often does this happen to you? Does it happen with your friends or peers? Have you come across it with family members? How about with a supervisor or manager? If you are Person A, how does it make you feel? You are having a conversation with someone, only for that person to tell you they do not know why, but they know you are wrong. Is it an insult to you? Does it offend you if it happens often enough? If you have experienced it previously, how frustrating is it for you? If it happens enough, do you just give up, and agree just to end the conversation?

More than likely, Person B is positioning herself to show that she has the upper hand with Person A, and even more likely positioning herself to be superior overall. While Person B may not realize it, the reality is she probably knows exactly what she is doing. If Person A has to provide proof often, credibility comes into question, especially with Person B. End result? In today’s age of perception first and initial impression, to others Person A is not credible because he has to prove himself constantly. So guess what, Person A? Even if you were right, because you have to prove yourself, there is that shadow of doubt in regard to your credibility.

And why is this? Take a deeper look.

Person B knows Person A is not being truthful, yet does not know the reason for this. The reason for this is simple. Person B does not understand what Person A is saying, and instead of trying to better understand what is being said, covers up for ignorance on the issue by just saying Person A is wrong. And once Person A proves the validity of the statement, or explains his experience in greater depth so that Person B finally understands what is being said, Person B will then downplay the statement in order to not look foolish, or ignorant. After all, it is about posturing, and maintaining the upper hand in every possible situation in this day and age.

Further reality is that Person B is probably not confident in her ability to understand what is being said or done. And rather than feeling like she is going to look bad, she will turn the perception around to make it look like Person A does not know what he is talking about; especially if the proof in the conversation has to happen repeatedly. And in the end, if it is repeated enough, Person A just does not appear credible even though the reality might end up being that Person B just does not get it.

And so welcome to one of the tricks of the world we live in. It is all about looking good in someone’s eyes, and making sure of being positioned properly at all times. Believe it or not, it really is acceptable to not know everything, and that someone else may have something of value to add to the conversation. The sad part is, that is not what it is about anymore. It is all about always positioning all the time, while looking good doing it, and no longer about respect.

Robert Arrowsmith is publisher of Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:

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