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People You Don't Want To Be: The 10 Second Expert

Michael Cornish By Michael Cornish on
Badge: Author | Level: 2 | Other Culture & Society Expertise:

We all know people who get on our nerves. They come and all shapes and sizes, but we can all recognize them. The question is, are you one of them? Maybe your natural manner bugs someone. You may just be on the list of People You Don't Want to Be.

Let's say your playing a game with some friends. It's one of your favorite games, but your friend, let's call him Billy, has never played. You teach Billy the basics of the game and give him some tips to help him along. The game is moving along nicely until, suddenly, Billy taps you on the shoulder and says loud enough for everyone to hear, "Don't forget to take a card." Wait, didn't you just tell Billy never to forget to take a card just a few minutes ago? What is he doing telling you how to play your favorite game? Clearly, Billy is what I call a 10-Second Expert.

You may know this Person You Don't Want to Be (PYDWB) by a different name: a Know-it-all. The difference here is that 10-Second Experts have just obtained the knowledge that they spew, whereas Know-it-alls will spew knowledge obtained over a long period of time. In both cases, however, people tend to get annoyed by their presence. Excessive displays of knowledge are not flattering on anyone. This is especially in the case of the 10-Second Expert, who slaps the faces of knowledgeable people with their falsely obtained information.

The 10-Second Expert if so named because he or she acts as if they are experts on topics they've only just begun learning about. This includes information obtained from text sources such as books and signs. The fact that you read a museum plaque or novel before someone else does not mean you are more intelligent than them. It simply means you read faster. Therefore, it is best not to lecture them on what you've just read. Let them scan it theirselves, or give them the short version if they request it. Trust me, people will not think you are dumb because you don't mindlessly belch facts. The will think you're a PYDWB if you do.

In short, be humble. If your friends don't know that your smart without your having to thrust the fact in their faces, then I am sorry to inform you that you're probably not that smart. Either that, or your friends aren't that smart.