How to pretend to know everything while knowing nothing without getting busted


Conversation (Photo credit: Peter Nijenhuis)

Every once in a while, we get ourselves into these juicy conversations where the people we are conversing with seem to know everything that we don’t no about.  We feel dumb by comparison.  Then before we can simmer in our juices of self pity, we hear, “Do you know blah blah blah…?”  Well gosh darn it! We don’t know crap about blah blah blah.  We don’t even know one blah, but to admit this would be like farting loudly in an crowded elevator.  So we stammer and stutter our way through a plausible answer, meant to be in the affirmative.  We are not fooling anyone.   Now you, my friend, are on your own as I no longer get into ‘these conversations’ for you see, I’ve mastered the art of  pretending to know everything.

I am one who pride myself on being smarter than the average dude or dudette.  I can’t stand not knowing anything.  I need to know it all.  To make up for my shortcomings and give myself a voice in brainy conversations, I developed and practice a way where I can mingle and rub elbows with the geeks and nerds without being detected for a fraud or impostor.  I know you are sitting on the edge of your well-worn chair waiting for the recipe for this cutting-edge invention.  Well here are a few real-life scenarios to point you in the right direction.

Scenario one:  My Car is making funny noises.  I have no clue what it could be as my expertise in this area is limited. Very limited.  BUT, I’ve been in conversations where the topic was engines and cars so I still remember the names of some engine parts.  Maybe I don’t know what they mean but I can pronounce them with an air of knowledge.  I take the car to a reputable garage, go up to the garage man or engineer or whatever they call themselves and go, “Good Morning, on my way to work this morning, I noticed a funny sound coming from my tranny.  (Not that kind of tranny) It sounds like I might have a loose timing belt or an alternator issue.”  That’s it. I am done.  I have no clue what the heck I just said and the garage guy doesn’t either.  If he’s reputable, he shouldn’t.  But, I sounded like I knew something about cars and I am also respectably dressed so he thinks twice about fleecing me.  He probably goes in and tells his buddy, “This guy knows his stuff so be careful.  Use genuine Nissan parts.”

Scenario two: Here’s one you could possibly relate to.  I am in a conversation with my ultra smart friends. What am I doing hanging out with these nerds anyways? The topic is movies and I am not good with knowing movie stars or remembering movies for that matter.  They are talking about a particular star, say Ben Affleck.  I know shit about him BUT, I know that he dated Jennifer, which Jennifer? I don’t know.  I want to keep up with the conversation, so I added my two cents and believe me, that’s all it’s really valued at.  “Oh that Ben, I remember his Bennifer thing he had going there.  Ben.  He was sure something else eh? (I am Canadian so the ‘eh’ comes into play).  Great actor too.”  He’s not the Ben in Fantastic Four, is he?  I am sure  he was in some sort of a war movie too but at the moment can’t remember (Pearl Harbor).  “That war movie he did was sick!”  By now my nerdy friends are seeing me as almost an equal, so I shut up and say no more.  “Yeah!” They agreed,  “Pearl Harbor was da bomb!”

Scenario three: Doctor’s appointment.  This is a favorite as there are too many sad doctors out there who are in it just for the money.  They race you through their office with a misdiagnosis as fast as they can.  To counter this, I Google my symptoms then armed with a bit of info, I walk into my doctor’s office with, “I am having weird pains right  here, (point in  the right area or don’t point), do you think it’s pancreatic in nature?”  Now what I have done now is forced my doctor to actually look at me.  I could be far off in my self-diagnosis but who cares? Now he has to verify or eliminate what I just told him.

When he’s done, I don’t just sit and listen, I ask questions. You have to keep him on his toes here. Treatment, prognosis, side effects, these are some of the questions I throw out. Next visit, he’ll remember me as the guy who knows something about medicine.  Even though I don’t. Think poker.

Warning:  It is imperative that what you tell the doctor is at least closely related to your how you are feeling.  Do not use terms that are not applicable.  Once, I meant to tell a nurse that I was a hypochondriac but instead told her that i was a schizophrenic.  Imagine my embarrassment when I later realized what I had said.

There are more scenarios like the ones listed here. Work related, spouse related, there’s one for every situation.  You can be a virtual know-it-all without even knowing it.

You are thinking, “This is old news.  My boss already use this tactic.”  Well the fact that you know your boss uses it means he is BUSTED.  It’s all about execution baby.