Test: Are you a know-it-all?

Feb 15, 2022

4 mins

Test: Are you a know-it-all?
Thomas Decamps

Photographe chez Welcome to the Jungle

Elise Assibat

Journaliste - Welcome to the Jungle

The modern world is full of specialists with varying levels of expertise in all kinds of areas from paleontology to cryptocurrency, quantum physics and micronutrition. Even more specialists have emerged during the pandemic, but we’re not talking about epidemiologists. No, we’re referring to those who don’t actually know what they’re talking about even though they just love telling others how they are right. You can spot them a mile away thanks to their tendency to jump into every conversation with a strong opinion on every little thing.

Narcissism alone cannot explain this behavior, which annoys a lot of people. According to the work of psychologist Cendrine Charpy-Guittat, this desire for attention actually covers up a deep lack of self-confidence and therefore a human need for recognition. Have you ever found yourself not wanting to give up during a heated discussion? Or even refusing to admit that you were wrong? Could you possibly be part of this unpopular group? Take this test to find out!

Someone in the office is on the phone to a client:

  • A. You can’t help it, you correct their tiniest mistake, even if it means interrupting them in the middle of their conversation

  • B. You play out the discussion in your head

  • C. You don’t pay any attention to their conversation

An argument breaks out in the office between several colleagues:

  • A. Even though no one has asked you, you feel compelled to intervene

  • B. You wait for the discussion to subside and then discreetly give your opinion to one of the people involved

  • C. You don’t like conflict, you prefer to keep your distance

At lunchtime, your colleague gets into a discussion about animal welfare:

  • A. It doesn’t affect you that much, but you jump at the opportunity to have people agree with your opinion

  • B. You give your view, but you don’t want to hear any other arguments because you are not likely to change your mind anyway

  • C. You prefer not to speak. You already know that your opinion will not be heard

And if someone disagrees with you:

  • A. You persevere until they give in

  • B. You give up after giving your best arguments

  • C. It’s better to change the subject – to each their own opinion

Describe how catching up with a friend after summer vacation would go:

  • A. Your friend can’t get a word in

  • B. You are eager to know more about their vacation after telling your friend about yours

  • C. You can’t get a word in

A colleague who suffered from burnout has returned to work:

  • A. You just happen to know a lot about the subject

  • B. You saw the warning signs but didn’t think it was that serious

  • C. You don’t dare talk about it, the subject is too serious

You’re giving a presentation. During the meeting:

  • A. You have over-complicated the topic

  • B. You have added your own touch

  • C. You did what was asked of you, to a tee

One of your colleagues came up with a very good idea:

  • A. You take credit for it. After all, you thought of it too

  • B. You congratulate them while contemplating why you didn’t come up with something like that

  • C. You congratulate them - you’re not surprised by your colleague’s creativity!

A political debate is taking place at the coffee machine, but you’ve never heard of the law they’re discussing:

  • A. You improvise a rant on a vaguely related topic

  • B. You subtly ask questions so you can give your opinion later

  • C. You listen carefully to the exchange, you would like to be able to debate this easily too

The project you were responsible for is behind schedule and your boss points it out to you:

  • A. The software, your colleagues, and the weather are to blame

  • B. You acknowledge and justify your mistakes

  • C. You take full responsibility for your actions


You answered mostly A’s: you are a true know-it-all

  • Analysis: In your world, there is nothing wrong with having the last word if you are right. Your point of view is very important to you and it doesn’t matter if the subject is environmental policy or what goes into the sandwich sold in the bakery next door, you are right every time. As for the simple idea that you might be wrong sometimes, it’s not even worth thinking about in your view.

  • Tips: First of all, be assured of one important point: people won’t look down on you if you don’t always have the last word. So rather than trying to impose your opinion in an effort to boost your self-confidence, start by learning to listen more, to observe those around you, and to keep your mouth shut when you need to. You can definitely work on yourself to change or improve your character traits. And if a particularly heated exchange flares up and you’re tempted to intervene, take a step back and acknowledge the possibility that you may not have the answer. This will allow you to gradually question yourself. Because who wants to spend the rest of their life worrying about how others see them?

You answered mostly B’s: you occasionally like to show off

  • Analysis: Sure, you may take center stage when a topic grabs your attention, but you’re not a know-it-all. Your emotional intelligence lets you know when it’s appropriate to give your opinion, but also when it’s better to keep it to yourself.

  • Tips: Having self-esteem is important, but be careful not to have too much of it either. Keep doing what you’re doing so you don’t end up on the dark side, because your goal is going to be to maintain that balance. To do this, repeat this test from time to time to make sure that the number of A answers does not increase. And if some know-it-alls get in your way, try to make light of the situation. Humor can be a good tool for defusing an unpleasant situation without hurting anyone.

You answered mostly C’s: you are the ideal prey for the know-it-all

  • Analysis: One thing is for sure, you are more comfortable when it comes to listening. You naturally tend to take a back seat when it comes to asserting your point of view, sometimes because you lack knowledge on the subject in question, or simply because you don’t like to cause trouble. This attitude is very humbling, but you don’t let it hold you back!

  • Tips: If you are faced with a particularly tough know-it-all, let them talk because even with the best argument in the world, you won’t be able to change their mind. So rather than trying to change them, focus on yourself and trust yourself more! Don’t hesitate to assert yourself and give your opinion, especially when a subject is close to your heart.

NB: Although this test is not scientific, it was drawn up based on information gathered by Cendrine Charpy-Guittat, an occupational psychologist specializing in personality and behavior analysis.

Translated by Kim Cunningham

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