Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Glory of "I Don't Know"

Maybe it's just me - but somewhere, sometime, at some point during my life here in these United States, we seem to have become convinced that everybody ought to know everything. No one ever seems to want to admit that they don't know the answer to a question anymore. When people don't know the answer these days, they either:

- Change the subject by pretending you asked a question they DO know the answer to - and answering that question, or

- Tell you that the question you asked isn't relevant - and that what you really want to know is something they would love to tell you instead, or

- They pretend to know the answer but never really answer your question, or

- They lie and make up an answer

While each of these responses indicates a unique talent for subterfuge, none are very helpful or efficient or honest. But it seems that use of the words "I don't know" is now an unforgivable sin - and we are all doom to the Hell of Half-Truths.

When was the last time you heard or participated in a conversation where one party ended a statement with the phrase " know what I mean?" and anyone else involved had the guts to admit "No - I don't have any idea what you're talking about."

And then, just when I was convinced that only the few & the brave would admit to "not knowing", I had a conference call with a software vendor who willing to acknowledge on more than one occasion that she couldn't answer one of our question regarding her product (but would find out). At one point, she even said that she didn't want to try and sell us the software by "over-promising".

Wait a minute! Was that a breath of fresh air I felt coming into my office?

Take care.


MarkD60 said...

I've heard it said: "If you can't dazzle them with intelligence, baffle them with bullsh*t!"

I have found the best answer when I don't know is "I'll find out"

You can replace 'I don't know' with 'I'll find out' 100% of the time!

Captain Dumbass said...

I have no problems admitting to my ignorance.

Pamela said...

I have found it's sometimes easier to not know, so I proclaim it proudly.

Also, I have a child with a perfectionist bent, so "I don't know" is something we say quite a lot...hopefully she'll catch on that it's okay to not know.

Berowne said...

But is it possible to be a successful politician today if you answer "I don't know" to important questions?