You May “Know” It—but I Wouldn’t Say It

Over the years, I’ve written about words and phrases that do not improve the situation. 

(“Calm down” and “I told you so,” are top contenders.)

Here’s another:

“I know you…”

(And, its fancier cousin, “I know you better than you know yourself.”)

Now, it’s possible some of you read the above and thought, “Yep, I get it.” 

If so, congratulations! 

Over the years, you’ve likely saved yourself a word of hurt. 

If, on the other hand, you read it and thought,

“I don’t see why that’s so bad… after all, I do know them…” 

Read on.

For me, “I know you,” always arrives with its fancier cousin (“better than you know yourself”) in tow, even if it’s not explicitly stated. 

How this lands is,

 You lack self-awareness/impulse control whereas I am all knowing.” 

And I think we can agree that that sentiment is not going to win friends or influence people. 

So the next time you find yourself burning to say, “Oh, I know you….!” consider whether you would swap in, “You lack self awareness.” Or, “You lack impulse control.”

And if you agree that neither of those comments is going to improve the situation, why not demonstrate the impulse control you ‘know’ they lack?

—and say nothing.


For more phrases that can (and cannot) improve a situation, take a look at, “Do You Understand? Vs. Am I Making Sense?” or “I Said Explain, You Heard Defend—Now What?”