Tag Archive | how-to

Tips for Being a Better Know-it-all

I’m a know-it-all.

Did you know that?

You probably did. But I thought I’d tell you again anyway, because

I’m a know-it-all.

Know-it-alls like to inform people of things. I am informing you of this as we speak.

(I always feel a little odd typing “as we speak.” We’re not speaking. I’m typing and you’re reading. Could I say “as we type”? But only I am typing. You’re not typing. You’re reading. If you have a good solution for me, you’ll let the know-it-all know, won’t you?)

As long as I’m in a worldly-wise, know-it-all-y mood, let me tell you worldly-wise, know-it-all-y things about what know-it-alls should know about being know-it-alls.

I’m getting really tired of typing that word.

Sofia’s Know-It-All-y Tips for Being a Better Know-It-All

1. This is the most important one, and pretty much forms the basis for the rest of them: let people save face. If there’s one thing everybody hates, it’s being embarrassed. Shame hurts. If you’re going to say something know-it-all-y, make sure that it won’t embarrass the person you’re speaking to. That’s what’s bad about being a know-it-all. There’s nothing wrong with being knowledgeable; it’s when you make others feel stupid that it becomes a problem.

2. To that end, don’t tell somebody that they’re wrong, just because they’re wrong. Do you want to make them feel foolish? Only tell somebody that they are wrong if it will help in some way.

Wrong time to tell someone that they’re wrong:

Person 1: My grandfather is a Civil War veteran.

Know-it-all: That is incorrect. The Civil War was fought in the 1860s, well over 100 years ago, and all Civil War veterans are now deceased. Your grandfather is more likely a Korean or Vietnam War veteran.

Outcome: Person 1 now feels stupid and it’s the Know-it-all’s fault. Nothing has been achieved by this.

Right time to tell someone that they’re wrong:

Person 1: I am glad that they have oatmeal cookies here, which are made of oats, because I’ll die if I consume wheat flour, but I can eat these.

Know-it-all: Are you sure they have no wheat flour? Let’s look at the ingredients list, just to make sure.

Outcome: Person 1’s life has been saved.

3. When at all possible, let people discover things for themselves. It makes them feel smarter than if you just told them. As in the example above, Know-it-all could have said, “No, that is incorrect. Oatmeal cookies contain wheat flour.” He would have just invalidated the statement of Person 1, making Person 1 feel stupid. However, by appearing unsure himself, Know-it-all allows Person 1 to figure it out for himself.

4. When issuing blame, try to use “we” instead of “you.” When we’re to blame, it doesn’t feel quite so bad as when you’re to blame. The blameable person can probably figure out for himself that he’s to blame, and if so, he might even admit it. It’s easier to admit blame if nobody is accusing you specifically. When someone accuses you specifically, it’s second-nature to defend yourself, even if you know, in your heart of hearts, that it might really be your fault.


Randy: You forgot the mayonnaise. Our picnic is ruined forever. How could you?

Mandy: I did not! You should have been in charge of that. I was busy with other condiments.

Outcome: Randy and Mandy are upset and the picnic is ruined forever.


Sandy: Oh dear; it looks like we forgot the mayonnaise. What should we do?

Brandy: Oh, sorry; I should have checked. I will set out in search of mayonnaise.

Outcome: Sandy gets to lie on a blanket in the sun while Brandy sojourns in quest of mayonnaise. The picnic is delayed but by no means cancelled. Nobody is upset.

I hope you have enjoyed Sofia’s Know-It-All-y Tips for Being a Better Know-It-All. I have to go and study for finals now. Goodbye until next time.


I’m back!

Is anybody still listening?

What, just because I stop writing for a month or two, you don’t check it every day anymore?

What? You never checked it every day anyway?

WhatEVER. Fine. Be that way. I don’t need you.

But since you’re here and haven’t left off reading yet, let me tell you what I do when I procrastinate.

What I Do When I Procrastinate

Sometimes I obsessively clean my room.

Sometimes I do weird little school things that really don’t need to be done. Like cleaning out my almost-empty binder.

Sometimes I lock myself in the bathroom, put body butter on top of the warm dehumidifier, and watch it melt.

(It’s not actually body butter; it’s coconut fat that I use as body butter. I was given body butter by my grandmother one year. I decided I didn’t like it, so I scooped it out and re-used the jar for coconut fat because I read somewhere or other that coconut fat is good for your skin. That’s just how I roll.)

Tonight, however, I decided to spend four hours of my life I could have used to study microbiology to make a wallet.

It’s monogrammed.


Cross stitch really isn’t my forte. I don’t do it very often (okay, so this is the second time). It’s tedious. I’m afraid I’ll wear my eyes out and have to get glasses. But it does look nice, doesn’t it?

Cross stitch:

a stitch in which pairs of diagonal stitches of the same length cross each other in the middle to form an X .

A. Regular old cross stitch. B. Some weird, fancy kind of cross stitch. Ignore B.


So basically, you use the holes in between the weave and the weft of the fabric to make little crosses. But what if your fabric doesn’t have nice big holes?

Then you do this:

Use a piece of canvas on top of whatever material you want to decorate. Don't worry; the final product won't look like that. We'll get it out at the end. I promise.


Unless you split a thread while you’re working it. That’s not good. Don’t split threads.

Then, work in your design . . .

Incidentally, an old-school cross stitchress (yes, I made that up) would probably be horrified at the way I do it. She’d tear my hair out of my scalp, thread her needle with it, and use it to show my how it’s done properly.

Fortunately for me, I don’t believe any old-school cross stitchresses read this blog.

The back. Note the extreme messiness. "The back should be just as beautiful as the front." That's what the old school says.

You know what, though? Cut me some slack! I had to learn how to do all these old-fashioned girly things all by my lonesome self. Just me and Back to Basics. Oh, Back to Basics. How I loved that book. It was my all-time favorite book as a child. I’d have my father read it to me as bedtime story. Back to Basics has instructions on how to do everything the old-fashioned way. I highly recommend it.

Back to Basics doesn’t have cross stitching, though. They probably thought it wasn’t utilitarian enough.

Anyhow, when you’re done with your pattern, you have to get rid of the canvas. How do you do that?

Very carefully.


What you want to do is pull the canvas apart, unraveling thread by thread until it’s history. I’m not going to lie. I used my teeth. I know, I know; “teeth are jewels, not tools.”

But it worked.

Ta da!


I hope you appreciate this, DB.