Know way out: Greatest threats to a healthy long-term relationship is a know-it-all

| NISHA JAMVWAL
Published Jun 24, 2015, 3:40 am IST
Updated Mar 28, 2019, 7:05 pm IST
In any relationship, there needs to be a sharing of views rather than condescension
Still from The Big Bang Theory
 Still from The Big Bang Theory

Nothing can be more odious in a relationship than a ‘know-it-all’, can there? Someone who automatically assumes that they must educate the rest of the world about everything, and advise, teach as well as reform everyone on all matters. A mother stands at the entrance of the Kindergarten school with her child digging his/her heels into the ground and refusing to go in. A helpful bystander cajoles the little one to comply, while another instructs the mother on psychological tactics to win the battle. A third goes on to relate his cousin’s aunt’s expert formula for dealing with similar issues.

When I first went to Europe, a “helpful” Indian lady, stationed there by marriage, appointed herself my teacher and took to instructing me about the ways of the West. She was well-meaning and helpful, I would tell myself and put on a smile. At any social gathering, on any issue  philosophical, political or otherwise wise counsel comes from all and sundry. “You don’t know what life is all about?” they will ask you and subsequently offer you learnt insight. I have never quite understood this obsessive urge to give unsolicited advice or detailed guidance. It looks to me like a need to display knowledge or seek attention and importance.

 

This is possibly why people prefer avoiding know-it-alls like the plague. Not to mention that the latter’s relationships seem to always hit roadblocks too. Ever wondered why? To my mind, they are the most detrimental to an equal relationship. Sooner or later, the relationship sours with an overdose of advice. There are also several people who seem to agree that this trait is typical to well-meaning Indians. We seem to have been born with it. Could it be that our teeming population lives in such overwhelming proximity that along with the absence of expansive physical space, we also deprive ourselves of privacy?

 

So many people feel that even their 40-year-old adult offspring cannot do without their experienced advice on every occurrence in their lives. Grown up men and women have to chime, “Yes Papa, you’re right.” Under the veneer, we are all human and there are deep seated reasons behind these know-it-alls offering advice to one and all. Insecurity is one of them, where a person feels inadequate, unattractive and inarticulate in a relationship and compensates with a veneer of would-be intelligence. This sense of self-doubt can lead to the breakdown of a relationship, because in any relationship, there needs to be a sharing of views rather than  condescension and one-upmanship. A sense of energy and connection can only happen if a relationship is about caring and sharing  rather than trying to prove points.

The author is a luxury consultant. Mail her at nishajamvwal@-gmail.com

 

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