Social Musings

The dreaded “I told you so!”

I told you soSo I am taking the garbage out the night before the pick up. I want to sleep in a little later and thought it would be a prudent idea.  Lo and behold, a raccoon had a 5 course meal consisting of scrap meat left on a chicken bone, crumbs left in the bobka cake box attached to the accordion paper filler, milk drenched Frosted Flakes, a mixture of arugula and corn on the cob, and cigar ash. Delicious!

Immediately seeing the trash strewn all over the driveway, I got the proverbial “I told you so!” Ok, you did tell me not to do it and what the repercussions would be if the raccoon attacked the trash, but at the time of the decision, it seemed like the benefits outweighed the risks.  What I can absolutely tell everyone is that I would never have been told, “Scott, I see the trash was picked up this morning and you were able to sleep later.  I was dead wrong.”  Never ever would I hear THAT Monday morning quarterbacking.  It’s always after the fact of any warning that I get the “I told you so.”

Just think how many times we recommend something to our family and friends.  It must be at least a hundred times a day.  It doesn’t need a drum roll preceding the warning.  It does not require you to sit down and put the smartphone away for 30 seconds (that is the most someone can take their hands off that addictive gadget) to listen to the wisdom that will flow out of someone’s mouth.

It could simply be so subtle that you would never even notice the recommendation, suggestion or warning. Here…let’s try this scenario:

Amy speaking while preparing dinner for the kids: “So honey, how did that business deal work out today?

The shumuck (ahem…husband) Larry:  It’s almost finished.  

Amy: That’s good!  Wear your nice blue striped suit tomorrow, it hides your belly and you look sharp in it.

The next day:

Amy:  Hi Hun.  You look a little down.  I assume the deal did not go through?

Larry (wearing a brown suit): Nope, and worse, I have no idea why?

Amy: Didn’t I tell you to wear that sharp blue suit that looks so good on you?

Larry: Yes!  So what?  What are you getting at?

Amy: I told you that you should have worn the blue suit that hides your belly.

Larry:  Are you telling me that the reason I lost that deal was because of the suit I wore?

Amy:  It could be.  How do you know.  I told you so!

Larry: (with the look of death bestowed on his wife): Leave me alone!

The ‘I told you so’ is such a cheap second guess. It is the low hanging fruit on the branches of helpfulness. In one way, the person is portraying to be helpful.  On the other hand, what they are actually doing is trying to be a know it all after the fact.  Do these people realize that no one wants to hear the constant “I told you so?”  Do you really want to be scolded that they knew better than you?  All you are looking for is understanding, not a contest of wisdom.

The next time you hear the I told you so, just reply “Indeed you did…I told you so!”  That will screw up their mind!

Categories: Social Musings

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