Every clique of friends has an ITK in the group—The one who completes your sentences, interrupts you, corrects your grammar and even insists on solving your problems (when you are not even sure there is one). I am sure you can resonate.
In our social circles—schools, work place and community, having ready answers and displaying sound knowledge in even random fields is quite impressive and it usually attracts praise and admiration. However, many times we have people with this trait over doing it. The habit of over-doing is what is termed as I-Too-Know (ITK). In this our part of the universe, we call it “over-sabi.” I-Too-Know people can be really good friends but if you want to have any peace amongst your clique of friends, you must know how to put them in their place.
See, some I-Too-Know kind of friends like to exert fact based dominance even to the extent of claiming expertise about things they really do not know. Let me give an example of how this behavior pattern manifests in an ITK. This is a conversation between me and my cousin, a special ITK breed.
Me: I have this colleague, Jallo, he is so annoying! Sometimes—
Ruky: I know. Sometimes he runs his mouth so much you want to shut it with a slap, right.
Me: (With a withering look) But… you have never met Jallo.
Ruky: Honey, I do not have to meet him. I know a lot about Hausa guys.
Me: Jallo is Fulani.
Ruky: I knew it. No difference, my dear.
As my Wafi people will say; I just tire for Ruky matter.
The truth is, ITKs have high IQs, ironically, they have such low EQs (level of emotional intelligence) that they think people admire them for using lines like “it’s common knowledge that…” or ‘ideally..” or “ you never know what’s going to happen.” Many of them believe that dominating the circle they are in is the best way to be recognized and admired.
These people are detailed and the funny thing is they do not sit around memorizing textbooks. Instead they correct other people’s version of events, often missing the point of a conversation in their obsessive focus on minor details. ITKs survive conversations with frequent interruptions. Most of their friends simply talk over them, as I have learned to do. Sometimes it’s best to have a choke chain when dealing with an oversabi friend. Without even realizing it, some of them are always trying to fix you.
They insist on solving your problems. There are times you just want to whine about a thought but an ITK will see it as a problem and they always have a ready recommendation. For example; you are here thinking about life and how all is vanity. How a person’s wealth and everything he has worked for will be here when he’s gone. This made you sober a bit and you just want to whine about it a little. Your ITK friend does not want to hear any of it. She just concludes your life is miserable and offers you a book—“6 Steps to Living a Happy Life”. You start to wonder if it is just what you said that made her recommend the book.
If you do not know this, know now that courtesy might not work when trying to put an ITK in his or her place. If you plan to have a conversation with one, you should carry a can of pepper spray. Just spray one shot in their face and watch them wince at first, then calm down. Okay, I’m kidding.
In all of these, there are cases where the behavior of an ITK comes in handy, like when you need to explain a symbol or a code or when you are asked the capital of Argentina, your ITK friend is your best bet.
The best way to not always be angry at an ITK friend is knowing that he or she is really just trying to be of service.
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