Do you feel it's condescending when you have some knowledge or insight and someone asks "How did you know that?"?

They are maybe impressed but also shocked. I find this insults my intelligence.


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Most Helpful Guy

  • I don't. O studied engineering and all we did was solve problems. The range of problems and techniques for the discipline is vast. I often recognize unique ways to solve something or gain an insight nobody else sees. I've met very few people who seem to have that and it isn't always clear how I come by my understanding.

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Most Helpful Girl

  • Not always. I think it's sometimes sincere since I know obscure details about so many odd things.

    But it can be insulting too.

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What Guys Said 15

  • Well to me if you react in that way to someone being amazed by your insight (even if its not particularly novel or enlightening) it tells me one of two things:
    1 - You genuinely feel superior to them. You feel the knowledge they are amazed at is a given and believe people that don't possess it to be less intelligent than you are. So you're quite the cocky bastard.
    or
    2 - You're pretty paranoid. So much so that you feel their amazement is a commentary on your lack of intelligence rather than a reflection of their lack of knowledge on whatever subject you broached.

    I would feel its condescending if they were to act amazed sarcastically. Because that is them telling you that insight is a given and you're saying something banal and unworthy of notice.

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    • I hope neither of those describe me. Maybe it's the tone? Sounds like they're talking to me like I'm a child when I'm muddle aged lol.

    • Well I can totally see that being a condescending thing to do. Like I said in the last sentence, if the amazement isn't genuine it can be quite rude.
      The tone and the way its said conveys virtually all the meaning associated to it, so I just laid out all the eventualities I could think of.
      If their tons hints at sarcasm its equivalent to saying "oh wow look at youuuu, you finally figured that one out huh" which is quite rude and arrogant on their part haha
      Or the tone can also make it mean "Wow you actually figured that out, I didn't think you were THIS smart". But again thats fake amazement, they're not amazed at the insight, they actually feel its basic, but they're amazed that YOU could know this, which is indeed insulting your intelligence.

      All comes down to how its said, for sure. I can't tell. But for my part, I'd try (try) to always assume the best :D

  • I'd say it depends on the tone in which they said it.. Like it if was somethin that seemed like a challenge to figure out then I wouldn't fin that condescendin.. But they are directin it at me specifically.. Then... Hell yeah..

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  • Not in the least. I've been asked that question by a number of women actually. "How did you know that?", "It's simple really, you're not the only woman I've ever met in my life and unlike some I actually pay attention.", end of discussion about how I knew that with no injured feels.

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  • Well depends on the issue. If it's a current political topic or something then it's pretty insulting that they're surprised about you knowing that. Like do they think I don't read the news?

    But if you like pull out some crazy theoretical physics shit out of nowhere then I don't really find it insulting that people would be surprised.

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    • Lol. Good point! I guess I find it annoying because of my age. I think I should have learned maybe a few things by now?

    • Lol. To young people us older folk are idiots! We don't know anything.

    • You're correct lol but it's usually older people who are impressed and act like I'm some child prodigy at nearly 50.

  • It doesn't insult our intelligence... it insults our ego.

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  • I ask something like that because I'm curious where they learned it. Where we get tidbits of information is kind of fascinating to me.

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  • Just reply "I learnt it. I'm surprised you didn't realise that is the way to gain knowledge! "

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  • It is. And what's worse is I've done that to someone. Sigh. Live and learn.

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  • “condescending”? lol My vocabulary sucks. Could you explain the question?

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  • Depends on the situation and the person in my opinion, if it was just an acquaintance then yeah

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  • It's annoying because then I have to use my Rick and Morty intelligence to help

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  • Not at all.

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  • Not really because then you get to follow it up with read it in a published book

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  • Sometimes it's a genuine question. It really depends on the situation and the inflection of his voice.

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  • You could be insulted, but that doesn't really fix anything. So I choose to bask in their amazement.

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What Girls Said 7

  • I think its more a context thing. If the other person seems to think it should be impossible for "someone like you" to know something like that, then yes, condescending. You can pick up on their voice tone, or the way they look at you when they say it, or as you say, their absolute shock and/or unwillingness to let go of the idea that you could possibly know something so up there.

    But on the flip side, if someone just asks out of curiosity or amazement, rather than shock, I think it's fine for them to ask.

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  • Depends on what it is... if it was something fairly simple or that any moderately intelligent person would know and their tone is one of disbelief and not a kind curiosity then I’d assume their perception of me was that I was a bit dim. I might be a little offended but if I liked them I’d make a joke about being a receptacle of random knowledge, if I didn’t like them I’d probably give a snarky comment.

    However, if it wasn’t an average thing to know and way outside what I would be perceived to know given my occupation and education level I’d probably take it as a compliment

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  • I think its all in your expectation of their reaction. Its almost as if you are expecting them to be flabbergasted by how smart you are and when they don't react how you think they should, you get offended.
    I see that "How do you know that?" as another opportunity to educate someone.

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  • No. It just means they’re curious

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  • I find it more condescending and annoying when I obviously know more about said topic and state facts but people just don't wanna acknowledge it.

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  • Nope.
    For me that question doesn't mean 'how did YOU know that', but more like 'how did you know THAT'.

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  • God yes. The worst. Almost like it's impossible for you to be knowledgable!

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