Wrongly Accused


So much for micro-blogging. When I go on a multi-tweet spiel I might as well write it up in real paragraphs here – there’s a time and a place for yadda yadda yadda a-wop bop a doo-wop boo-wop bam boom.

I should really do both, though, because Twitter helps me clear out my thoughts better by making me separate them into points first. And I’m usually funnier there.

But – ONTO THE POINT! A lot of people for some reason think I’m smart, but I often do not. I went through a train of thought on that route over four tweets today:

  • The problem with people thinking you’re smart is when you’re wrong their expectations are shattered and they will never respect you again.
  • …except that never happens; people will either not notice or enjoy the chance to show they also know things, and still respect you.
  • And yet we all think it’s going to go the first way. Well, I guess both ways are part of everyone being self-centred and wanting to impress.
  • Basically, thanks for liking me even though I’m often wrong, because I stopped liking myself since my first self-aware mistake.

I’m wrong a lot – foolishly wrong, speak-too-soon wrong, not noticing obvious things. When I’m in control of my mouth and keep quiet for long enough, I don’t break silence with questions, because I’d be too ashamed, and instead I wait and observe enough to piece things together myself. When people say I’m smart – and a surprising number do – I think back to foolishly speaking too soon and moments where I revealed I didn’t understand something incredibly simple and commonly known, and wonder what the fuck they’re talking about. My skills to multiply any two two-digit numbers in my head fairly quickly with explanations of how I did so in relation to other numbers is not “smart” or “intelligent”, and I’m not as well read in popular areas of public discourse as other people are. I stick to useless knowledge that makes me sparsely relatable. It’s quite common in conversations that I get things naively wrong. I can’t exactly blame that on being young anymore. I just don’t read enough best sellers or watch enough documentaries on contemporary topics.

When I know things others don’t, I react as described in the second tweet. Unless I perceive the other person(s) in the given dialogue as “opponents” (which I rarely do, because why turn this into a conflict?) I will gain nothing from labeling someone “wrong”. I will either gain respect and admiration for all the crap that I do know by adding greater depth to the discourse, or I will be seen as a strange and alienating person with no social skills (in which case I probably wouldn’t want to carry the conversation on anyway).

Here’s the healthy perspective on things like this: if you’re wrong or uninformed and somebody else is right or informed, it’s a win-win situation if you use it to learn. If you can’t learn because the informed person won’t tell you what he or she knows, then he or she is a dick and you should stop talking to him or her as soon as you or you (wait, second person pronouns aren’t gendered) can.

Briefly put, don’t let being wrong stop you from being smart.


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