photo: Scott Ehardt via Wikimedia Commons
I say to my family, "I know stuff", because I do...granted it's usually how to fix techy things, cooking related or random facts of pop culture (thanks Cliff Claven). They often still don't want to listen, but I'm quick to say, "see, I know stuff" when the answer they get is what I said in the first place. It seems to have a little less "know-it-allness" than an "I told you so" (or so I tell myself).
I used to pretend to know stuff. When people talked about subjects I didn't understand, or used words I didn't know, I'd just go along. I wouldn't try to contribute (I'm not a dummy!), but I'd listen, smile, etc. I wasn't trying to be superior, but I didn't want to appear stupid.
I never liked school. I was actually pretty good at it, but when it was time for college, I went one year, only because I was told I had to. I took a semester off and then when I went back, it was mostly just to prove the people wrong who said I'd never go back once I took time off. I had no direction, no goals, no passions. I loved theater, but there was never anyone who said that was a real "thing" to pursue, so I didn't think it was. If there was a path to take, or guidance counselors available like there are today, I certainly didn't know about them. There was no one to ask me what I wanted to do or guide me on how to do it, and since I didn't like it anyhow, there was no impetus for me to seek anything or anyone out.
I went to trade school, got a Cosmetology license and enjoyed working as a hairdresser for a few years. I was ok. I mean, bring me a photo of what you want and I can do it. But come with no ideas and tell me to do "whatever looks good for my face", I was the wrong person. I worked a year after having my daughter. Business never really picked up for me more than part-time after my maternity leave, and since my husband and I wanted more kids, we made the decision for me to stay home full time with them.
Of course as I got older, I've realized some of the things I missed by not getting a college degree. Basic general education is there for a purpose. To expand your knowledge of the world. Don't misunderstand me, I have NO desire to go back to school. It just doesn't appeal to me. I am so impressed with my adult friends who at 45 or 50 years old finished their degrees. But for myself, that makes me just want to say UGHHH and vomit a little. I don't feel like I'm missing out because I don't have a degree. (I also understand the world has changed, and so, so many jobs, even entry level, require a BA or BS like they used to require a High School diploma. As much as I can, I will help & encourage my kids to finish at least that.)
My whole point though is to just be you. When you go along with something, you miss opportunities to learn. When you admit you don't know something, you take a small risk that a few jerks will use it to belittle you (and there are those people). I've found more often than not though, that most people are happy to explain the basic principle they are talking about, or my favorite, a word they just used. I've learned some of my favorite vocabulary words that way.
Also, when you don't let those belittling jerks get the better of you, they become very apoplectic.