People tend to see those words as a sign of weakness, so they prefer not say them. You don’t want to admit that at that moment, you are just as lost as the person seeking help; you feel powerless. It seems easier to provide false knowledge and lie than to accept human vulnerability. It’s a fact that at one time or another we just don’t know.
People are unaware saying “I don’t know” can also be liberating. It shows the seeker they are not alone, and it’s all right not to have all the answers. It also gives the seeker a choice to keep going, ask someone else, or stop altogether. There is power in choice. On the other hand, false knowledge deters one from their path, robs them of options, and wastes time and energy.
Faking knowledge saves face to others, at the cost of facing your shortcomings. In other words, you trade embarrassment for guilt. The embarrassment would’ve faded in seconds while guilt, on the other hand, is compounded. There is freedom in acknowledging that you are human, and your knowledge has limitations. At the very least you’ll save the inquirer time, which is a precious resource.
“I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said I didn’t know.” ~Mark Twain
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