General Question

wundayatta's avatar

How do you respond to "I told you so"?

Asked by wundayatta (58525points) April 9th, 2009

Someone warns you that what you’re doing will have a bad consequence, but you ignore them, thinking you know better. Later on, it turns out that their warning was correct, how do you behave towards that person?

A lone voice warns of impending disaster to the planet if we keep on doing this or that, and we call the person crazy and put the person in the insane asylum. Later on the disaster happens exactly as predicted. What would we do with that person if they were still alive? What if they were now dead?

Can you provide any examples of these kinds of things from your own life?

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55 Answers

flameboi's avatar

friend:... I told you so man…
me: I know, I’m a dumbass… I should have listened to you…

sevenfourteen's avatar

I don’t think there’s any real way to accept an “I told you so” except for admitting that yes, they did tell you so. But also this goes along with the “we all have to make our own mistakes” theory.

Just last week I was talking to a friend who joined the army and was deployed to Iraq. Now before he went he couldn’t wait to get over there and everything in his mind would be great once he was there. I tried to explain to him that it’s not something to be excited for and it wouldn’t be all he expected but he wouldn’t listen. Now he’s upset, hates it, and wants to come home. How do I say “I told you so” to someone like that?

MrGV's avatar

stfu b****

KatawaGrey's avatar

Last year, after a nasty bout with this guy that everyone told me was no good, I avoided this one friend of mine. I knew that this guy would say that exact thing “I told you he was no good and that he was no good.” When I met up with this kid for the first time after months, I braced myself but he was just so glad to see me. A while later, we were talking about it and then he said, “I warned you that would happen. I knew he was going to leave you in the dust,” and it was much later so it wasn’t too bad. We kind of just laughed it off and moved on.

Usually, however, I get angry and yell at the person. If I’ve already failed at something, I don’t need anyone telling me they knew I was going to fail.

ubersiren's avatar

“Well, it could’ve gone 2 ways. You had a 50% chance of being right. You got lucky. It doesn’t make you all-knowing.”

sevenfourteen's avatar


“If I’ve already failed at something, I don’t need anyone telling me they knew I was going to fail” << That I can def agree with, like having a second set of parents when your friends do it to you

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I don’t respond to that at all.

“I told you so” is not any sort of meaningful dialogue so when I get that “I told you so” speech, my BS filter activates and I go to my happy place until the person gets the idea that I’m not listening.

ninjacolin's avatar

I think people who say “i told you so” are having a knee jerk moment of pride where they feel happy to be right.. but still regret that their counsel was not trusted. You already offended them when you didn’t listen so now is a really good time to try to amend the relationship rather than making it worse by telling them to “screw off.” I’d say, take a moment to show some appreciation since you obviously failed to appreciate their foresight the first time and validate them as a human being. This helps their sense of self and in turn it makes them like you better. Win-win. Show some humility. It’s good for relationships.

A local business tycoon in the city has some quotes that i love painted on the wall of our university they apply to both parties in this question:

“Be a gracious winner so that people want you to win next time.”
“Be a gracious loser so that people want you to win next time.”

Mr_M's avatar

I would swallow my pride and find the person and tell him “You were RIGHT”.

What’s the big deal?

I suppose to some people, telling someone they are right takes something away from the person saying it? That’s irrational. I’ve been right while others have been wrong enough times to feel comfortable that someone else can be right while I’m wrong.

As for the lone voice that predicted disaster, they MIGHT be brilliant or they might be crazy if they “predict” disasters every other day. To predict that JFK would get assassinated might seem pretty amazing, unless the person predicted EVERY president would be assassinated. Isn’t that how some Fortune Tellers work?

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@Mr_M that is so right on. I am learning to accept the wisdom of people who give me good advice and I am too stubborn to listen. I can be so dense sometimes. I must have been a blonde in a previous life.

GAMBIT's avatar

I can only laugh because I very rarely take anyone’s advice. So I’m not surprised if things sometimes go astray I learn much more from my mistakes then I do from following a sure thing.

qualitycontrol's avatar

go f- yourself?

3or4monsters's avatar

I usually seek them out and tell them they were right before they have the chance to be say something about it, and try to guide the conversation from there. But if I can’t do that, I admit that I’m human. If they are particularly self righteous or snotty about it, I’d draw attention to the fact that they’re gloating, and question it…. usually with some scolding.

DragonFace's avatar

I am usually the one saying “I told you so” not to say I am perfect but I try not to make mistakes. If someone says that to me I will be pretty pissed and say “GO FUCK A GOAT”

RandomMrdan's avatar

Friend: I so told you—
Me: yeah, yeah, yeah, don’t even say it!

Bagardbilla's avatar

I usually admit they were right… Thank them for looking out for me, tell them that I value their judgement & if they are close enough friends… THEN I tell em to go fuck themselves. ;)
In loving sort of a way…

sevenfourteen's avatar

@Bagardbilla – At least you would tell them what they want to hear first because after all, don’t we all want to be right :)

Judi's avatar

Back in the olden days when I used to drink, My first husband, my little brother and I were all sitting at the kitchen table pretty darned tipsy. I told my husband not to do something (I don’t remember what it was now) and he was shrugging me off. My little brother started screaming, “Listen to her, you have to listen to her. I didn’t listen to her once and I got a scab because of it!” Apparently he got hurt once when I had warned him, and he (being a bit OCD) took a long time to let his scab heal. It may have been one of those “You had to have been there” moments, but the whole scene was pretty funny.
So now, when ever anyone doesn’t listen to me I say, “You better listen or you’ll get a scab because of it!

mattbrowne's avatar

I tried to avoid the phrase while raising our kids. I hated it hearing it when I was a kid. “I told you so” sounds quite negative, while “I guess it was a valuable experience and next time you will deal a lot better with…” sounds more positive.

casheroo's avatar

Depends on if I’m bitter about it or not.
If I’m bitter, I say “whatever” and walk away. If I don’t mind being wrong, I just say “yeah, i screwed up.”

nebule's avatar

yes…but! you don’t know what I’m going to do next! :p

Facade's avatar

I’d probably just give them the “shut the hell up” look. I’m normally the one saying that to people though.

Glow's avatar

I say:

“Okay fine, you told me so, but you dont have to rub it in my face like a jerk”.

aprilsimnel's avatar

You certainly did, Ollie. You certainly did.

essieness's avatar

“Thanks for pointing that out.”

Randy's avatar

…And I told you that I know what I’m doing even if it is bad. Now I know I’m about to face push you. face pushing is the Cadillac of insulting moves.

Rickomg's avatar

Say “Wow! You are really Smart! Maybe you would like to run the rest of my life for me and I’ll just do as you say from here on out! wouldn’t that be great! I could blame it all on you when it all goes bad!”

YARNLADY's avatar

You got me again!You are so smart. I would miss out on a lot of trouble if I would only listen to you.

SeventhSense's avatar

The wisdom of our elders.

YARNLADY's avatar

@YARNLADY it comes from 34 years of living with a husband who is always right. He has no faults, he doesn’t swear, or drink coffee, or anything. The biggest drawback is the fact that he lives in a world of his own, and only visits mine from time to time.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I tell them to spare me
as I slam the door in their face

YARNLADY's avatar

@SeventhSense I put my comment to myself, but it is for you

MacBean's avatar

When people tell me “I told you so,” I either say “No, you didn’t” because they didn’t, or I tell them “I learned better this way.” And either way, I tell them not to be a smug jackass about it.

alossforwords's avatar

I usually apologize for not taking great advice before I could ever hear someone say, “I told you so.” But I also keep the kind of company that is mature enough to not need a slight like that to fuel their pride. No sense being right if it makes you look like an asshole.

Knotmyday's avatar

“You called it; get yourself an ice-cream cone.”

YARNLADY's avatar

@Knotmyday I like that one

Blondesjon's avatar

I punch them in the throat.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Blondesjon can I say I doubt that without making anybody mad?

Blondesjon's avatar

@YARNLADY…I can only speak for myself when I say it won’t make me mad.

your throat can relax now

Garebo's avatar

A younger guy in my office, about two years ago, right before the stock market descent, was day trading stocks quite successfully, and was getting annoyingly cocky.
I warned him I thought he was getting reckless, that I though the dow was going to 7500; I even told him the stock of CitiGroup at $55 would probably go to under $10, that the banks were in serious trouble. He, and another guy thought it was an absurd proposition, and were constantly giving me shit, calling me “Chicken Little” and jokingly asking me every day, ”... is the world round today?”
He finally got his head handed to him.
We are better friends now; he respects my insights and advise now, more then ever.
Peoples egos seem to be very reluctant to resist their built in perceptions, or delusions, until after they are fully exposed.

Jakers420's avatar

you ansewer with just, ‘and…’

philosopher's avatar

I usually have to remind my Husband of that. He never listens . I would have to say, yes you did .

Nullo's avatar

Shrug, admit fault, and focus on the problem at hand. Ask them for their suggestions, maybe.

vbabe96's avatar

A slap to the face. In all seriousness the only ones who say I told you so are the ones who really aren’t your friend. I have never once had a true friend say “I told you so”

TheOnlyException's avatar

a big ‘FUCK YOU’
ought to do it…

OneMoreMinute's avatar

with a burp and a big smile. Then after a pause, a hug and sometimes, laughter!

then comes a whimpy, and tiny, ....thank y-y-y-you!

Mr_Paradox's avatar

If someone tells me that over the phone I play the most annoying music I can find and play it into the phone to a) annoy them and b) shut then up. If it’s in person I just bring up something from THEIR past that was one of those “I told you so” moments and I tell them “I told you so.”

kitszu's avatar

“Yes you did.” I’ve only learned my lessons, the important ones, by screwing up and doing whatever it was I was warned (including by myself moments before I had to tell myself ‘I told you so’) about doing it.

In my experience practical application is a much better method of teaching than theoretical. That’s the theory I subscribe to when training new members of my team.

I don’t see the point in getting your hackles up over bruised pride. So you were ‘wrong’, doesn’t admitting it, swallowing it, and learning from it, end up trumping…I don’t know, having a temper tantraum over it?

wundayatta's avatar

In many cases, there’s no point in saying you are wrong. It doesn’t rebuild the relationship. It’s enough to know it yourself, and perhaps learn for the next time.

kitszu's avatar

@wundayatta This from the man who has no problem with accepting undeserved blame in the interest of keeping the peace? I’m thinking you perfer avoiding conflict in any form.

In all cases the point should be to take personal responsibility and never merely with the intent to rebuild a bridge you’ve burned.

I think it’s too easy for the psyche to sweep the experience under the rug and move on.

Until that dust is inevitably re-introduced. If you sweep the dust up and properly dispose of it, at least the next time you have to sweep, it won’t be the same dust you had to clean up last time.

wundayatta's avatar

Conflict where you stop listening to each other always makes things worse. It becomes a lose lose situation. It is a complete failure of communication. I have never found it to be helpful. If there is no more communication, the relationship is over. You have to be willing to listen to each other if you want to save a relationship. If one person walks away, they are telling you to fuck off and die. So yes, I try to avoid conflict because I try to avoid the death of a relationship. Perhaps I should just enjoy the conflict and let loose any inhibitions, since I rarely succeed at avoiding that kind of conflict. If I started screaming and yelling, maybe I’d have some fun.

Not likely.

kitszu's avatar

@wundayatta Just trying to tease you, I didn’t mean anything by it. :(

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