Do you feel that experts just aren’t nice?

Lately I’ve came to understand that antipathy towards person is like tell of genuine authority on subject. Just look at ugly rumors, personal attacks and trash talk known experts get.

Clearly my antipathy isn’t unique. Maybe it isn’t personal either? What personal problem do we have with highly experienced professionals?



Photo by Joe Shlabotnik


People tend to quietly (or openly) regard themselves as first and last authority. For others who are obviously better at something our minds compromise that we are almost as good. For others who are astonishingly better – we start to feel inferior and thus threatened.

Experts are at level beyond average. Average don’t like that.


With great knowledge comes potential to use it. Paths and options, exclusive to experts, may seem more tasty and profitable. Without relation to the fact if they really are. Grass always seems greener on the other side and fence is high.

Experts have extra options. Options that average would like, but can’t have.


Frankly put experts aren’t known for telling pleasant lies. They are professionals, that are commonly called when fan is already in shit dispense mode. It doesn’t condition them to be nice, friendly and pleasing – that comes only after mess if fixed. If ever.

Experts are straightforward and have no need for an edge through lie. Honesty is not something average appreciate, when directed at them.


I do not know how close on the mark I am here. But antipathy is clearly there and I don’t believe that being really good at something turns you into jerk automatically.

Do you feel that experts just rub you the wrong way? Had you ever annoyed people just by being good at what you do?

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  • Chocobito #

    Total agree, but the so called Seudo Experts (not really a expert but he think hi is), that really don't know so much are worst, specially when you try to convincing them that are wrong.
  • Rarst #

    @Chocobito Oh, I wrote this specifically about real experts. :) Fake invoke whole different set of negative feelings, which are much more warranted.
  • kelltic #

    Experts are people. Some I like, some I don't. I'll admit that my first instinct when confronted with an "expert" is to become defensive. In my case that takes the form of watching their eyes for the first telltale sign that they have ceased to listen. This doesn't come from an innate antipathy but from my life experience. 1) the doctors who told me nothing was wrong, when I'd been running a fever for 3 months and couldn't stay awake, 2) the teacher who taught me to spell tomorrow, tommorrow, 3) the mechanic who gave me that "yeah, sure" look when I described the sound of my car's engine, then changed the oil and told me all was well - and my engine blew up before I got home. 4) the computer tech who told me I'd done something I've NEVER done and ignored my instructions - because, I don't know ANYTHING and he knows EVERYTHING - and then returned my computer looking like it belonged to someone else (I even checked the serial number to make sure it was mine), flying along at top speed with the fan constantly whirring, and 80% of my file associations missing in action. That happens when CCleaner is run on my system, unless you are very careful. I asked him not to run it. He told me he didn't. He lied. A newer version of it was installed while my computer, whose name WAS Gremlin, was in his UNtrustworthy hands. He also changed the name of the computer so it was no longer recognized on sites where I had an account, getting me locked out of AVG forums forever and prompting numerous software vendors to question the validity of my license. BUT, you know what? I like him a whole lot better than the ones who wait until I am through speaking (notice I did not say listen), and then say, "We'll just do a reformat." I've found a great doctor. I give up on teachers (just kidding, I come from a long line of teachers). I'm still looking for a good mechanic. As to computer techs: Now we are getting into dangerous waters where I want to tread cautiously. I have found one I like - kinda. BUT, I still get that blank stare when I tell them what I want. I've taken to handing him written instructions - with my phone number in clear view. How about an article with tips on how to speak to computer techs when you are, admittedly, technologically challenged but know exactly what you DO want and DO NOT want and know your own machine intimately (technically speaking).
  • Rarst #

    @kelltic Well, you are talking about fakes as well. People who mess with things just because it's a job or hobby. Not because they are genuinely interested and devoted years of their life to it. On finding and talking to computers techs... Not an easy thing to answer. This part of IT has no real history and foundation as profession. Large part of it is simply PC users evolved to some point. Many overestimate themselves greatly. Many think of it as easy money without skill requirement. I am not that great at talking to support and such myself. I will do that if I need specific info. In any other case I learned it will be faster to figure stuff out myself than go through explaining (sometimes several times) what I need. I'd say good tech will get details out of you even if he has to claw for them. As for finding one I suspect word of mouth and referrals are best bet. There are reasons why so many of techies perform role of "family PC guy" instead of sending relatives off to professionals. There is also emerging sector of online support, but I have no experience with that so can't recommend for or against.
  • OAlexander #

    Experts also have a certain surety that is easily mistaken for arrogance. The best way for experts to overcome problems is humor. If they work on that they can even become very popular. Cheers, OA.
  • Rarst #

    @OAlexander Well, if someone has right to some arrogance it's people that spent good chunk of their life to study things... So they can openly say people are being idiots when they are being idiots. </evil> :) Good point about humor, even if some introverts can at best fake common sense of humor. Some experts does seem overly cold and disconnected just because they are focused on subject and may discard surrounding context and conversation.
  • David #

    I think it's a mixed bag, and as ever depends on the individuals. I have known experts, who were just the most impatient, intolerant, arrogant people you could imagine. But then, there are people, who know they are an expert and know who they are talking to is an "average". Yet, they make a little bit of empathy and humility go a long way. Thus allowing the average to go away feeling like they've learned something, rather than go away with an inferiority complex.
  • Rarst #

    @David Yep, naturally there are personal variations and individuality we may or may not appreciate. What I am trying to convey is how we perceive experts we may have no personal interaction with. Just a name (maybe avatar :) and a lot of authority on subject.
  • David #

    @Rarst I understand, I think the same applies equally to off-line and on-line environments though. As long as the people involved take the care to use to over come the lack of physical and/or aural nuances. I say this because the experiences I talked about in my first comment have been repeated on and off line.