Dry Comebacks For People Who Are Always Trying To “Educate” You

Dry Comebacks For People Who Are Always Trying To “Educate” You

Pretty much everyone has one person in their life who just can’t resist the urge to impart their wisdom at every turn. They’re always ready with a condescending lecture, an unsolicited opinion, or a smug “Well, actually…” Whether they fancy themselves an expert on every topic under the sun or they’re just a know-it-all desperate to prove their intellectual superiority, these self-appointed educators can be insufferable. Next time one of them starts up with their pedantic spiel, shut it down with one of these dry, cutting comebacks:

1. “I’m sure you’re an expert on many things. This just isn’t one of them.”

This is a polite way of saying “stay in your lane.” It acknowledges that the person may have knowledge in some areas, but gently points out that the current topic isn’t their forte. It’s a subtle jab at their overconfidence in their own expertise. Maybe they should stick to lecturing on subjects they actually have credentials in, rather than assuming they’re an authority on everything.

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2. “Thanks, but I prefer to form my own opinions.”

This comeback asserts your independence of thought. You’re not interested in being told what to think by someone else, no matter how convinced they are of their own rightness. You’re capable of examining the evidence and coming to your own conclusions, without their unnecessary input. It’s a way of saying “I don’t need you to do my thinking for me.”

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3. “I’m sure that works for you, but it’s not for me.”

When someone is insisting that their way is the only right way, this phrase shuts it down without being confrontational. It acknowledges that their approach may be valid for them, but makes it clear that you have no intention of adopting it yourself. It’s a polite way of saying “you do you, but leave me out of it.”

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4. “I appreciate your concern, but I’ve got this covered.”

This is a firm but courteous way of telling someone to butt out. It conveys that while you recognize they may mean well, their input is neither needed nor wanted. You have the situation handled and you don’t require their assistance or advice. It’s a subtle way of saying “mind your own business.”

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5. “Thanks for the suggestion, but I’m going to trust my gut on this one.”

This phrase shows that while you’ve heard the person out, you’re ultimately going to go with your own instincts. You don’t need them to second-guess your choices or override your intuition with their allegedly superior judgment. It’s a way of saying “I appreciate the thought, but I’ve got this” without room for further argument.

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6. “I’ll be sure to consult you next time I need an unsolicited opinion.”

The sarcasm here is biting. You’re making it crystal clear that you did not ask for nor do you welcome this person’s unasked-for hot take. You’re not interested in being talked down to or having them appoint themselves the expert on your life choices. If you want their two cents in the future, you’ll be sure to let them know.

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7. “I must have missed the part where I asked for advice.”

Similar to the previous comeback, this one points out that you never solicited this person’s counsel in the first place. They’re offering up their pearls of wisdom completely unprompted and unwanted. You’re not obligated to take their words to heart just because they felt compelled to vomit them out. If you wanted their guidance, you would have sought it.

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8. “I didn’t realize you had a PhD in my life.”

This sarcastic quip highlights how presumptuous it is for someone to act like they know better than you about your own existence. They may think they’ve got you all figured out, but they’re not the expert on you that they imagine themselves to be. You are the ultimate authority on your own experiences and choices. They should stay in their lane.

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9. “I’ll take that under advisement.”

young couple in an argument

This is a polite brush-off. You’re acknowledging their input without agreeing with it or committing to act on it in any way. You’ll “take it under advisement,” which is essentially a euphemism for “I’ll give that all the consideration it deserves,” which is to say, none at all. It’s a socially graceful way of dismissing their attempt to influence you.

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10. “Thanks, I’ll file that away for future reference.”

This is another courteous way of disregarding someone’s unwanted advice. You’re essentially saying that you’ll put their suggestion in a mental filing cabinet, which is a black hole from which it will never return. You’re not going to act on their “wisdom,” but you’ll pretend you might consider it at some unspecified future date. It’s a way of ending the conversation without overtly rejecting their input.

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11. “I’m sure that works in the world you live in.”

This jab implies that the other person is out of touch with reality. What they’re suggesting may fly in their rose-tinted alternate universe, but it doesn’t pass muster in the real world the rest of us inhabit. It’s a way of calling out their naivety or lack of common sense, while making it clear their advice isn’t practical or applicable to your life. As PsychCentral notes, unsolicited advice is never welcome and people need to stop giving it altogether.

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12. “I have a strict policy against taking life advice from people who [insert flaw here].”

man who's stressed out for work

Fill in the blank with an attribute or behavior of theirs that undermines their credibility. For example: “I have a strict policy against taking financial advice from people who are always ‘borrowing’ money.” Or “I have a strict policy against taking relationship advice from people on their third divorce.” It’s a way of directly calling out their hypocrisy or lack of success in the very area they’re lecturing you in.

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13. “I guess we can’t all possess your dizzying intellect.”

woman being blunt and overbearing

This mocking comeback facetiously praises their allegedly superior brainpower, while making it clear you’re not going to bow to it. You’re not going to be cowed into accepting their arguments just because they’ve blessed you with their brilliance. They may think they’ve got it all figured out, but you’re not buying it. Shockingly, the world keeps turning even without the benefit of their gift for condescension.

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14. “I’m so lucky to have you around to think for me.”

guy telling woman boring story on date

This acerbic comment underscores just how obnoxious and presumptuous it is for them to assume you need their guidance. Poor little you, lost in the wilderness without their luminous insight to light your path! What would you do without their dazzling intellect to tell you what’s what? Heavy eye roll. You’re a functioning adult, not their rescue project. You don’t need them to be the brains of the operation.

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15. “Did I stumble into a TED talk by accident?”

Young couple sitting at the table with cup of tea and talking to each other during their date in cafe

Comparing their pompous lecturing to a self-important TED talk is the height of mockery. They fancy themselves the brilliant mind enlightening the ignorant masses, but in reality they just come off as a blowhard who loves the sound of their own voice. You’re not their rapt audience, eager to soak up their paradigm-shifting insights. You’re not obligated to sit through their unsolicited seminar.

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16. “Please, go on. I have nowhere else I’d rather be than listening to this.”

The dripping sarcasm here conveys how little you’re enjoying their pedantic diatribe. You have a million things you’d rather be doing, but please, continue monopolizing your time to bless you with their unparalleled wisdom. It’s not like you have your own life or anything. You’re just riveted by their verbal waterboarding. By all means, proceed.

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17. “I’d explain why you’re wrong, but I’m all out of crayons.”

This biting insult implies that the person’s comprehension is at such a rudimentary level, you’d need children’s tools to break it down for them. Their argument is so asinine, so divorced from reality, that you can’t engage with it on an adult level. The only way to penetrate their thick skull would be to bust out the finger paints and construction paper, but sadly, you’re fresh out.

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Josh grew up in Connecticut and thought he could never be happier away from big bodies of water until he moved to Minneapolis and fell in love with it. He writes full-time, with his lifestyle content being published in the likes of Men's Health, Business Insider, and many more. When he's not writing, he likes running (but not enough to train for a marathon even though his buddy won't stop asking him).