Sure, we all want to seem smart and worldly, but why are we so afraid to say, "I don't know"? We were so inspired by the way Leah Hager Cohen answers that question in her new book
I Don't Know: In Praise of Admitting Ignorance (Except When You Shouldn't), we came up with a few other instances best met with that particular phrase.
1. "I'm flying out of O'Hare, right?"
There is a certain satisfaction to be had from responding with an affirmative answer when your boss asks you a question, particularly when the question is worded with the expectant syntax of "...right?" Yes, you want to say. Yes, right, you're right, I'm right, we're right, and if you want your plane to fly out of O'Hare, then yes, it's O'Hare. Unless it's not. In which case, even if you were 70 percent sure the plane was flying out of O'Hare Airport, nothing you could do would move that plane 100 percent across town, all the way from Midway Airport, where it actually is taking off. So no matter how much you want to answer "...right?" with "Right!"—a better answer is: "I don't know. I think that's right, but let me quickly check that for you." Your boss will be saying, "Phew," all the way to the (correct) airport.