Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) may have been the head of Diagnostic Medicine on House, but that doesn’t mean he was a team player. In fact, House regularly had to deal with coworkers who thought they knew just as much if not more than he did when it came to those hard-to-treat cases. They were wrong of course; House was always right, but from his dealings with those mediocre doctors on TV we can learn how to handle the know-it-alls in our own lives.
Here are eight House lines for when you need to completely shut down a smart-a** coworker.
“I’m pretty sure I’m not going to like you. It’s nothing personal, I don’t like anybody.”
First impressions matter and, usually, you can get a sense of whether you’ll get along with a new co-worker from your first handshake. House prefaced pretty much every interaction with making sure his coworkers — even on occasion his bosses — had low expectations for potential future friendships, like when he met a billionaire businessman interested in running the hospital. Maybe your new colleague will seem too eager or maybe you’re just a social isolationist who gives zero f*cks about making friends at work. In any case, you’ll probably want to make this your go-to greeting.
“I thought I’d get your theories, mock them, then embrace my own. The usual. ”
The worst thing that can possibly happen during an average workday is a group project. They sucked when you were in high school and they haven’t gotten any better as an adult. Working with others can test your patience, your politeness, and your ability to not kill, maim, or physically beat the hell out of relative strangers. House is forced to do this on a daily basis. It’s part of his process, even to the point where he had to use random airline passengers as stand-ins in the “Airborne” episode so he could think through a particularly complex and time sensitive situation. But sometimes, the responsibility of trying to cure a 15-year-old girl suffering from a collapsed lung and anemia while coddling his clueless peers is just too much. Instead of going through the stressful process of pretending to entertain the suggestions of your fellow co-workers, just skip to the point and begin every meeting by letting them know that their ideas don’t matter. It’s the best way to foster compliance.
“Silent and unhappy is better than vocal and unhelpful. ”
We’ve all had that one co-worker who thought they knew how to solve every problem that popped up in the workplace. Usually, their “help” wasn’t really needed, but that’s the thing about know-it-alls, they don’t realize that their useless contributions are unwanted until someone points it out to them. When Foreman (Omar Epps) chose to defy House by mistreating a young girl with a case of Prinzmetal angina, he was pushed to put the guy on notice. If worst comes to worst and you’re the Chosen One, just drop this nugget of wisdom.
“Don’t like my sarcasm, well I don’t like your stupid.”
Look, the truth is, sarcasm is the humor of truly intelligent people. If, like House, 99% of the things you say are sarcastic, you need to understand that mere mortals — and a few killjoys like Foreman — may not be able to tap into the true genius of your humor. That being said, there’s no reason not to let your wet blanket of a co-worker know when he’s missing out on the brilliance of your finely honed comedy sass.
“Humility is an important quality, especially if you are wrong a lot.”
A know-it-all co-worker rarely has the courage to admit when they’re wrong. In fact, those kinds of puffed up peacocks usually go to great lengths to hide their ignorance – example, any politician currently in office, or Foreman when his mentor’s diagnosis of a patient was proven wrong by House. Often, in dealing with someone who has convinced themselves that they’re always right, the best way to undercut their arrogance is by giving them some low-key shade – like passively aggressively commenting on their mistakes.
“Don’t take it personally, it’s just because you’re full of crap.”
Though there are merits to slyly critiquing your co-workers, a rare few choose to let their cajones hang out and directly address the smart-asses that take up space in their cubicle unit. When House regained the use of his leg he attempted to ask a fellow doctor out on a date. Instead of listening to her make excuses about why they couldn’t eat and drink together at the same table, he cut to the chase: she didn’t want to date him, she was just too “nice” to say so. If you’re of the same breed as House, passive aggressive doesn’t cut it. You need a direct comeback that’s the size of a metaphorical bull in a china shop. Try this one.