Playing dumb is a strategy that keeps you from letting on about everything you know. Sometimes it’s best to keep some of your information back to use as leverage to get the other side to reveal some of their information.
This strategy is different than holding your cards. When you hold your cards, you aren’t planning on holding information back. When you play dumb, you act like you don’t know certain information about a subject being discussed.
Sometimes people do this with language, too. They pretend they don’t know the other language that someone is speaking when they do understand what the other people are talking about in the other language.
This strategy can prove useful in situations. For instance, you get word from a friend that you’re getting a promotion but the official announcement hasn’t been made yet. Or maybe someone has just told you some news about something personal they haven’t announced yet. Playing dumb like you didn’t know is a way to show you protected the confidence of the other person.
Another example is when there’s a stereotype about someone’s perceived knowledge of a subject. For instance, getting a car repaired and you know what it takes to make the repair and how much it should cost but the repair shop doesn’t think you know anything so they attempt to overcharge you. You can call them on their stuff after you’ve given them the opportunity to dig themselves into a pit.
Use the playing dumb strategy to ensure people don’t take advantage of you, and create a win-win result for yourself and the other party.
See you next week!
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez, MSgt USAF Retired