Apparently, when people prove themselves correct over others, they often enjoy gloating for a moment, using sarcasm. According to new research, four out of five people who win an argument will use the addage, "I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so," to mean exactly the opposite.
The Colloquialism Research Center in Hammond, Maryland sent surveys to households across the country regarding minor interpersonal conflicts. The goal was to measure the relationship between sarcasm and compassion for the average American. The answer: more of the former than the latter.
Surveys ultimately indicated that the five most common debates leading someone to covertly enjoying saying 'I hate to say I told you so' are hotel vacancies, sizes of clothing bought online, driving directions, the movie Inception, and election results. After using the word "hate," many Americans admitted to taking pride in winning the argument.
In Ronsen, Oklahoma, when Jane Monroe correctly guessed that her husband Tom had installed the new garbage disposal incorrectly, and put a hand on his shoulder, Tom left to return to the home improvement store, muttering, "She loves to say she told me so." In another case, one-armed high school football quarterback Dan Spencer won the state championship on an illogical trick play. He said to coach Romero, "I hate to say it."
When someone proven correct genuinely does not enjoy saying 'I told you so,' the study has found that the topic often is gravely serious. Upon this conclusion, those present went silent, sighed, and moved on.
History scholars continued the study by asking whether humans have ever truly hated to say 'I told you so.' The answer seems to be no. Dating to a time period when humans transitioned from nomadic to agrarian societies, a cave painting in Tanzania dating to 10,000 BC depicts one person farming and another dying while hunting a sabretooth tiger. Next, the farmer is shrugging and smirking. In 1776, Alexander Hamilton submitted a draft of the Declaration of Independence that began, "Seriously, England?" When the founding fathers decided on Jefferson's "We hold these truths…," he allegedly said to Hamilton, "Good try." He then chuckled and high-fived Benjamin Franklin.
The study has been praised as deepening the understanding of American character. Some scientists have admitted, too, that the results of the study have allowed them to say 'I hate to say I told you so' to people with whom they had argued the results of the study.