I Have My Ways

When someone is questioned on how he knows something or how he is going to get something done, sometimes he won't want to answer. Instead, he'll just utter this Stock Phrase: "I Have My Ways." This cryptic response is unlikely to satisfy the asker for long, but it gets across the point that the asked person doesn't want to reveal the exact nature of their "ways" just yet.

Generally used in one of these cases:
  1. The person being asked wants to keep the answer a secret, either because a source's identity needs to remain private, they don't want the other person to know how to get such information, or any other such reason.
  2. The answer is so disturbing that the questioner REALLY doesn't want to know.
  3. The person being asked is just going to make it up as he goes along.
  4. The person being asked wants to give an intimidating impression of open-ended power and knowledge.

Sometimes used as a Hand Wave. Not to be confused with We Have Ways of Making You Talk, which is about unorthodox torture methods.


  • In an early 1970s ad a Chinese Launderer is asked how he gets clothes so clean. "Shh. Ancient Chinese Secret." His wife shares the truth with us: they use Calgon.

  • In The 39 Clues, Irina tells Ian and Natalie Kabra ''Your mother has her methods" when asked how they obtained information belonging to a rival organization.
  • Used in Live Free Or Die: when asked by the President of the United States, and by various agents of the news media whether or not he had a Plan to stop the Horvath from dropping rocks on Earth's remaining cities for his defiance during (and starting) the Maple Syrup War, Tyler Vernon replied "I am of the South. We have our ways." Only one person is shown to have worked out what he meant by that before he explained in an interview after the Horvath were driven away "In the words of the smartest rabbit I know: 'Oh no Br'er fox! Please don't throw me in that there briar bush!'"
  • In Spider Robinson's Stardance, Charlie Armstead meets an aspiring composer who claims to have seen Shara Drummond's "Stardance" video, even though Charlie(who shot the video) hasn't shown it to anyone. When he asks how the composer got his hands on the video, the composer just smiles and says, "Large weather we're having, isn't it?"

Live-Action TV
  • Scarecrow and Mrs. King episode "The First Time":
    Amanda: How did you find me?
    Lee: We have our ways.
  • In an episode of the old SF/Spy show Probe, the Big Bad has protagonist Austin James isolated from his friends, taunting the hero through his radio implant (long story). Suddenly, Austin's secretary breaks in on the frequency.
    Villain: "Who is this?!"
    Mickey: "Probe Control."
    Villain: "How did you find me?"
    Mickey: "We have our ways."
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 had a field day with this one in the episode The Brain that Wouldn't Die.
    Movie Doctor "I have my ways."
    Crow "Ways! Lots and lots of ways!"
    (as doctor is leaving room, he turns around and looks back)
    Crow "WAAAYS!"
  • Practically Nico's catchprase on Necessary Roughness.
  • A frequent Catch Phrase in Xena: Warrior Princess; whenever Xena demonstrated an ability she never hinted at having before, she would simply say, "I have many skills."
  • Babylon 5: Commander Ivanova has an unnerving ability to know about various sideprojects that the other crewmembers are trying to operate in secret, no matter how careful they are about being discrete. When questioned on how she learns of these things, she simply explains that she's the station's Executive Officer. It's her job to know everything that happens on the station, and you should worry if something happens she doesn't know about.
  • Garak from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine just about every time he's asked to get something done. His Starfleet friends are usually happier not knowing about his methods.
  • Used by Howard Wolowitz in an episode of The Big Bang Theory. When asked how he identified the One Ring prop from the Lord of the Rings movies, Wolowitz at first attempts a mysterious "I know a guy", but the others, knowing that his social circle is just as small and limited as theirs, immediately identify the guy, deflating Wolowitz's attempt at sounding cool.

Video Games
  • In Max Payne, at the end of the first episode, Mona Sax tells Max that Angelo Punchinello was the one that ordered the murder of Alex Balder. When he questions her on it, her answer is:
    Mona: I've got my sources.
    • She turns out to be wrong: Mona turns out to be working for Nicole Horne, the true Big Bad of the game, who was the one who actually ordered the murder of not only Alex, but also Max's family. And the one who pulled the trigger on Alex? Max's other partner B.B., who he takes to calling "Backstabbing Bastard" when they meet for the final time.
  • In Namco High, Pac-Man "has his ways" to know exactly what Cousin is thinking, and mainly seems to use them to find the best time to say "BE TRUE TO YOURSELF".

  • In Homestuck, when John questions Rose about her information on the game, she replies "My perception of the future has been informed by other sources." These "informants" are primarily Doc Scratch and the Horrorterrors, neither of which John (or anyone except Rose, really) would be likely to approve of.

Western Animation
  • Family Guy: Lois hints at her wily, secretive ways of obtaining a map of her neighbor's house. Cut to a scene of her walking into City Hall and asking for a map.
  • In the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Blind Bandit", Katara is asked how she got information from two uncooperative boys and replies suggestively, "A girl has her ways." Cut to the two boys covered up to their necks in ice. With their feet were pinned to the walls of the alley and their heads forced together.
  • Said word for word by Duke in "Eyes On the Prize" in season 1 of The Critic. Jay comes home from the Pulitzer Prize ceremony, having won the award for Best Criticism, only to find his former boss Duke waiting in his apartment. When asked how he got in, Duke answers with this trope. Jay then looks to the side of the door, and sees a hole shaped like Duke in the wall.