When You’re Wrong to be Right!

“Choose being kind over being right, and you’ll be right every time.” Richard Carlson

right or wrongThe pleasant  peaceful evening was now disintegrating as the minor disagreement  over whose turn it was to unload the dishwasher  escalated into a “You’re wrong. I’m right.” shouting match. Hopefully, before too much interpersonal  damage is done, one of the participants will  return to a more rationale perspective of what’s more important- the relationship or the pursuit of trivial accuracy.

To be sure, there are times when getting the facts right is unquestionably more important than concern for the feelings of others. If the question is “Which big toe is to be amputated?” Then, of course, we want our care to be in the hands  of the champion of  “Right.” If, however, the  issue of concern  is less consequential, like, “How many people were at the party last night? “Or, “How long did the trip to the airport take?” then the wise relational approach is usually to either let the matter stand as stated  or if correction is deemed necessary, then to  do it gently and privately.

Champions of “Right” can be people  who are otherwise kind, but who can turn into  righteous monsters who will fight for the accuracy of  any detail, even if it means calling out someone they really care about. For some, this Jeckle to Hyde transformation may be a rare event, but for others it happens more regularly than they may care to admit. To the observers, it’s clear that there’s  no other goal than to win the argument or make the point. What drives such relationally destructive behavior?

Of course, personality type is a major factor in driving some toward a more “Get it right.” lifestyle. Some experts see the Myers Briggs ISTJ, as the “Perfectionist.” Using the four animal categories, the Beaver is the type most likely to be the stickler for details. Regardless of temperament,however, a person’s personal stability may be the most significant contributing factor toward the behavior.

In times when an individual’s personal stability is shaky and their ego is fragile, their search for security can drive them to reach for  any position or person that might lift them to higher, more stable ground, even if it’s at the expense of an important relationship.

The key overall point here is that mature, relationally sensitive people, understand that long after others have forgotten who was right, they’ll remember how they were made to feel. Sometimes it’s wrong to be right.

“We impress people with our strengths, but we connect with our weaknesses.”                                                                                              Jon Weece