By Samantha McKenzie
Do you know people who think they’re right all of the time? Those people who reject your ideas, even when you present them with hard evidence, facts, and all of the common sense you can drum up to prove an important point? They sometimes mask their rightness as “stubbornness” and offer the non-verbal signs of disagreement (the slight eye roll, the folded arms, the deep release of breath that indicates they’re ready for you to shut it).
Do you know people like this? Are you one of them?
Most people are trained to pick a side. We’re also hardwired to feel compassion for topics that best suit our lifestyle, the side that makes us most comfortable, or the side that allows us the freedom to continue on doing whatever it is that we like to do.
But no one is right all of the time. No one. If you’re one of those people who has to be right about everything, you’re also probably the person people hate talking to, because you’re going to dominate the conversation with your “holier-than-thou-rightness” and you’re “I told you so’s.” Being around these know-it-alls is indeed a bummer.
Here’s a few things we lose out on when we think we’re always right and tips to opening up to what others have to say:
- You lose the ability to listen. I know this sounds a bit obvious, but research says most people start forming their response while the other person is still talking, which means they’re not really listening to you. Active listening means clearing your mind, putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, empathizing if you can, and if necessary, offering solutions. Learning to listen is a great building block for improving your relationships and building mutual understanding with others.
- You lose out on learning. Yes. When you’re not so busy being right, you may stop and realize you have lots more to learn. You might not agree with all that is being said, but it’s best that you open up your mind to learning other concepts and another person’s perspective. Trust me, there’s nothing for you to lose here. It’s just an opportunity to gain more, maybe even useful, information. And who doesn’t need that.
- You limit your experiences. Limiting yourself, in most cases, is not good. You can potentially stunt your growth. You miss out on trying something new because you don’t understand it. Sometimes we choose not to participate in an activity because of fear, or because of what we heard someone else say. Toss away your predetermined mindset and expand your experiences. I promise you, you’ll grow from it.
- You forego opportunities. Was it a job you should have taken? A relationship you prematurely abandoned? Sometimes we’re left with the ‘what ifs’ because we thought we were so right about it at the time. Opportunities are fluid. They come and they go. Don’t be so quick to dismiss everything that doesn’t agree with your thinking. You may miss out on THE opportunity that was meant for you. Stop. Think. Ask questions. Then decide.
- You lose friends and potential friends. You’re not the expert on all things. Just because you read about it, doesn’t mean it’s the truth. Just because someone told you about it, doesn’t mean you should repeat it. Don’t alienate others in a conversation or hit them over the head with every piece of factual information that you’ve come across. It stifles people. It sucks up all of the air in the room and it’s a sure way to lose friends. Learn how to share what you know in a way that still leaves room for healthy dialogue. Friendships are worth more than the silly topics we tend to debate about. Create the space for everyone to participate in the conversation.