When you find yourself insisting on proving that you’re right, it’s time to look at your underlying intent. We often assume that being right will lead to being respected, liked, appreciated, or admired. However, generally the harder a person tries to prove being right, the harder it is for that person to gain respect or appreciation.
Here are a few reasons that could be causing this ironic disconnect:
1. Adamant persistence reveals underlying feelings of inadequacy, which does not inspire respect or admiration.
2. In trying to be right, we disregard other people’s ideas, causing them to feel overlooked.
3. Most importantly, being right generally comes with a condescending tone of voice that turns people off whether the person is right or not.
A superior tone of voice can trigger a defensive reaction in others, even when what’s being said is totally logical and nonthreatening. If you’ve ever found yourself arguing over something ridiculous, you may be reacting to a patronizing tone of voice rather than flawed logic.
One way to encourage others to consider your opinion is to use a friendly or neutral tone of voice. You’ll feel more relaxed and others will feel more open-minded and amenable. You can say, “Your idea won’t work” with a kind tone of voice, and have a better response than if you say, “Your idea is the best idea in the world,” with a superior sounding voice.
If pretending is what it takes to change your attitude and use a respectful tone of voice, it’s probably worth it. Remember that discussions that aren’t focused on one person being right are usually more stimulating and productive, and lead to healthier and happier relationships.
by Alison Poulsen, PhD