We all know that person, that one person that no matter what is always right. Always. No matter if they know the subject or not they are the end all be all authority on it. And, to top it off, they have to have the last word. Period.
It could be a spouse, significant other, employee, boss, co-worker or friend – but they are there, in your life and you know exactly who I am talking about – don’t you?
I was married to Mr. Always Right. – of course he would say he was married to Mrs. Always Right – but he would be wrong. At times it was annoying; however, there were aspects that I could appreciate. He is one of few standup guys and if he believed in something he was not going to let it go. I always knew where he stood – I never had to question or guess.
As time went by I learned how to communicate with him in a more effective manner – i.e. just say “ok honey” and let it drop instead of trying to combat him or win him over to the real right side.
I have known him for 25 years and we have both grown up enough to realize when we each get in the “I’m right no matter what” mode and let it go. Given a bit of time whether it is five minutes or a couple of days we can then resume the conversation with a clearer view and admit that we either disagree or that one or the other was wrong. Yay, kudos to us, we are being adults.
Before I take that big old pat on the back I will admit that we put a lot of effort into our communication and relationship because even though we divorced we still raised a child together. So it was because of our son that we worked really hard at becoming friends and cohorts rather than combatants.
So what do you do when it is a colleague, boss, networking partner or customer?
Basically – suck it up cupcake. Wining isn’t always the point.
Yes, they may be wrong or refusing to see your side of things but take a moment here and think about it – are they really listening? Do they really care? Is that someone you want to convince? Is it worth the effort convincing them? No to all.
If, by some strange miracle all the stars align and flying pigs come down holding a big banner for them to read saying “You are wrong – admit it” and they actually do see your side I will bet dollars to donuts they will be resentful.
You made them say they were wrong. You “won”. You made them look foolish. Even though all these statements begin with you it isn’t about you – it is all about them.
It is always about them. Let it go.
Let them speak their peace and let it go. Do not give them any more fuel to the fire because they will not give up. If you keep giving them a little spark they are going to stroke that fire for all it is worth.
All it will do is upset or frustrate you.
The entire relationship needs to remain open and positive to continue the working relationship and sometimes in relationships you just have to let it go. Yes, you really are right, yes, they really are an idiot; but those things are not going to change and in the grand scheme of things is it worth damaging a relationship over hearing that you were right?
Learn the signals. Recognize when they start climbing on their soapbox.
Learn to diffuse. Stop engaging in the conversation. The less you contribute the less they have to work with.
Bite your tongue. So often we want the last word – trust me, I know this one well. Fight the urge to have to have the last word – it is just another spark.
Don’t take it personally. They are not really attacking you. They would hold the same argument with an inanimate object if it would fight back. Let it go.
Sometimes you have to let the other person think they “won” in order to salvage the relationship. It is okay, this isn’t a professional sport where keeping score matters in the end.
This is a business relationship that is built on fluid dynamics. There are ebbs and tides and learning to go with the flow and gently modifying the course helps ensure smooth sailing.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Career Polish, Inc.