resolving miscommunication part 3: “i’m always right”

no.  you’re not.

thinking you are always right, makes you more wrong than most.

a friend of mine is highly intelligent, well educated, a natural leader and organized.  she gets things done and she is often right about how to get them done.

it’s very annoying.  she looks a lot like Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong from the Glossary of Girls.

however, she is so use to everyone just following directions that when someone has a suggestion or something else to contribute, she can’t hear it.  won’t hear it.  steam rolls over the person making the suggestion.  she doesn’t mean to be a condescending bully, and would be truly hurt by the idea that she is perceived that way, but none-the-less…

she also doesn’t realize she’s lost friends over it.  she thinks they were being hypersensitive and difficult.  it is completely off her grid that she just might be to blame.

it is really tough to confront people like my friend and actually get heard.  there are some born with the ability to speak so confidently, it is difficult to think they are wrong about anything.  they can convince you the sky is puce, to buy that piece of crap used car or that Britney can sing.  it’s crazy. 

for those who are right all the time:

1.  get over yourself – you are not necessary.  the world won’t end without your input.  it is profoundly arrogant to think no one but you is capable of accomplishing something.  or even that it just won’t get done well without you.

2. respect others – you do understand how condescending it is when you insist on things being done your way, right?  even if it is “more” right.  maybe it’s only more right for you.  everyone has different skill sets and approaches to a problem.  let them do it their way.  unless they are actually your child, do not treat them like one.

3. let it go – step away.  breathe.  i know this is going to irritate the crap out of your inner control freak, but do it anyway.  ultimately you will learn to relax.  you’ll be happier.  and god knows, everyone around you will be happier.

for everyone else:

1.  trust your instincts – the know-it-all in your life may be terrifying, but trust your gut.  if you think something is wrong, it probably is.  it is perfectly acceptable to take a few minutes away from the steam roller, gather your thoughts and separate the logic from the bull crap.

2.  say something – find your spine and ask to have a word.  now, here’s the hard part, do not let the one you are confronting cut you off.  because they will.  it’s their most dangerous weapon.  they will try to shut you down before you ever complete a thought.  do.  not.  allow.  it.  don’t be afraid to be kindly mean.  what the french does that mean?  say something like, “i’m going to need you to shut up until i’m finished saying what i need to say.”  say it firmly but not angrily.

3.  stand your ground – the first thing that is going to happen when you have your say is that they are going to tell you all the reasons why you’re wrong.  this is where you have to turn it back around on them and let them have it right between he eyes.  how do you do that?  by saying something like, “do you realize how little you think of me and what i’m capable of?” or “wow, didn’t realize you had so little respect for me.”  they will sputter and deny.  do not back down.  you must expose it for what it is

the always right and the always convinced are both going to have rise to the occasion for real communication to happen.  relationships are not governed by one person.  ever.  healthy relationships are maintained together.  mutual respect is not negotiable.

i am guilty of being on both sides of this.  i’ve been spineless and i’ve been the know-it-all.  neither are attractive.

how about you?  are you the bulldozer?  or the bulldozee?

okay, i know this one was on the serious side, so here you go…

well, you do...

you’re welcome.


17 comments on “resolving miscommunication part 3: “i’m always right”

  1. I’ve had a similar issue with a member of my family, who always interrupts as what she has to say is *way* more important than what you have to say, so she just railroads you in every conversation, regardless of the topic.
    I got the point across by waiting until she interrupted (not a long wait, I’ll grant you) and then saying “Oh I’m sorry – was I talking while you were interrupting?” After I’d said this several times in as many minutes she actually took a step back and thought about it. It took a long time for the hint to break through her years-thick rhino hide of being the one with more important things to say, but it eventually had the desired effect.
    It’s wearing, and I felt like a total bitch for doing it, but in the long run it has paid off. I hear way less grumbling about her from other family members and family friends, and she is far more bearable to be around!

  2. I just want you to know, I did not look anything like that picture at that moment. It was my right hand on the mouse and my left hand on my chin, and the fingers were spread, not closed. So nyah. 😉

  3. JBen says:

    Haha, I think I look more like that than I would care to admit. I was laughing at it and then put my hand up to my face.

    One of the best things I have been learning the past couple of years is how to listen to people when they critique me. I used to get very defensive and would try to deflect it but I had a friend who wouldn’t bite and stood her ground.

    Since then I have become very open to the things people have to say to me. Still learning, but I think I have grown a lot. It has definitely helped me with relating to my fiance.

  4. I’ve been both sides of that line. I am more naturally apt to be the bulldozee in your average conversation, unless I get passionate about something.

    I would add one uncomfortable little statement: there are times when being the bulldozer is correct. For instance, my mom, who is the least bulldozerish person in the world, had to bulldoze our pediatrician into getting me into the hospital NOW rather than waiting as he wanted to; I would have died if she hadn’t. I was in worse situation than the doctor thought.

  5. know-it-alls SUUUUUUUUUUUUCK as bosses. Unless you like to be micromanaged.

  6. Mandie Marie says:

    Dear my aunt,

    Please read this before you argue with my brother the accountant about tax laws.

    Love and hugs,


  7. Mandie’s comment reminded me of a certain executive at a company who argued with the installer sent by the company that made the new software that was to be installed. He felt he knew more than the installer because he’d read a magazine article about it. After the better part of an hour, the installer finally told him to do it his way and left. That package never did get installed and functional, despite a few thousand dollars spent on it.

    Classic example.

    That’s not say you should never argue with an expert. Experts CAN be wrong. I caught my math book in 3 mistakes in seventh grade. And in Psych 101, I wrote a paper debunking not only the textbook’s opinion but the opinion of the entire APA on a subject, got an A on the paper, and a couple of years ago the APA reversed itself and came to the same conclusion I had. Not that my paper had anything to do with the APA reversing itself; I just figured out they were wrong before they did. 😉 I’ve also had to eat my words when *I* was the expert in the room, more than once.

  8. Randomlychad says:

    Defensive? Who, me? Never! (But don’t ask @misslisamj–she’ll give you the straight poop). 😉

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