Have you ever got into a conversation with someone who is dead set on being right all the time? Perhaps you are that kind of person. This is called Conversational Hang-Up No.1 in the book “How to Start a Conversation and make friends,” by Don Gabor.
Here you will learn a few good tactics on how to offer a response to a person who always has to be right or to offer insight to your conversational tactics.
Hang-up No. 1—”I’m Right —You’re Wrong!”
Some people think that good conversation means winning an argument or discussion. They present their opinions as indisputable facts. This type of conversationalist will go out of his way to show that his opinions are better than those of the people he’s talking with. His goal is to never lose an argument, show that he is right, and win the conversation.
It’s not uncommon for competitive conversationalists to put down other people’s opinions by making comments like “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard!” or “I think what you are saying is utter nonsense!” This attitude sends a clear message to the person you’re talking with: “Since we differ in opinion, and I’m right—you are therefore wrong.” There’s another message that accompanies this communication: “Since I’m right, I’m better and smarter than you. ”
Needless to say, this closed and self-righteous attitude will not allow others to open up to you in any real, meaningful way—especially in the more emotionally sensitive areas.
Manipulative put-downs make people feel foolish and stupid and as a result, tend to lower their level of self-esteem. This doesn’t make them feel comfortable with you or allow them to feel as though they can trust you with more self-disclosures.
The misconception here is that people who feel they always have to be right or have to win a discussion think that others will respect their opinions more if they are rigidly committed to their view. As a result of this non receptive position, they send this signal to those they talk with: “Anyone who disagrees with me is obviously wrong, and therefore a fool!”
It’s easy to see why “I’m right-you’re wrong can ruin a conversation and throw cold water on a developing friendship or relationship.
Don’t Assume That Everything You Know or Believe Is Absolutely True
When discussing topics from differing points of view, remember there’s a major difference between absolute fact and what we assume to be true. Often, our opinions are the result of preferences, biases, assumptions, and our conditioning—not necessarily facts. As a result, there are many gray areas where differences of opinions can be discussed (not argued) at great length with others. These areas are very fertile ground for good conversation.
Every person has the right to his point of view—even if it seems strange or totally absurd to you—without being put down or ridiculed. Don’t force your views upon others. Show a desire to understand your partner’s point of view. Thus, you will encourage him to open up to you more and be more receptive to your ideas. This is especially important when you are trying to get your ideas and feelings across to others.
How to Say “I Don’t Agree with You”
When someone says something you disagree with, avoid conversation killers like “You’re dead wrong!” or “Wherein heaven’s name did you ever pick up such a stupid idea?
When you voice a difference of opinion, preface your statement with “It seems to me . . .” “Here’s the way I see it. ..” “I think . . .””I believe . . .” “It’s my impression . . .” “In my opinion . . . ” “I feel differently about it . . .” or “It’s been my experience. . . .” When you present opinions this way, without condemning the other person’s statement, she will be more likely to listen to what you are about to say, rather than putting up a defensive barrier to your ideas.
If someone disagrees with what you have said or believe don’t say, “You tasteless slob! Don’t you know who you’re talking to?” It’s better to say “I guess we just regard this differently.” or “I can see that you disagree. You’re entitled to your own opinion,” or “Well, different strokes for different folks!” If you don’t like something and want to communicate this without offending the other person, say: “Well that may be a great piece of music (art, movie, play, etc ) but I didn’t particularly care for it.” Remember, you’re entitled to your opinion, and so are the people you talk with. Be sure to send this signal clearly and the “I’m right—you’re wrong” hang-up won t ruin your conversations.
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