Being Kind Is More Important Than Being Right

01.25.12

How often do you correct what other people say when it's not actually necessary? My sister, Ria recently wrote a blog about this called The Things We Say. There are a lot of people who correct little things others say all the time. I'm not talking about conversations involving important things like religion or ethics. I'm talking about correcting little things like facts or vocabulary. Some people do it constantly and don't even realize what they're doing. Is it really necessary to correct someone when they accidentally call a sunflower a daisy?

It's far more kind to just let it go. More importantly, the fact that you've decided to interrupt the other person to let them know they are wrong shows you don't actually understand the point of human interaction. Are you having a conversation with this person because you enjoy being friends or because you are looking for opportunities to share the immense amount of knowledge stored in your brain with the world? I think there are too many people who find being right more important than being kind. For those of you who like to correct what others say all the time, this may be an entirely foreign concept to you, so I'll explain why correcting what other people say is rude.

When you talk with a friend or acquaintance, you both start out on an equal plain, exchanging opinions and commenting on each other's stories. However, if you decide to correct the other person when they accidentally call a Tiberon a Porsche you've decided to take a more condescending approach to the conversation. An equal exchange is no longer possible because you've now made the other person either feel annoyed or intimidated. No one actually likes being told they're wrong, especially if it's something they already know, something basic that they temporarily forgot. Constantly correcting someone is a way of telling them you are now the teacher, and they are the student. If you have a very dominant personality this may seem like no big deal, but you should be aware that not many people enjoy being talked to like that.

I can think of many examples of people who like to correct what others say, but the one example that sticks out in my mind is a girl my older brother, Chas took on a few dates many years ago. I remember he brought her over to watch a movie with the family one night. As we watched the movie Chas would make comments now and then and I remember she kept correcting little things he would say; stupid things that didn't matter at all. I started to get really annoyed. All she did was try to prove how wrong he was almost everytime he opened his mouth. She did it in a playful way, mostly making jokes about what he said, but I was getting mad just listening to her. I didn't think this girl was good enough for my brother who talked to her with complete respect. I was very glad when he stopped seeing her a few weeks later. I knew it couldn't work out between them because who in their right mind wants to have a relationship with someone who spends all their time correcting and making fun of what you say?

Not everyone does it constantly, but all of us are tempted to correct silly things that don't matter now and then. The next time you are tempted to point out that the napkins on the table are pink, not red, take a moment to weigh the importance of making that correction out loud. Most of the time, it really doesn't matter. On the other hand, being kind and respectful to your friends and acquaintances is very important. Just because you know someone's wrong, it doesn't mean it's your place to let them know. Besides, talking on an equal plain is far more enjoyable then pointing out all the mistakes you see other people make.

Article written by Shelly Allen.
Photo by Shelly Allen Photography

TAGS: right, kind, kindness, wrong, rude, conversation, human, interaction, friend, acquaintance, talk, discussion, correct, mistakes, respect, disrespect, dominant, personality, sensitive, insensitive, unkind, dating, relationships, facts, vocabulary, correcting, little, simple, forget, accident

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