Relationships of all kinds are incredibly complex. Whether it’s an individual you’re dating or a subordinate you’re managing, there are intricacies to each and every one of those relationships that must be managed successfully if you want the relationship to flourish.
This is especially important during disagreements. It is arguments, discussions, and fights that can cause relationships to falter, as rarely do relationships of any kind struggle when you’re agreeing on everything, and so when you’re in these relationships it’s important to ask yourself – do you have to be right?
Relationship Management Sometimes Requires Giving Up
Many of us have a driving need to convince others to see the world as we do. Whether it’s opinion or fact, it’s very hard for us to let things go. If you’re like most people, when you feel something is wrong, it becomes your mission to make sure the other person is corrected.
But it might be time to ask yourself what does that even accomplish?
There are times both personally and professionally that being right is no longer important. What matters is maintaining and growing the relationship. While it may be tempting to continue to debate with the individual, it’s important to remember:
You May Be Wrong – Let’s not forget that you’re probably not right 100% of the time. You may be arguing your point and be convinced of its accuracy, but there are times when you’re only hurting your relationship.
There May Be No Answer – When was the last time you decided to discuss politics with someone who had a different opinion from you and how did that go? Probably not very well, because opinions are hard to change and, of course, just opinions.
It Doesn’t Usually Matter – Perhaps the most important question is – when does trying to convince someone you are right ever matter? How does it help most situations?
That last question is especially important. What does telling someone they’re wrong and you’re right ever seem to accomplish? Even if you are able to convince someone you are right, what then? What is the next step that made that entire discussion worthwhile? What did you win by being right?
Now, ask yourself what you could have accomplished by letting the issue go.
There are so many times that we could strengthen our relationships even further if we simply didn’t feel that drive to make a point. In our romantic relationships and friendships, the “best case scenario” of arguing your point is making your partner feel shamed. That’s not much of a best case scenario.
In your professional workplace, the “best case” scenario is that a coworker or client or subordinate or manager feels embarrassed – and those are the emotions that happen if they lose the argument. If they don’t feel that they lost, they may even feel intimidated, threatened, or frustrated to a degree that it can have a lasting impact on your future relationship.
Now, what happens if you simply let it go and give the other person an opportunity to feel the way they want to feel without turning it into a significant disagreement?
- They feel like you’re supportive and that you listened to them.
- They feel like you see them as equal.
- They feel like you’re not their enemy.
When you avoid a needless argument, you maintain a healthy relationship, and by giving someone the “win” in the argument (even if you believe they’re wrong), you show trust, the willingness to accept their judgments, and many other positive qualities.
You also show leadership, and that you’re not afraid of being wrong. People see strength in those that are willing to step aside from a discussion and don’t feel the need to prove their point, and they earn respect from those people.
None of this means you should accept mistreatment, or abuse, or anyone forcefully making you take their side. If there are times where it genuinely is important to be right in a discussion, and there is real value to proving your point (for example, if you can prove that your decision will help your company at work, or your belief is important for the safety of your family), then by all means – argue away. You don’t have to back down from arguments that are really important to you.
But there are so many times when going out of your way to prove you are right, or doing the “I told you so” face when your outcome came true, does far more harm than good. Let someone else be the victor, and maintain excellent relationships with those in your life.