When I say this is the best lesson I’ve learned to improve relationships with everyone from loved ones to strangers, I’m not exaggerating.
It’s one of those simple to understand but difficult to put into practice things. (I’ve been thinking a lot about ideas like this lately).
Without further ado:
Let people be wrong.
Imagine this. You’re early in your career, chatting with a boss. She mentions the name of a restaurant you’d both been to during a team outing. She makes a critical error and says the wrong place.
Do you correct her?
This was my exact situation not too long (but not too short) ago. At first, I corrected her–wasn’t it a different one?
But she persisted–she was sure. My inner fact-checker shouted nooooo!
I knew she was wrong. I considered holding my ground and trying to jog her memory. Remember how we had such bad luck with parking and had to walk a mile?
Fortunately, I realized it didn’t matter.
Whether she thought we got pizza instead of tacos was as crucial as the NHL adding a new team. (Seattle Kraken who?).
But my choice to not waste both of our time and energy did matter.
Not all situations are this easy. Sometimes you really do need to correct someone.
But how many times have you gotten into a disagreement over the accuracy of a meaningless detail?
It makes me think of my grandparents. One would say “we were driving in Indiana,” and the other would interject, “it was Ohio!” as if the location of their 1950 road trip was a crucial plot point.
If we don’t watch out, we become those old married couples, and I’m not just talking about loving a 5pm dinner.
Letting people be wrong saves you from the energy depletion that comes with someone refusing to believe you even though you know you’re right. You spend less time disputing details with those around you. This is a HUGE relationship win.
It also saves you potential embarrassment if you actually weren’t right, though I know for you and me, that would never happen.
And I admit, I get a bit of joy knowing I’m letting someone be wrong. You too can enjoy this satisfaction. Just keep the smugness internal, of course.
So the next time someone wants to claim that bats are blind, sit back and let someone else fight the good (for nothing) fight.
Oh, and after I dropped it with my boss? Maybe 10 minutes later she said, actually, she thought about it, and I was right. We did get tacos.
To being better without turning every conversation into investigative journalism,