Attempting to have a fair conversation with someone who thinks he's never wrong can be a source of frustration. Although being confident in your beliefs is usually a positive attribute, everyone knows a person who finds it virtually impossible to admit that they've done or said something wrong. As a result, you're left wondering if a discussion is even worth the effort, since the person who just has to be right puts negotiation and honesty to the side. If you have no choice but to interact with that person regularly, consider taking a strategic approach to communication.
Express Your Feelings
Explaining how a person's "never wrong" attitude affects you can be a good first step in pointing out why it's a problem. Express your feelings by using personal pronouns, such as stating, "I feel frustrated." Honest expression of your feelings can level the playing field with the person who thinks he's never wrong. It also helps create an environment where you take the first step in disclosing your feelings as well as your challenges. Whether this will be an enlightening moment for the person who thinks he's never wrong is something only known to that person. Ideally, explains the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, your relationship will grow stronger.
Active listening is a technique frequently used in counseling to encourage change to occur. You can listen actively by listening without judgment, no matter how much you feel compelled to challenge the person who thinks he's never wrong. Clarify what the person says, in your own words to ascertain that you've received the information accurately. Listen for unstated meaning that lets you know why the person feels compelled to defend a side or belief that is clearly in contradiction to what you see or hear. Monitor the feelings expressed by the person, even as he affirms that he believes he is in the right.
Dealing with a person who is never wrong usually causes problems due to interpersonal conflicts. You can initiate conflict resolution by clarifying the problem without also resorting to blame. Once you have explained how the person's behavior affects you, work with them to negotiate solutions together. The best solutions, explains the University of Oregon in their online publication "Managing Conflict," focus on the needs of the other person. This translates into considering a win-win solution that allows both of you to compromise.
If all your efforts fail in dealing with the person who always has to be right, your sanity might be better preserved by disconnecting from him. Disconnect by refusing to answer phone calls, texts or emails or by avoiding unnecessary conversations with him. Remain civil, but stick to the topic at hand in unavoidable conversations. Be polite and don't engage in conversations that have escalated in the past to arguments about who is right. Reach out to social supports for encouragement and security in disengaging.
Maura Banar has been a professional writer since 2001 and is a psychotherapist. Her work has appeared in "Imagination, Cognition and Personality" and "Dreaming: The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Dreams." Banar received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Buffalo State College and her Master of Arts in mental health counseling from Medaille College.