“I enter into no arguments with people over trivial matters.”
It reminded me of a situation last week when I nearly allowed myself to fall into this trap.
As one who possesses the inclination to “have to be right” as well as the need to communicate that “rightness” (believe me, I’m not bragging about that inclination. I’ve worked hard to overcome it and am most of the way there), it’s easy for me to debate a topic until I feel the person understands and accepts my view.
The key question is, “why?” Why would I – or anyone – have the need to do so when the matter is trivial? (I’d say “ego” but that’s another blog post) 😉
*Please don’t confuse this with approaching a matter that is indeed important. There is a time and place where you discuss until the point that one of you changes their mind or you simply agree to disagree.
This was not, however, one of those rare times. It was one of the 95 percent of the times when being right – and just as importantly – making the other person wrong, and making them feel wrong, would have been totally counterproductive.
How do we avoid this trap? Here are a few suggestions that have worked for me:
- Be Aware of The Problem: We must acknowledge this tendency in order to be able to correct it.
- Be Aware of The Specific Situation: Is it about to happen? Catch yourself before “jumping in.”
- Ask Yourself If Any Good Can Come Out of It: If you prove yourself right and him or her wrong, will anything change for the better in the big scheme of things? Is it necessary for you to do this?
- Ask Yourself What Might Be The Result: Will arguing over this trivial matter cause this person to like you more? Dislike You? Feel emotionally safer with you? Feel emotionally less safe with you? Will he or she feel good about you? Will he or she resent you?
Any other thoughts on this topic or suggestions for overcoming this habit? Feel free to share.