Don’t Argue, Especially When You’re Right!


Don’t argue even if you are right, and I can say this because as a person who has many different ideas, I’ve learnt that people don’t want to change their minds, even if they are wrong.

Often you won’t have much effect on people when you argue with them; this is similarly true when you are right. Often people take their ideas personally, so they feel attacked when their ideas are questioned. Because of this, arguments usually result in anger rather than changed minds.

Everyone has different sets of ideas; this is what makes people and conversations interesting. But at the same time, people often take their ideas personally, so if you disagree, they feel attacked and put up their defences.

If you find that you are getting into arguments, or people are getting disagreeing with what you say, keep on reading as we will explore why this is happening.

Don’t Argue Even If You Are Right

There is so much going on in the world that it is challenging to keep track of if you aren’t reading the news all the time. On top of this, the news often presents ideas in simplified ways that tend to miss important details or the point altogether. As a result, most people know a little about many things, but not a lot about anything in particular.

Often if you do a little bit of research or try to understand a topic better, you will quickly discover that the story on the news isn’t all that correct, though it might have simplified something complex. However, due to the world’s growing complexity, people are quick to rely on simple stories because that is all they have time for.

As you learn more about a topic and start to talk to people about it, it becomes apparent that many people don’t know anything about the things that they have very strong opinions about.

For the most part, this doesn’t matter as understanding what is happening on the other side of the world doesn’t often affect our day-to-day lives. But at the same time, occasionally, issues slip into our worlds, and people’s misunderstandings start to become a severe problem.

When we understand a topic, we are often quick to notice and comment on misinformation. As a computer programmer, it is easy for me to spot my parents’ mistaken ideas about how the technology works when it comes to computers. However, if I get too excited and tell them they are wrong or go too much into the details, they won’t be interested or will tune out. However, if I try to explain and educate them, they might be more open to understanding the topic, even if it takes a few conversations.

Educating someone is always better than trying to winning an argument.

Arguing doesn’t work because it makes people put up their guards and often leads to disagreement where it doesn’t need to exist. Whereas educating is usually more pleasant to take in, but also less aggressive, so it doesn’t become something people want to fight against.

Unfortunately, often people don’t want to be educated, and if you go around educating everyone, they are going to think you are a jerk. Being too sure of yourself works when it comes to being an authority, but depending on your approach, it can quickly turn people off of what you are saying, even if you are right.

On the other hand, if a disagreement arises, people tend to get pushed into a position to defend themselves. Part of why this happens is because we often think that our ideas are ‘ours’ and represent us. So when our beliefs are attacked, we might feel like we are being attacked.

This means that disagreement frequently leads to a confrontation of personalities rather than facts.

As a teenager, a friend had a message board, and all of my friends used to chat there. At times, I would get in long arguments with one of my other friends about stuff that I didn’t necessarily believe but somehow got stuck defending. I can’t say if this is something related to our language, or just the way I have learnt to think, but it seems pretty standard practice that people get stuck defending what they have said even if they don’t believe it anymore.

But even if we get stuck defending ideas that we don’t necessarily agree with, it is still hard to admit that we are wrong. It sucks to have to say you were standing up for the wrong side or that you disagree with what you had said before. Again, this comes down to us feeling like we are our ideas, rather than our ideas being something outside of ourselves.

This comes back to my main point, and that is that you shouldn’t argue even if you are right because people don’t want to change their minds and will become defensive if they are challenged. This is even more difficult when we know our facts and notice how often other people are wrong.

At the same time, we don’t always realize that we are wrong, so we defend ourselves all the same.

My central argument is that no one ever wins a debate; instead, everyone gets angry at everyone else while keeping their original views. Don’t argue even if you are right because arguments are more about being right rather than getting to the truth. On top of this, being right often doesn’t have much to do with the facts anyways.

The Truth Is Relative

Many people seem to think that the truth is written in stone and that there is only one way to understand something. Of course, this is a substantial generalization, but let me go on. Certain truths are undeniable; the sky is blue, trees are green, water makes us wet, and the sun feels warm.

None of my previous examples are disagreeable, as they all represent simple ideas that can easily be experienced. We could go into the details of why those statements are correct, but we can also use our eyes and confirm for ourselves. The problem is that so many other things in our lives and the world around us aren’t as straightforward. There is often no single experiment that we can do ourselves to explain a conflict on the other side of the world.

Most of what we consider truth is more often an opinion as to know the truth requires evidence, which often doesn’t actually exist or can’t be separated from opinion.

But the confusion often comes down to people not knowing the difference. We could dig deep into the relativity of truth, but this isn’t the place for that conversation right now.

Instead, let’s assume that most of what we consider truth is instead an opinion and that arguments are mostly about beliefs rather than facts. If we can accept that we are arguing about beliefs rather than reality, we can understand why the truth is relative. You shouldn’t argue even if you are right, because arguments are often about opinions and everyone has their own opinion.

Everyone Wants to be Right

People always want to be right; this doesn’t mean they have the facts straight or even proper evidence; instead, it is often about winning an argument. In part, people want to be right because it feels good; it makes us appear smarter, making us seem better than the people around us.  

Wanting to be right is more about how it makes us feel rather than reflecting on reality or the world around us. Being right is almost like winning a competition or being better than everyone else. The point is that everyone wants to verify their thinking, and they want to believe they were the best judge of the circumstances.

Even if we aren’t correct, it still feels good to be right, and for the most part, people don’t know the difference.

Don’t argue even if you are right because being right is more about how you feel after an argument rather than getting to the truth. Also, people get hurt when they lose an argument because they feel like they have failed, not because their ideas were proven incorrect. Avoiding arguments evade the hurt that they can cause.

We Are Anchored To The First Thing We Hear

One thing that seems to be an essential factor in how people see the world and formulate their opinions is anchoring. Anchoring is a cognitive biasOpens in a new tab. where people overvalue the first pieces of information they hear about a topic. This matters because if someone is tricked by the first thing they hear about, or more accurately, if they are misinformed, they will continue to hold tight to that belief.

It is challenging to get people to change their minds, even when they are wrong.

This all comes back to why we shouldn’t argue even if we are right because assuming we have the facts correct, most people are still anchored to the first thing they hear, so it will always be an uphill battle to change their minds. Regardless of why the first piece of information was incorrect, it will always be a challenge to change minds because that info informs most opinions.

It is always a good idea to fight for the truth and an accurate representation of reality. But if convincing people of the facts turns into an argument, it is better not to argue even if you are right, because people would rather win than learn the truth.

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Robert Carr

Over the years, I've learnt to see things in a different light. This website is my place to share those insights and give my unique perspective on living a meaningful life.

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