I’m Right — and You’re Wrong!

I’m Right — and You’re Wrong! by Susan Ingram

{2:36 minutes to read}

I just attended a monthly peer group meeting with my mediation colleagues. One of the subjects that came up and generated a lively discussion was the need we humans have “to be right,” which typically means that the other person must be wrong when he or she doesn’t agree with us.

Of course, that’s what happens when we look at things purely from one vantage point – things are black or white, right or wrong; one person wins and the other loses. Period! And as you can guess, this approach does not help move dialogue along or generate viable options for people to live together (or apart, in the case of divorcing couples).

As it happens, Seth Godin, marketing expert and high-profile blogger, recently touched upon this same subject in one of his blogs. Interestingly, Godin makes us stop and think as he flips the concept to start from the opposite perspective – that the other person is always right! Here’s his short blog on the topic:

The other person is always right

Always right about feelings.

About the day he just experienced.

About the fears (appropriate and ill-founded) in his life.

About the narrative going on, unspoken, in his head.

About what he likes and what he dislikes.

You’ll need to travel to this place of ‘right’ before you have any chance at all of actual communication. [1]

We all need to understand that, yes indeed, each of us is right – based upon our own perceptions, since we typically filter out information that is not pertinent to how we view our world. The challenge is to help ourselves open up to a broader perspective, in which we understand that the other person is also right.

When we are both right, we can truly hear the words of the other and develop deeper understanding and empathy. This then enables a collaborative approach which will result in a more positive experience and relationship.

Are you willing to take this perspective and see if it can change the outcome of a contentious conversation or difficult relationship?


[1] Godin, Seth. “The Other Person Is Always Right.” Seths_blog. Http://sethgodin.typepad.com/, 6 Dec. 2016. Web. 8 Dec. 2016.

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