We all know a person who thinks they are always right – and they are usually the most challenging!
Someone who thinks they are always right could have a number of needs, according to psychological studies. Whether it is for selfish reasons, or perhaps they just cannot be proved wrong – sometimes it is simply useless to strive to always be right.
Here are three personality traits in people who think they are always right – and why they have probably got it wrong!
1. They are so keen to be always right, they interrupt others – so they are terrible listeners!
New research on emotional intelligence and personality disorders suggests that people with certain types of personality trait are likely to lack the interpersonal awareness needed to control their over-controlling impulses.
This makes them prone to interrupting others. As well as making them seem like a bit of a know-it-all, it is also a social stigma to interrupt others and profess expertise unnecessarily. It makes you appear less approachable and less considerate of others.
What’s more, according to a recent study, if you think you are always right, you are likely to fall into the category of a bad listener. This is because you are so keen to get your point across that you fail to listen to others and, therefore, rush people through explanations, or, disrespect conversations by not hearing others out. These are all traits that make those who think they are always right, lack good listening skills.
2. They refuse to empathise
As well as interrupting others, people who believe they are always right challenge other social norms – and actually end up getting it all wrong! You know the person I am referring to. The one who has all the answers so forbids others to speak – but they also refuse to accept the feelings of others.
There is evidence of this in research by Marta Krajniak et al (2018), who conducted a questionnaire study on the relationship between personality disorder symptoms and emotional intelligence. The study was carried out on a sample of first-year undergraduates with the intention of examining the personality factors that predict college adjustment.
Although their research focused specifically on issues related to college adaptation, their findings provide intriguing suggestions about the ways in which people who try to dominate everyone else. They use their own views of the world to make life difficult for everyone, including themselves.
Krajniak et al concluded that people high in emotional intelligence should be able to adjust their behaviour to that of the people they’re with rather than to insist on having their own way.
In a social situation, in this framework, an opinionated friend would be considered as someone low in emotional intelligence because they can’t recognise and respect your point of view.
3. They feel defensive
Finally, a person who thinks they are always right is also quite often on the defensive. However, make sure you don’t get rattled yourself (easier said than done, I know!) as it could lead to a more stressful situation.
It is certainly annoying to have to defend your own viewpoints and preferences in the face of continued opposition. Whilst the temptation is to succumb to a full-blown argument, try to be emotionally intelligent by controlling your own reactions. You can then set a good example for this other person to follow in the future.
People who constantly try to show that they’re right and that you’re wrong will naturally make you feel defensive. It’s possible that there’s some truth to what you’re hearing, so try to decide if perhaps you’re the one who needs to change.
If you think you are stuck in the always-right loop, here are a few ways to break it.
You earn respect when you admit you made a mistake or acknowledge what you don’t know. It shows your human side and makes you more likable. It also shows confidence and openness.
When in a group, validate someone else’s opinion over yours — and mean it. Say it out loud, and notice how people respond positively to your contribution, and to you. Repetition of this will build your reputation of generosity and thoughtfulness.
Answers are multi-sided.
Often, there’s more than one solution to a problem. Believing this allows you to consider other approaches and opinions. Come up with at least two answers to a problem and share them both to get reactions. How does it feel to be both right and not-so-right at the same time? Is there an opportunity to collaborate instead of dictating?
Empathy opens doors.
Listening to different points of view can expose you to new ideas and paths for exploration and growth. How to practice this: Instead of tearing down someone else’s idea, ask yourself, Is this true? Is there an opportunity here? Is there anything to change? What does this make me want to learn about? The answers will get even richer if you solicit thoughts from one or two other people.
By the way, if you don’t know anyone who thinks they are always right – chances are it is you! 🙂