If you’re right, you’re right. There’s no arguing with that. And if you’re wrong, you have to admit it, acknowledge it, acquiesce to the more knowledgeable person whose intelligence you’ve slighted with your misinformation… Yet so many of us cannot handle being wrong. We won’t admit it. We will barely even admit it to ourselves. We will steer the conversation away or drop it completely when we realize that we are wrong. Or worse, we’ll argue that we were never saying the wrong thing – that we were misheard, misinterpreted, words were put in our mouths, and so on and so forth.
I also hate being wrong. I pride myself in knowing what I know, being sure of what I know, and knowing what I don’t know – and in those areas, I will not claim to know things, nor pronounce opinions, and will carefully express my lack of knowledge in the domain before entering into the conversation. Despite being so careful, I still get it wrong way to often (at least in my opinion). In moments like these, I force myself to eat that humble pie despite my dry mouth and constricting throat. I pipe up or send that text or email stating that I was wrong. I don’t deny that the apology catches in my throat and that I could be much more gracious about it, but I do it – and for me that’s what matters.
But when I’m right and you think I’m wrong… Well, then I will research the subject to death. I will find all the proof on the Internet that I am right and, if I think you can take it, I will send you all of this proof in a long profuse email. If I think you can’t take it, then I will just keep it to myself and smile smugly away at you, knowing what I know. The worst is when I am convinced that I’m right and I am in fact wrong. When this happens, I spend even more time researching in a desperate effort to find that one article that contradicts all the other ones, until finally I shamefully give in and accept my own stupidity (and mentally whip myself over and over again).