Have you ever been in a situation in which the other person is prepared to have a full stand up argument with you simply so that they can be right? It’s funny how something can go from a disagreement about how best to do something to a fight to win at all costs. To behave this way can have a huge impact on our relationships.
This happened to me the other day. I had a difference of opinion with a friend of mine. It didn’t matter how far I was prepared to compromise, she simply refused. We had completely different opinions about how best to do something but needed to find some sort of middle ground to move forward. It got to the point where it had to be her way or no way and that made me feel very sad.At some point we have to decide what's more important: being right or being friends. Click To Tweet
We don’t always have to agree.
I recall a friend from high school years ago who just didn’t see eye to eye with me on anything. It was a still a positive relationship though. Our differences didn’t stop us from being great friends. We both simply agreed to disagree. We moved on to something else when we couldn’t find any middle ground. I don’t ever recall even coming close to having having an argument with her.
We had what I suppose you would call robust discussions in which neither of us became emotionally invested. When I think about it now I believe that what we did was put the value of the friendship ahead of our own need to be right. That is a valuable lesson to have learned so young. I attempt to put it in place in every interaction I have in both work and private life.
Relationships can be mended if we are prepared to work at it.
As a teacher we like to use a process called ‘restorative justice’ to mend the relationships between students who have hurt one another in some way. Students are given the opportunity to work together to resolve the situation. The victim is given the recognition needed and the perpetrator the support to change their behaviour for the future.
We teach the children to think about the feelings of the other person. We help them admit when they are wrong and try to help them to move forward, if not as friends, then as people who can at least show respect towards each other.
We focus on the relationships because that is really what life is all about.
It’s not always easy.
Sure, it’s not possible to like everyone we meet. However, if we can’t agree to disagree, manage to get along with others and build the capacity to work together, very little can be achieved.
Is it necessary to be right at the cost of the relationship? What do you think?