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You're Not Right

February 21, 2013

Could it be that the key to a happy relationship is giving up on the concept of ever being right? The truth is, the very words “right” and “wrong” have almost no place in our conversations with loved ones. (With the exception, of course, the big Wrongs, such as non-consensual violence and cruelty.) People are entitled to their desires, and their partners or family members or friends are entitled to accept or refuse them. But even if you don’t like what your loved one is asking for, that doesn’t make them incorrect. It just means that each of you has to give in a little to find a middle ground.


If we accept this—that neither party is wrong—it takes away the blame, the defensiveness, the judgments. What we’re left with is two people with (sometimes wildly) differing opinions. If you want to get along with this person, don’t try to change their opinion or transform it into your own. Instead, try to find a compromise.


After all, you didn’t choose this person because they were exactly, 100% similar to you. You picked them because you saw qualities in them that you admired or wanted to emulate, qualities that were by definition different from yours. Or they’re family members, thrust upon you in the genetic poker game. Either way, since this person is not exactly like you, he or she will always have different points of view. And even when those points of view are really annoying, they’re still valid.


Seriously. Even if your boyfriend wants to, say, French-kiss frogs and you’d rather go dancing. You don’t get to say that dancing is inherently more valuable than frog-kissing. You have two options (and making him think differently is not one of them): either break up with him, or find a middle ground. Dancing with frogs? Kissing frogs and then doing a dance? Watching two TV shows that involve dancing and frogs?


This is true of almost any conflict in which the relationship is important to you. Give a little and get a little, or leave. To ask someone to change who they are is never going to work for a long-term relationship. And judging their needs as “wrong” is just, well, not right.

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