Monday, December 15, 2008

Do you HAVE to be right?!

I must admit that today was not a great day by any stretch of the imagination. Through a series of events, that I'm not going to discuss here, I spent a good portion of the day frustrated and upset because of things that were going on around me. Over the course of the evening (and after a nice venting session with my roommates and a few others), I've mostly been able to shake the events of the day off, but there's still a topic I want to discuss here in order to get it off my chest. If I would have known how liberated my blog can help me feel, I would have started it months ago!! Now that I know I can use it to the fullest extent.

When I was growing up, there was a series on the Disney channel that I used to really enjoy watching. It was about a single mother with her five children living in Oklahoma. I remember one of the episodes was about the oldest daughter, Dorothy Jane, calling into this radio show for some reason or another (which I think may have involved relationship advice). The lady on the show was this boisterous black lady who ended every conversation with, "Am I right, baby? Come on, you know I am!"

The events of today have made me think about that for one particular reason: why is it so many people around me feel the need to be right all the time?! More importantly, why does it have to be an "in your face" kind of right instead of a more subtle I'm right? I can be opinionated but for the most part, I take a softer approach to the opinions I have. Unless I have a vested interest in a topic, feel pretty certain I'm right or am up against someone with unreasonably strong opinions, I'm not going to make an issue out of something. As I admitted in a previous post, if people get carried away in the opinions they express (i.e. "my opinion or none at all" mentality), then I sometimes feel the need to take the opposite stance simply because I can. :) And you all thought I was nice!

Anyway, I had two situations happen to me today where people decided they were right, and it was the "in your face" right that I can't stand! I'm not going to talk about one of them but I am going to mention parts of the other one, partially because I kind of brought it upon myself.

I was writing a script based on something that another person had written when I noticed what I was pretty certain was a mistake. Here's where the bad side of me comes out: I got excited to point the mistake out to the person because they'd pointed something out to me only the week before, so I must admit, I was feeling a little vindictive. And boy did my choice ever have consequences! Well, maybe not so much consequences as backlash.

I went in a started a polite conversation with this person and then kindly, but firmly, pointed out to them that they'd made a mistake. I could see that the person A) didn't believe me and B) had no intention of being wrong, so she started searching for any and all evidence to the contrary. She kept insisting, "I believe you, I really do" but yet she had to search her three dictionaries, 20 Web sites and consult with her lawyer brother just to be certain. All the while she was collecting evidence (which took about 20 minutes, BTW) she kept insisting that she was convinced I was 85 percent right but she wanted to find out for sure.

I was so incredulous at the lengths she was taking, and the fact that she made me stand there to watch when I could have been doing something more productive, that I started to laugh. I tried to keep it in at first but as I got more fed up with her constant assurances (which were nothing but baloney) and incredulous that she couldn't take me at my word, that I was giggling pretty hard, more out of annoyance than anything else. As I left her office, she calls after me, "You're so cute, Tammy." That only made things worse because I knew that she was only trying to butter me up because that's what she does anytime she's in a conflict with you. However, I was having none of it! I was thinking, Don't you try to butter me up when you've just spent the last 20 minutes doing everything in your power to prove me wrong!!

I finally escaped from her office and then, feeling the need for some vindication, recruited my other team members to help prove my point. See, I now had a stake in the situation, so I was determined to find out that I was right. Yes, I know I was being contrary, and I freely admit that. The results: we were both kind of right. In some usages it's more common to use the word as I said it needed to be spelled and in other cases, it was the way she spelled it. I was just galled at the intensity she exhibited while trying to prove she was right and that she couldn't possibly accept me at my word. But really that's what I get for being vindictive!

I get frustrated sometimes because I am a nice person so I don't know how I keep ending up around all these people with strong opinions, which is fine, until they decide their opinion is the ONLY right one, so they try to steamroll over me with it. Even some of my favorite people to be around do this to me, and it irks me almost beyond belief! I am getting better at standing my ground, and I've been delighted to see my contrary streak developing to the point that I will sometimes take the opposite side, just because I can. Mostly I'm opposed to that idea just because I hate it when people do that to me, but at the same time, it's sometimes a good way of pulling myself out from underneath the steamroller. . .

1 comment:

Confuzzled said...

Some of us just don't do subtle. Also, some of us take umbrage at the use of the word "steamroller" as some of us don't usually attempt to steamroll you . . .

And then, some of us are right more often than we're wrong. And let's be honest: that doesn't help the egos of some of us ;)