How to argue with someone who thinks they are always right

Written by Rachel Eddins

Few things are more frustrating than having a conversation with someone who thinks they’re always right—especially because that means that they also think you’re always wrong.

But it’s even worse when it’s your spouse who thinks they’re always right.

No matter how much you try to get them to see your point of view, nothing changes. But you have more choices than to continue putting up with it or heading for divorce court. Here are some strategies to try first.

Seek Marriage Counseling

Seeing a marriage counselor gives you a second opinion from an impartial third party. This will be helpful because many people with spouses who are perpetually right begin to distrust their own perceptions. It’s crucial to understand it’s simply not possible for you to always be wrong. In a safe, therapeutic environment, you may be reassured by the opinion of a trained, outside observer that you’re not always wrong.

Your spouse may also get the message that they aren’t always right, though it may take time for them to listen to and acknowledge that fact. While you can’t change your spouse’s beliefs, you can learn how to deal with their behavior. An experienced, local marriage counselor in Houston can help you learn effective coping techniques.

Decide Not to Engage Your Partner’s Ego

You don’t want to argue with someone who is always right!

Understand, when you have a spouse who insists that they are always correct, legitimate, or reasonable, they’re setting you up for debate. After all, the goal is to demonstrate that you are wrong in contrast to their opinions or actions, not that your position is another valid perspective. In fact, they may lack the skill to consider perspectives other than their own or simply have a high need to be in control. The good news? You don’t have to play along.

Be inquisitive, open to discussion, and politely receptive to your partner’s point of view. But remain self-aware. Do you feel inadequate or voiceless? Check in with yourself often when you interact with your spouse. The truth is, even if you’re 100 percent certain that your answer is correct, your spouse isn’t likely to admit that you’re actually right or even have a good point. Why?

Because his or her desire to be “always right” is about their own ego, not about proving objective facts. It’s a way of protecting their own insecurity and self-doubt. It’s a losing battle to engage in a debate.

Maintain Your Calm

Recognize that you can choose to breathe and maintain your own sense of calm when your partner insists they have all the answers. Most of all, keep in mind that you are always in control of your own reaction. You can decide to respond without reacting emotionally, or shutting down, or getting into another argument.

Weigh your options for disengagement. Verbally exit the conversation or physically remove yourself if things escalate. You may even want to let your partner know that communication has reached a point that you feel an objective party will need to help you disrupt this unproductive pattern going forward.

Take our Relationship Attachment Style Quiz and find out.

Set Boundaries to Signal the Required Respect & Honor Your Connection

Is your partner trying to control you? Maybe. Or maybe their behavior has nothing to do with you at all (most likely it has to do with deeply ingrained patterns they have developed to protect their ego). Work with a couples counselor can help you dig deeper into the dynamics between you.

Revisit the conversation after some time has passed and you have both cooled off. Draw your partner’s attention to the interaction and firmly refuse to accept such treatment. This isn’t a power grab or an opportunity to argue your point. Be careful of engaging in a blame game of your own. Your goal is to simply preserve your own integrity, share your feelings – how their behavior impacts you – ask for what you need instead, and prioritize your relationship. Be respectful in how you communicate and model the behavior you are seeking. Learn more about relationship boundaries.

Let your partner know you love them and are willing to engage in a caring and compassionate way. If your partner then changes course and communicates respectfully, feel free to continue the conversation with the intention of mutual sharing and understanding.

If not, it’s perfectly okay to let your spouse know that the conversation can only resume when you can both be heard. Likely, they will continue to impose their opinion upon you, since most people with this issue don’t like it when they lose the upper hand. You are well within your rights to stand your ground and agree to disagree. You don’t have to defend yourself, continue to prove your partner wrong, dishonestly agree, or yield to their control.

In fact, simply taking a break once conversations become one-sided or argumentative can prevent further relationship damage. By setting boundaries, your spouse will eventually figure out that their behavior isn’t getting the desired results. When that point is clear, you may be able to begin constructing new communication ground rules.

Determine If You’re Dealing with a Narcissist

Again, marriage counseling is useful in helping you to deal with your spouse. You may also be able to determine if your spouse is a narcissist. Narcissists are incapable of seeing situations from another person’s perspective and need the admiration of others. For this reason, they may doggedly pursue acknowledgment that they are “right” in every situation. It is more difficult to convince true narcissists of the need to change their behavior. The support of a therapist or counselor is very helpful in this situation.

How to argue – and win

We’ve all been there: in the middle of an argument it suddenly dawns on you that, no matter what you say or do, your opponent is going to take the win. Not because they’ve used reason and logic to secure their triumph but because they have an insatiable need to Always. Be. Right.

It can be incredibly frustrating to enter into an argument with a person like this, but this character flaw can be managed. Remember, a person’s constant need to be right is most certainly masking their desperate fear of being wrong, and in the end, that fear is driving them to prevail by any means necessary. Try these tips to make these arguments and conflicts as painless as possible.

Stay strong but stay calm

It’s important to maintain your confidence if you truly feel you have a strong position. However, allowing emotion to enter the equation is almost always a recipe for disaster – because this tends to be seen as weakness by your challenger. Those that feel they are “always right” often pride themselves on being extremely rational. Be firm in your stance but never angry or desperate. A clear head and a steady tone will get you a lot further every time.

Qualify each point with evidence

Your rival will be intent on breaking down your argument, so make sure you can give clear evidence for each point you make. It can be pretty difficult to tear down a well-structured defence. This means you’ll need to be prepared for the pending confrontation. Ultimately, this isn’t always possible, of course, because arguments pop up at the most inopportune times, but do your best to be prepared in any case.

What is it about so many of us that promotes within us an insatiable need to be right? Many of us wonder how to argue with someone who thinks they are always right, but few of us stop to consider if we’re doing the same thing.

We see this a lot in politics right now. People vilify their opponents, and become so entrenched in their own ideas that they’re unwilling to consider any other position. It becomes a point of pride.

When we find ourselves in this situation, it is invariably because someone “did this or that” and until they apologize, collaboration will remain an out of reach elusive dream. As you can imagine, this is very toxic in the workplace.


I was recently scheduled to meet and discuss a workplace situation with a client.

When she arrived for the meeting I noticed she was carrying two 3-inch binders, both of which were filled to capacity.

I had thought she wanted to meet and explore her options; different ways of resolving the numerous conflicts in her life.

Boy, was I wrong.

She shared story after story to illustrate the unfair, unjust, unethical, unwarranted, unappreciated, unprovoked and unprofessional conduct to which she was exposed daily.

And those 3 inch binders?

Well, they were bursting with what she saw as incontrovertible evidence in support of her claims of ill treatment.

She pulled out letters, emails, screencaps, copies of documents and forcefully shoved them across the table for me to review. Some of these related to events that had taken place so long ago I swear her notes were actually drawings of figurines carved into small pieces of rock.

I think I was supposed to read each page and acknowledge my support for her cause.

Perhaps she thought I was a judge who would render a verdict in her favour and force those who had so maliciously wronged her to suffer mightily as they repented the error of their ways.

I wanted to interrupt her but was afraid, lest my very words and actions be placed in one of her files for use at a later hearing.


Philosopher Baruch Spinoza said “no matter how thin you slice it, there will always be two sides.”

After considerable time had passed I realized she probably was not going to share with me the “other” side. I finally did pluck up enough courage to point out that I was getting the point she was making. I told her that I understood that she believed that she was continually on the receiving end of poor and unprofessional treatment at the hands of her colleagues, and asked her the one question that can shift the thinking of someone who always thinks they’re right.


I asked her what outcome she hoped to achieve in her future interactions.

She paused, gazed blankly straight ahead after, after much internal deliberation declared that what she wanted was for all these folks to stop finding fault with everything she does, stop criticizing her every breath, and to provide her with the same workplace environment and opportunities afforded to every other employee.

I asked what she thought needed to happen to achieve this end result and what role she needed to play in resolving these matters.

She told me that in order for a lasting peace treaty to be declared, each of the offenders would need to sincerely apologize to her for their behaviour. Without said apology, sustainable peace was not an option.

When I asked her what her response would be if each of “them” felt that she was the cause of all conflict and should therefore be the one offering apologies she gave me a withering look.

It was, however, the first time she paused to consider anyone else’s position.


It seemed to me that to her, it was more important to be right than to create an environment that could be embraced by all.

The problem with being right is that for that to happen it is necessary for one or others to be wrong and when we all hold firm to the belief that we are right and therefore, cannot possibly be wrong, then the only possible result is the continuation of an untenable situation made bearable only by the feelings of superiority that come with being right.

All those things “they” did to us have already happened. They happened in the past.

History is what it is. We can never change it.

What we can do is choose the affect it has on us. One way to start this process is to ask ourselves what our ideal outcome is. Usually the ideal outcome will not be brought about by gathering ammo against your opponents.

Perhaps if we can reach a place within ourselves where it doesn’t matter who was right and who was wrong, and instead focus on behaviours that unite rather than divide, then our lives would be less stressful and more joyful.

And we wouldn’t have to spend our days collecting evidence in 3 inch binders.

A colleague who always thinks they’re right can be extremely frustrating. There are a few ways to keep the relationship productive and professional. The next time you find yourself in a debate with this person, don’t fight back — escalating an argument won’t change their behavior. Instead, let the conversation come to an end, and […]

A colleague who always thinks they’re right can be extremely frustrating. There are a few ways to keep the relationship productive and professional. The next time you find yourself in a debate with this person, don’t fight back — escalating an argument won’t change their behavior. Instead, let the conversation come to an end, and […]

A colleague who always thinks they’re right can be extremely frustrating. There are a few ways to keep the relationship productive and professional. The next time you find yourself in a debate with this person, don’t fight back — escalating an argument won’t change their behavior. Instead, let the conversation come to an end, and then meet with your colleague after you’ve had some time to reflect. Explain how their actions make you feel. You might say: “When we’re on different sides of an issue, you assert your views so strongly that I shut down. It would help me to know that you’re hearing my views too, even if we don’t agree.” Managers should consider how company culture may be contributing to the problem. If your culture prizes certainty or is especially competitive, the person’s behavior is probably to be expected. Help the team dynamic by asking everyone to come to discussions with both pros and cons about the topic. That will ensure no one can cling to one point of view.

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.

Humbleness counts.

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! 🙂

Here’s how to handle the know-it-alls in your life

How to argue with someone who thinks they are always right

Everyone knows a guy who always has to be right.

Maybe it’s your buddy who storms off the court when he disagrees with a foul call during pickup basketball. Or your boss who chews you out for his screwups.

You might call these people stubborn, hotheaded, or just plain assholes. But therapist Karyl McBride, Ph.D., has a different word for them: fragile.

That may not sound like the word you’d use to describe the guy who would fight you to the death over a word in Scrabble, but hear McBride out.

“People who always need to be right tend to have fragile egos,” she says. When they feel as if their self-image has been threatened, they want to make themselves look bigger or smarter, so they blame others. It’s a coping mechanism to deal with insecurity, she explains.

But that doesn’t mean you have to handle his fragile ego with kid gloves. Follow these tips to deal with the know-it-alls in your life.

Stay Calm

Even if you know your buddy, relative, or boss is dead wrong, the worst thing you can do is challenge him.

Fighting back makes him feel even more threatened, which will only cause him to dig in his heels, says McBride. When that happens, no one wins.

Instead, force him to reflect on his argument.

For instance, let’s say your manager blames you for a failed project, even though you followed his instructions to a T. Calmly ask him what you could have done differently so you can avoid the same mistake in the future, McBride says.

That single question leads to introspection. He now has to explain exactly where the project went off course, forcing him to think about what happened and how his own actions may have contributed to the end result, she explains.

If this scenario is a common occurrence, ask for your boss’s help before the next project begins.

Wendy Behary, founder and director of the Cognitive Therapy Center of New Jersey and author of Disarming the Narcissist, suggests saying to him, “I know I can learn a lot from you, so I’m hoping you can help me figure this out.”

You’ll not only boost his ego, but you’ll also have evidence that he supported—even helped formulate—your plan from the start.

Ask For Respect

It’s one thing if the person who has to always be right is your buddy. You can just choose not to hang out with him.

It’s another story if that person is your girlfriend or wife. You can’t sidestep conflict with her for the rest of your life, Behary says. You eventually need to work through the problem.

But don’t push back in the heat of the moment. Instead, wait until the next day to revisit your disagreement when you are both in a better, calmer mood.

Then explain to her that you have no problem shouldering the blame when it’s warranted, Behary says, but that it gets exhausting having to say “I’m sorry” all the time.

And remember, her stubbornness isn’t coming from a vindictive place. It ultimately stems from self-doubt.

Reassure her that you love her and want to work through this issue together. End with the fact that if you truly respect one another, you’ll both accept accountability when needed, she says.

Ditch Him

When your friend isn’t storming off the court, he’s actually a great guy. You may not want to dump him altogether, but you can be selective about when you hang out, says Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D., a Florida-based psychotherapist.

If you know which activities tend to bring out his hotheaded personality—like pickup ball or trivia night at the local bar—opt for a movie or a skiing trip instead.

And if he’s constantly a know-it-all who sucks the fun out of any activity: It’s time to cut him loose, says De Victoria. Your friends are there to help you de-stress—not add extra aggravation.

How to Handle Your Own Problem

Worried you’re the guy who always has to be right?

Here’s how to find out for sure: Try to remember the last time you apologized. If you can’t think of one, that’s a red flag, McBride says.

It’s not something to just shrug off. People who can never take blame are in danger of losing friendships and jobs, she says.

The need to always be right is ingrained, Behary explains. Undoing it will be tough, and you can’t expect to start eating humble pie over night. In fact, you may benefit from seeing a therapist who can help treat the underlying cause of your inability to express regret or back down.

However, you can slowly start to make it a habit. The next time you disagree with someone, ask yourself what’s your endgame. If the answer is to sidestep blame or prop yourself up, then you need to change the subject.

Or, you can simply say, “I may disagree, but I hear your point.” Then move on. It’s not exactly admitting you’re wrong, but it lets you put an end to the conversation before you get heated or have the urge to storm off.

And the next time you’re in a group and find yourself in a disagreement, take a look around.

You’ll probably notice the majority of the people aren’t really invested in the debate. Chances are, they just want it to be over. Take a deep breath and follow their lead. Become a spectator and let someone else try to prove they’re right for once. Save your energy for when you really have a point to prove.

  1. Five Benefits of Attentive Listening
  2. 4 Types of Behavior Intervention
  3. Effective Communication for Resolving Conflict Successfully
  4. Effective Face-to-Face Communication
  5. Examples of Conflict Avoidance

How to argue with someone who thinks they are always right

Attempting to have a fair conversation with someone who thinks he’s never wrong can be a source of frustration. Although being confident in your beliefs is usually a positive attribute, everyone knows a person who finds it virtually impossible to admit that they’ve done or said something wrong. As a result, you’re left wondering if a discussion is even worth the effort, since the person who just has to be right puts negotiation and honesty to the side. If you have no choice but to interact with that person regularly, consider taking a strategic approach to communication.

Express Your Feelings

Explaining how a person’s “never wrong” attitude affects you can be a good first step in pointing out why it’s a problem. Express your feelings by using personal pronouns, such as stating, “I feel frustrated.” Honest expression of your feelings can level the playing field with the person who thinks he’s never wrong. It also helps create an environment where you take the first step in disclosing your feelings as well as your challenges. Whether this will be an enlightening moment for the person who thinks he’s never wrong is something only known to that person. Ideally, explains the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, your relationship will grow stronger.

Active Listening

Active listening is a technique frequently used in counseling to encourage change to occur. You can listen actively by listening without judgment, no matter how much you feel compelled to challenge the person who thinks he’s never wrong. Clarify what the person says, in your own words to ascertain that you’ve received the information accurately. Listen for unstated meaning that lets you know why the person feels compelled to defend a side or belief that is clearly in contradiction to what you see or hear. Monitor the feelings expressed by the person, even as he affirms that he believes he is in the right.

Problem Solving

Dealing with a person who is never wrong usually causes problems due to interpersonal conflicts. You can initiate conflict resolution by clarifying the problem without also resorting to blame. Once you have explained how the person’s behavior affects you, work with them to negotiate solutions together. The best solutions, explains the University of Oregon in their online publication “Managing Conflict,” focus on the needs of the other person. This translates into considering a win-win solution that allows both of you to compromise.


If all your efforts fail in dealing with the person who always has to be right, your sanity might be better preserved by disconnecting from him. Disconnect by refusing to answer phone calls, texts or emails or by avoiding unnecessary conversations with him. Remain civil, but stick to the topic at hand in unavoidable conversations. Be polite and don’t engage in conversations that have escalated in the past to arguments about who is right. Reach out to social supports for encouragement and security in disengaging.

How to have a productive conversation with your local alternative facts fan.

How to argue with someone who thinks they are always right

Holiday family gatherings are right around the corner, which means you may soon find yourself face to face with that one kooky relative who believes that Obama is a Muslim, 9/11 was an inside job, or NASA staged the moon landing. Is there anything to do in this situation except change the subject and pour another glass of wine?

And how about the less loony but still substantive disagreements about facts? Is there any way to breach the divide if you’re faced with someone who simply doesn’t accept reality in some important way?

Most of us view these sorts of exchanges as hopeless causes, but not Ohio State University behavioral scientist Gleb Tsipursky. On the blog Relatively Interesting he offered an in-depth guide to dealing with denialism, whether it’s the outrageous political variety or a more day-to-day case of someone who refuses to pull their head out of the sand.

Facts don’t win arguments.

To kick off his useful post, Tsipursky points out that while conspiracy theories might be fringe examples, denialism itself isn’t at all uncommon. One four-year study that involved interviews with more than 1,000 board members, found that, when a CEO is ousted, 23 percent of the time it’s because he or she was unwilling or unable to accept some basic aspect of reality. When faced with threatening information, people often stick their heads in the sand.

Knowing that you have company in your misery might provide some comfort when faced with a reality denier, but how do you actually confront one? Tsipursky’s first and most important bit of advice is to forget facts. The problem is almost certainly one of emotions, not knowledge.

He offers a down-to-earth example to illustrate: “At a company where I consulted, a manager refused to acknowledge that a person hired directly by her was a bad fit, despite everyone else in the department telling me that the employee was holding back the team.” Why? “Facing facts would cause the CEO or the manager to feel bad.”

And because reality denial is more about identity than information, throwing facts at the problem usually backfires. “Research on a phenomenon called the backfire effect shows we tend to dig in our heels when we are presented with facts that cause us to feel bad about our identity, self-worth, worldview or group belonging,” Tsipursky warns.

A better way (sorry, it’s not easy).

So if facts can’t convince denialists to finally see the truth, what (if anything) can? Rational intelligence won’t work but emotional intelligence can. Your goal, according to Tsipursky, should be to make it possible for your friendly local denialist to switch teams without feeling the fool.

“Your goal should be to show emotional leadership and try to figure out what are the emotional blocks inhibiting your colleague from seeing reality clearly. To do so, use curiosity and subtle questioning to figure out their values and goals and how they shape their perception of self-identity,” he writes.

First, build trust. You may disagree entirely with your conversational partner, but try to convey to this person that you share his or her bedrock values. Rephrase what this person is saying so that he can see that you understand where he’s coming from. In the case of the CEO who refuses to acknowledge a bad hire, you might convey that you too worry about the cost of recruiting. If your uncle won’t believe in climate change out of economic concerns, start by explaining you are also worried about unemployment.

Now, you’re all set for the real conversational ninja move — you need to show the other party that his beliefs are actually in conflict with his own values and goals, all without making him defensive. It sounds like a tall order, but Tsipurksy insists it is possible. Offering concrete examples of people who have changed their minds can help. So can suggesting that a person’s previous opinion was understandable given the information he or she had at the time.

Your goal is to get that reality-challenged CEO to see that while his worries about the cost of hiring someone new are valuable, he’s actually losing the company more money keeping on a non-performing employee. Your uncle needs to be nudged to see that, while you agree people matter more than penguins, climate change is horrible for both.

Will this work with a truly entrenched flat-earther? Is it worth the effort? The answer to both questions may frequently be no, but for less outlandish and extreme denialism, these steps could help you ease your batty aunt or stubborn colleague back into the world of reality, saving not only that person’s sanity, but your own as well.

How to argue with someone who thinks they are always right

In response, you think, “but why did you still do the task wrong?”

At some point in your career you will run into an employee who thinks they know just about everything. If you are in a management position, this can single-handedly be the most difficult type of employee to manage. If you point out a flaw in what they are doing, they tend to crumble and take the criticism harshly. From there, they will become more difficult to work with and sometimes find ways to avoid being criticized, such as making excessive excuses or shifting the blame.

Most importantly though, the irrational employee can become that rotten person who ruins the whole team culture. Frances Geoghegan, Managing Director of Healing Holidays supporting this position by stating “A toxic environment can really affect an employee’s mental health and outlook on their job; it can make them question their worth and job security, which often makes them feel like they would be happier in another company.” Hence, irrational employees is not only a culture issue, but can become a retention one if managers are not careful.

Rotten People Can Ruin The Entire Team Culture

The fortunately news is while these employees are difficult to handle, there are ways to handle them effectively. No, it does not consistent of immediately firing them, or telling them that the world is not flat, but providing a systematic system to help curve this irrational behavior. I understand it’s fairly difficult not to explode at these types of employees. It’s similar to the kid in the front of the class who thinks they know everything. You just want to cut them off at a certain point and put them in the corner.

After working with dozens of industries and several countries on workplace dynamics, this question comes up a lot. Though Interesting enough, the solution is familiar similar across different industries and working environments. To avoid losing your cool and end up getting written by Human Resources, here are five steps to better handle employees who think they know everything.

Step 1: Reframe the Situation

For this step, I want you to do the unthinkable: pretend that they do know everything .

Why would I suggest something so crazy? Turns out that it is more difficult to convince someone of a flaw by telling them versus, having them realize the flaw on their own. In addition, if they do a good job in the workplace and they still believe that they know everything, it won’t do you any good to argue against their irrational belief.

Why would that be an effective thing to argue over? Digging into Cognitive Behavior Therapy , the irrational thought that someone thinks they know everything can come from several areas:

  1. At some point in their lives they had to be perfect in order to receive affection.
  2. Their level of intelligence is tied to their self worth, and if they know everything they are worth it as a human.
  3. They overcompensate because of a feeling of inadequacy.

Hence, if you argue with them on their irrationality, you are going against much more than just a mistake or an annoyance at work. That is why when a lot of managers point this out usually receive a strong reaction- the situation ties to an event much deeper. In addition, this strange mindset could have been taking place for years and it’s almost impossible to change someone’s mind in one conversation.

“Having them realize their mistake is much easier than you telling them they made one”

Step 2: Setting Quantifiable Boundaries

Now that you have reframed the situation effectively, you can now put together the system to help manage an irrational employee. This next sets up the tripwire to help them realize their mistakes without you having to beat them over the head with it. Essentially, for a particular task, setting clear boundaries/expectations.

For instance, if a report is due, you need to make sure exactly what you want on that report and the level of quality. I understand this will take a bit more thought for the manager, however, it will save tons of headaches towards the end of this process.

In addition, make sure to get buy-in from the employee who thinks they know everything on this step. Ask them if they understand the expectations, and have them recite it back to you. Once they do, you are in a verbal agreement of what is required of them. Make sure to document this for later.

Step 3: Providing Consistent Check Ins

Once the boundaries are in place, you will need to consistently check in on the employee’s results. If you forget this step, you won’t be able to regularly address issues that come up along the way in projects. Typically, you can utilize one on ones for reviewing past work, especially with new employees. Meaning that you will be meeting with them every other week or so to check in on progress.

**Caution: Make sure to avoid micromanagement in this step. Only check in during the times you have blocked off.**

Step 4: Walking Them Through Their Progress

Here is where step two helps so much! Once you are checking in on their work, since you have made the boundaries/expectations quantifiable so its black and white whether they have done a correct job, bringing up their mistake is an easy process.

  1. Ask them to recite the expectation o f the task.
  2. Prompt them if all the areas meet the standard.
  3. Ask them if they notice any area that was below par.
  4. Point out that they agreed upon the standard that is not being met.
  5. Have a reprimand ready for their mistakes.

Ultimately, you want to walk them through to their mistake instead of just telling them. Having them recite the expectation, walk them to the mistake and have them realize the error in their thinking ‘the results do not match the expectation.’ At this point they will need to uncover why this mistake has been taking place which leads us to step five.

Step 5: Don’t Take An Excuse For An Answer

If you do Step 4 effectively, you will probably get a pile on excuses of why the task was not performed correctly. Most of which will probably not be their fault. Making an excuse is a great way of not taking responsibility of the task.

Hence, when getting an barrage of the excuses tell them that:

“you want [x] accomplished by [y] date, or [z] reprimand will take place.

Don’t leave any wiggle wrong. By doing so, they will most likely be very frustrated because you are chipping away holes at their ‘perfect intelligence self image’, but most importantly, you are ensuring that they are producing quality work. You are setting boundaries and providing a relationship where your expectations are clear from them to do well in the role.

The best part of this process is that if you document everything and they continue to deliver sub par work, you have effective grounds to put them on performance review. Be systematic in your approach and it will be huge dividends to maintaining a strong and healthy culture.

People belonging to these 4 zodiac signs are know-it-alls. They tend to feel that they are superior to everyone else and thus, think that they know better.

There are some people who feel that they know best. They don’t really care about the opinion of other people and are self-absorbed and narcissistic. Such people feel that they are superior to everyone else and know everything about everything. They don’t feel the need to justify themselves to anyone.

Such people often come across as know-it-alls and irk people with their attitude and behaviour. According to astrology, there are 4 such zodiac signs who feel that they can never be wrong. Have a look at these zodiac signs below.

Leos have a God complex! They feel that they are better than everyone else and thus, are always right about everything. They don’t really take into account the opinion of others and tend to do what they think is best.

How to argue with someone who thinks they are always right

Since Virgos are obsessed with perfection and perceive themselves as know-it-alls, they tend to come across as someone who is snobby and arrogant. They don’t feel the need to explain themselves to anyone and feel that they can never be wrong about anything.

Sagittarians no matter how humble they may seem, feel that they are better than everyone else. They feel that they possess qualities and traits that no other sign possesses and thus, are capable of knowing a lot of things.

How to argue with someone who thinks they are always right

Pisces-born people are aware of the fact that they are different from most people. This unconventionalness compels them to think that they know better. They feel that they are wiser and more sensible than most people.

Disclaimer: While these attributes are generic, these are primarily focused on your zodiacal qualities; all the above traits may not necessarily hold true for you.

From being told when we may live or die to who we may marry, I’m getting fed up with everyone’s ‘religious viewpoints’

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. Photograph: Heathcliff O’Malley/Rex

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. Photograph: Heathcliff O’Malley/Rex

I ’m getting a tiny bit browned off with some “religious viewpoints”. We’ve had rather a lot of them lately, telling us when we may live or die, and who we may not marry. The Archbishop of Canterbury has been begging MPs to reject Rob Marris’s right-to-die bill, the pope still thinks abortion is a sin, and Kentucky clerk, Kim Davis, has refused to marry gay couples, because it would “violate her Apostolic Christian beliefs”.

Here we are, unable to cope with the numbers we’ve got, but being bossed about at both ends of life: to hang on when we’re desperate to peg out, or be forced to arrive when we’re not wanted.

To be fair, Justin Welby promises he’s not trying to “advance … religious viewpoints”, but he sounds a bit religious-viewpointy to me, signing his joint letter with only “faith leaders”. He’s worried about us being made to feel burdensome, but we don’t need egging on. We can feel burdensome all by ourselves if we so wish and decide we’ve had quite enough of life, thank you very much. Why hang about, kept going unnaturally, when one is demented, doubly-incontinent, locked-in, paralysed or in constant unbearable pain? Why make our children watch that and cope with it?

And I admit this pope is pretty good, as popes go. He’s urging Catholic parishes to take in refugees, he’s called unfettered capitalism “the dung of the devil”, which is lovely, but wouldn’t it be marvellous if he could manage not to link abortion with sin and crime? We don’t need to be forgiven by anyone, never mind fellows who are not familiar with sex, birth or women’s body parts.

But what of Kim Davis, who “loves her lord and her sins [have been] forgiven”? “She’s pretty mainstream over there,” says Fielding glumly. “Many people share her opinions.” A terrifying observation, but as it’s nearly the Catholic church’s “jubilee year of mercy”, I’ll forgive her. I have no choice. You can’t argue with religious people. If they think they’re right, they’re right. If non-believers think they’re right, they’re arrogant, which is the most enraging religious viewpoint of all.

By Josephine Fuller — Written on Aug 10, 2018

How to argue with someone who thinks they are always right

Have you ever met someone who has a problem with letting things go? Whether it’s a conversation about which sneakers are the comfiest or a whole debate about if the moon landing was faked or not — some people just need to be right.

Conversations with people like this can be especially taxing.

Certain people’s Myers Briggs personality type and specific personality traits can cause them to be more inclined to argue.

Some people argue just hear themselves talk. When they get bored, they may even go on the lookout for a juicy conversation to jump into. Other people do it because they feel like their opinion is more important than yours. This comes from a sense of over-importance, and can lead to an egomaniac personality.

Regardless of why they do it, people with these personality types just can’t help themselves.

A lot of us don’t have the great debate trait in us. Most people can just push things to the side or agree to disagree. Some just really hate getting into arguments. If you’re one of these people, it can be hard to find a way to avoid the others. Some days it’s like you’re constantly stuck between who want to disagree with you over every little thing.

If you really want to avoid debates everywhere you go, memorize these 6 personality types. These guys won’t let you out of an argument until they’ve decided it’s done.

Start making new coworkers, potential boyfriends, and other moms at daycare take the Myers and Briggs personality test and record your results. You’ll have a list of people to unfriend.

1. ENFP — Extraversion (E), Intuition (N), Feeling (F), Perception (P)

“The Campaigner”

These people don’t mind pushing the boundary a little bit when they get into a quarrel. They’re the type to argue with you just because they’re bored, but if you’re someone who’s close to them you should be in the clear.

Starting arguments that could hurt their important relationships isn’t exactly up their alley. They will talk to you like you’re a student, so get ready to get schooled.

2. INTJ — Introversion (I), Intuition (N), Thinking (T), Judgment (J)

​​“The Architect”

This is someone who will never shy away from a good debate. They love to be extremely well versed in things they’re interested in, so if you catch yourself in an argument with them then be prepared for it to be a long one.

While they will be open to what you have to say, they won’t walk away until they feel like they’ve taught you something, or influenced your opinion.

3. ENTJ — Extraversion (E), Intuition (N), Thinking (T), Judgment (J)

​​“The Commander”

If you don’t like being made feel like you’re stupid, or spoken to in a condescending manner, then avoid these people at all cost. They’re another group who will just argue for the sake of it, and if they even sense that you might say something wrong, they’ll grill you for it.

An argument with someone who’s ENTJ could definitely end in tears.

4. ENTP — Extraversion (E), Intuition (N), Thinking (T), Perception (P)

“The Debater”

Another one who loves to bicker. They have fun seeing how far they can go in an argument before the other person breaks.

Not all is lost in this situation though. Often times after they’ve had the last word, they will sit back and think about everything that was said and hang on to anything they may have learned.

5. ESTJ — Extraversion (E), Sensing (S), Thinking (T), Judgment (J)

​​“The Executive”

These arguments can get heated very quickly. They often become frustrated with the other person before they even start to talk.

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs. Read full profile

How to argue with someone who thinks they are always right

  • Share
  • Pin it
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Email

In a perfect world, each person we interact with would be nice, kind, considerate, mindful, generous, and more. They would get our jokes and we would get theirs. We would all thrive in a convivial atmosphere where no one was ever cross, upset, or maligned.

However, we don’t live in a perfect world. Some people drive us crazy, and we (admittedly) drive a few mad as well. Those we dislike are inconsiderate, rushed, malign our character, question our motives, or just don’t get our jokes at all — but expect us to laugh at all theirs.

You might wonder whether it is possible to be fair to someone who ruffles you all the time, or someone you’d rather avoid eating lunch with. You might wonder if you should learn to like every person you meet.

According to Robert Sutton (a professor of management science at Stanford University), it’s neither possible — nor even ideal — to build a team comprised entirely of people you’d invite to a backyard barbecue.

That’s why smart people make the most out of people they don’t like. Here’s how they do it.

1. They accept that they are not going to like everyone.

Sometimes we get caught in the trap of thinking that we are nice people. We think that we are going to like everyone we interact with — even when that’s not going to happen. It’s inevitable you will encounter difficult people who oppose what you think. Smart people know this. They also recognize that conflicts or disagreements are a result of differences in values.

That person you don’t like is not intrinsically a bad human. The reason you don’t get along is because you have different values, and that difference creates judgment. Once you accept that not everyone will like you, and you won’t like everyone because of a difference in values, the realization can take the emotion out of the situation. That may even result in getting along better by agreeing to disagree.

2. They bear with (not ignore or dismiss) those they don’t like.

Sure, you may cringe at his constant criticism, grit your teeth at her lousy jokes, or shake your head at the way he hovers around her all the time, but feeling less than affectionate to someone might not be the worst thing. “From a performance standpoint, liking the people you manage too much is a bigger problem than liking them too little,” says Sutton.

“You need people who have different points of view and aren’t afraid to argue,” Sutton adds. “They are the kind of people who stop the organization from doing stupid things.” It may not be easy, but bear with them. It is often those who challenge or provoke us that prompt us to new insights and help propel the group to success. Remember, you are not perfect either, yet people still tolerate you.

3. They treat those they don’t like with civility.

Whatever your feelings are for someone, that person will be highly attuned to your attitude and behavior, and will likely reflect it back to you. If you are rude to them, they will likely throw away all decorum and be rude to you too. The onus; therefore, is on you to remain fair, impartial, and composed.

“Cultivating a diplomatic poker face is important. You need to be able to come across as professional and positive,” says Ben Dattner, an organizational psychologist and author of The Blame Game. This way you won’t stoop to their level or be sucked into acting the way they do.

4. They check their own expectations.

It’s not uncommon for people to have unrealistic expectations about others. We may expect others to act exactly as we would, or say the things that we might say in a certain situation. However, that’s not realistic. “People have ingrained personality traits that are going to largely determine how they react,” says Alan A. Cavaiola, PhD (psychology professor at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey). “Expecting others to do as you would do is setting yourself up for disappointment and frustration.”

If a person causes you to feel exactly the same way every time, adjust your expectations appropriately. This way you’ll be psychologically prepared and their behavior will not catch you by surprise. Smart people do this all the time. They’re not always surprised by a dis-likable person’s behavior.

5. They turn inwards and focus on themselves.

No matter what you try, some people can still really get under our skin. It’s important that you learn how to handle your frustration when dealing with someone who annoys you. Instead of thinking about how irritating that person is, focus on why you are reacting the way you are. Sometimes what we don’t like in others is frequently what we don’t like in ourselves. Besides, they didn’t create the button, they’re only pushing it.

Pinpoint the triggers that might be complicating your feelings. You may then be able to anticipate, soften, or even alter your reaction. Remember: it’s easier to change your perceptions, attitude, and behavior than to ask someone to be a different kind of person.

6. They pause and take a deep breath.

Some personality characteristics may always set you off, says Kathleen Bartle (a California-based conflict consultant). Maybe it’s the colleague who regularly misses deadlines, or the guy who tells off-color jokes. Take a look at what sets you off and who’s pushing your buttons. That way, Bartle says, you can prepare for when it happens again.

According to her, “If you can pause and get a grip on your adrenaline pump and go to the intellectual part of your brain, you’ll be better able to have a conversation and to skip over the judgment.” A deep breath and one big step back can also help to calm you down and protect you from overreaction, thereby allowing you to proceed with a slightly more open mind and heart.

7. They voice their own needs.

If certain people constantly tick you off, calmly let them know that their manner of behavior or communication style is a problem for you. Avoid accusatory language and instead try the “When you . . . I feel . . .” formula. For example, Cacaiola advises you to tell that person, “When you cut me off in meetings, I feel like you don’t value my contributions.” Then, take a moment and wait for their response.

You may find that the other person didn’t realize you weren’t finished speaking, or your colleague was so excited about your idea that she enthusiastically jumped into the conversation.

8. They allow space between them.

If all else fails, smart people allow space between themselves and those they don’t like. Excuse yourself and go on your way. If at work, move to another room or sit at the other end of the conference table. With a bit of distance, perspective, and empathy, you may be able to come back and interact both with those people you like and those you don’t like as if unfazed.

Of course, everything would be easier if we could wish people we don’t like away. Too bad we all know that’s not how life works.

How to argue with someone who thinks they are always right

  • June 8, 2020
  • By Kendall Van Blarcom
  • No Comments

Confidence is healthy. But confidence does not mean a person has all the answers, they are not always right. It is important to remember that self-confidence is about trusting in one’s abilities and judgment. It is not about comparing yourself to others. When an individual has healthy self-confidence, they will still be attuned to the needs of others.

If a person things highly of themselves but doesn’t respect the opinions of others, it can be damaging to relationships. Thinking only of yourself can result in broken friendships and isolation. If you are coping with feelings of loneliness, set up a telephone coaching session and review what’s going on in your life.

Do You Have to Get Your Own Way?

If you always have to get your own way, you are not valuing other’s opinions. Then, when a person doesn’t agree with you, you ignore them and continue to do what you wanted to do in the first place. A desire to have your own way and being or acting intolerant of other people’s view creates relatiohship issues. It is essentially suggesting to the other person that your ideas are the only right ones.

Even if you don’t struggle with this way of thinking, there is likely someone close to you who exhibits this type of behavior. If so, how do you react? Do you go along with it and agree with whatever that person suggests in an effort to avoid arguments?

Sometimes this type of behavior, when used too frequently, can lead to not having many friends. In other instances, there are friends being manipulated, giving up their own opinions to remain in the association. Hurt feelings are a common result.

How Do You Handle the Person Who Is Always Right?

The person who thinks that he or she is always right and has all the answers is really an insecure person, with an insane and deep amount of an internal desire to gain admiration from those closest to him or her. As kids, it is sometimes what is called a “conceited” person. How far will a conceited person go to win your approval, or display a skill that he thinks you don’t possess, just to prove that he’s better than you?

But we’re not stupid. We, as humans, know that we possess the inner power to not fall for the tricks of those who wish to feel good about themselves at the expense of others.

To be self-confident is one thing, because it allows others around you to be just who they are. But, when your self-confidence depends on how others react to you, that is entirely different.

If you or someone you love is struggling with this issue, then it’s time to slow down and think about why you’re imposing your opinions and strong will on others. For those times when you’d like to talk to someone in confidence and resolve some of your personal isssues, set up a phone call with an experienced counselor.

Kendall Van Blarcom is a senior helping seniors. Contact Van Blarcom Consulting today for help with your personal problems. Or, reach out to provide support for an older adult in your life.

According to astrology, there are 5 types of people who always argue about anything and everything based on their zodiac traits. So, find out if you are also one of them.

Argument is really very disturbing as it may lead itself to a serious fight among people. When you disagree with someone and want to put across your point, you tend to turn a normal discussion into an argument. And that does not justify your point. However, an argument should be handled sportingly where you shouldn’t mind if your point is not getting accepted.

And, it’s also absolutely fine to not agree with others and stick to your own point of view. But there are some people who tend to argue a lot and they always try to prove their point right and others wrong and demand you to agree their point of view. This often leads to a serious fight that even can hurt others. Astrology says there are 5 types of people based on zodiac traits who always argue a lot.

5 star signs who always like to argue with everyone based on astrology:


Taurus won’t start a fight with you unless you disagree with them. But once they start the argument, it’s very tough to handle them. A Taurus person will never admit when they are wrong because they think they are always right. They are super confident about their thoughts and point of view and can properly defend every action of theirs.


These people are also quite like Taurus as they don’t get into a fight that much but will spit fire if you offend them. And they will intentionally try to hurt you with their words, even if you didn’t mean to hurt them.


Be extra careful with your Cancer friend while talking to them as you have to be very gentle. They are generally calm and emotionally intelligent, but they won’t step back if you offend them. They can even remember old fights and use them as a reference in your current arguments.


Arguing with a Leo will give you experiences of hurtful words, heated accusations and even a fight beyond the boundaries from them. A Leo person will always try to intensify the fight even if the problem is resolved.


People of this star sign are not really fighters or tend to argue on everything. But their reactions on a conversation depend a lot on their mood. So, you cannot anticipate their answers.

We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

I like a good debate, even if I come to realize I’m wrong. How else do we learn anything? But the quickest way to turn a healthy debate into an unhealthy debacle is to have it with someone who will twist your words around until they mean something else.

Then he argues that point, completely ignoring what you really said.

What is word twisting?

Let’s start with what word twisting is, and also what it isn’t. Word twisting is when someone insists you really meant something that isn’t what you said. For example:

You: “I don’t feel like going out tonight.”

Them: “Oh, so what you’re really saying is you don’t like me anymore.”

Word twisting is not someone calling you out on your baloney when you know deep down you’re lying to them. If in the above example, you were actually planning to out with other people tonight and are totally lying to the person about it, then they’re not twisting your words.

How to argue with someone who thinks they are always right

Why do people twist words?

  • Sometimes it’s that you’re absolutely right but it’s a truth they’re not ready to acknowledge.
  • Sometimes they just like a fight. Some people seem to get energized by a long, pointless argument. I find it draining, and have plenty of better ways to spend my time and energy.
  • And sometimes they want to let you know how little your thoughts or feelings matter to them.

How can I stop them?

If you find yourself dealing with that third type, avoid them if at all possible. That’s a form of abuse called “gaslighting”, in which the abuser keeps twisting situations to make you think you are the one who’s being impossible or losing your mind.

This is who they are. They will not stop doing this.

Letting them get by with it is not going to reward you or them, and it may even encourage them to do it more. If you have any suspicion you’re in a close relationship with this type of word twister, you may actually be dealing with an emotionally abusive narcissist.

If you are dealing with a narcissist, that will take more than one article to fix. Check out one or more of these books: Becoming the Narcissist’s Nightmare, Overcome Gaslighting or Psychopath Free.

When your word twister is just argumentative (the second type), you may be able to enlighten them about better argument strategies. Most people learn argument from their parents, and many people don’t know how to have healthy arguments.

Some people are willing to learn, if only you explain to them why their tendency to look for a fight is obnoxious, and what you wish they’d do instead.

If you’re delivering a truth they just can’t handle, stick to your guns mercilessly but politely. Tell them they’re deflecting the point; that’s not what you said; everything they’re saying is irrelevant and they can either deal with what you really said or go away.

What if it’s your boss / parent / authority figure?

It’s trickier when you’re dealing with someone who can penalize you just for standing up for yourself, even if you’re right. One obvious solution is to avoid arguing with this person.

Just nod politely and bow out of any arguments they start as quickly as possible. If they won’t let you do that, or doing that could make the situation worse:

Enlist allies. Rarely do these people only annoy or harass just one person. Check with co-workers, your other parent, other students, etc., to see if they feel it’s hard to communicate with the person.

Remember your words might get back to the person, so choose them with care in case you’re forced to explain them later.

Twist their words first. You’d be surprised how many of these people are powerless to escape from their own trap when it’s turned on them. Pay attention to how they do it and learn those techniques.

Learn from people who don’t let this person twist their words. Look for people who are able to dominate the person for reasons other than having authority over them. If the person doesn’t pull this stuff on some of his friends, observe how they keep him leashed and see what you can learn.

There’s nothing you can do with a bully/bigot. If you find this person doesn’t pull this on everyone, but just on people “like you” (i.e., his opposite political party, or a different religion, gender, race, etc.), then you’re dealing with a bully or bigot.

There’s not much one can do with bullies or bigots, especially if they’re in authority. It’s time to go to someone who has authority over them, if possible – especially if you’re reasonably sure the people above them don’t share their attitude.

Unreasonable People

Dealing with unreasonable people is never easy, and rarely rewarding. I avoid it whenever it’s humanly possible – even if it’s family.

That’s my preferred strategy. But sometimes it’s important to clarify things – for example, when an impressionable young person is listening and you don’t want them to think you agree.

Helpful phrases, all of which you should utter in a calm, pleasant but firm tone to show how reasonable you are being, include:

  • “That’s not what I said. You’re twisting my words, and I’m done here.” And then walk away. You have to refuse to talk about it anymore, because their first assumption is usually that you’re just playing hard to get. That you really want to have this long silly argument with them, and you’re making it difficult because you’re as big a drama queen as they are.
  • “Feel free to have the last word. I’m sure you’re going to anyway.” This is especially helpful if other people are in on the discussion. It forces them to shut up or prove you right.
  • “Whatever. I told you that’s not what I said, but you keep saying it is, so I guess you’re a mind-reader.” Sometimes you just have to accept that someone is determined to believe the worst of you and let it go. This little declaration tells them you can’t be manipulated into a prolonged argument that they’ll enjoy and you’ll find draining.


It is absolutely okay to cut these people out of your life when possible. It may sound mean, but sometimes it really is the most peaceful solution.

Who needs this kind of drama and manufactured conflict? There are enough real problems in life.

We have enough misunderstandings with the people we love and benefit just from knowing. Some people like to stir up trouble and chaos like it’s a hobby. No matter who they are to you, you do not have to put up with that.

What do you call people who think they’re always right?

14 Answers 14

If you wish to imply that they always think they are right, yet are not always right.

  • know-it-all
  • smarty-pants
  • smart aleck

If you wish to imply that they always think they are right, and are indeed always right:

  • genius
  • polymath
  • Einstein
  • sage
  • guru

How to argue with someone who thinks they are always right

How to argue with someone who thinks they are always right

There could be many including tobyink’s options. However, the closest after know-it-all (or know-all) I can think of it is.

opinionated – someone who is opinionated has very strong opinions that they refuse to change even when they are clearly unreasonable.

How to argue with someone who thinks they are always right

Someone who thinks they are always right but are, in fact, not right is often described as being cocksure.

Completely confident in their own ability or knowledge but with no justification.

How to argue with someone who thinks they are always right

3rd vote for “know-it-all” as an all-purpose term that can be used somewhat politely.

In addition to answers above, “smart ass” and “wise ass” are more vulgar, but quite common.

The more polite alternatives are “smart-aleck” and (the rather outdated) “wise-acre” (or “wiseguy” which can also be slang for a joker or a mafia member . depends on context).

A “pedant” is someone who makes a point of correcting others and showing off how much they know.

If someone thinks that they are always right, then they are wrong, for someone who is always right is infallible and certainly I have never come across or heard of anyone in history who has been such. Infallibility has, of course, been claimed as an attribute of the Pope but in recent years it is my understanding that even that personage has not tended to claim such an attribute.

Most respondents and the questioner seem to understand this question to refer to a person who claims, asserts or believes themselves to be right all of the time, even though they are not. There are many words, some of them already given, that express the manner in which others might see a person who makes such a claim: opinionated is perhaps the best I’ve seen, though even that falls short for someone can be opinionated about some things but accept their lack of knowledge or mistaken thought about others.

Leaving aside the derogatory terms such as, know-it-all the purpose of which is to deride rather than define, and seeking only to define the characteristic of a belief by someone that they are “always right” suggests that although words such as delusional, foolish, misguided etc. certainly may be appropriate to the description of someone who believe they are always right, they may, as readily apply to someone who doesn’t have that delusion but who demonstrates behaviours or characteristics that befit the use of the particular adjective.

Try as I might, therefore, I have been unable to find any single word in the English Language which specifically defines a person’s belief that they are always right. My conclusion is thus that, as infallibility defines “never being wrong” and as delusional defines having an unrealistic belief, then an appropriate term for a person who believes that they are always right is: delusionally infallible.

Need to know how to shut down a narcissist?

Everyone has a tendency to show some narcissistic traits at times.

This tendency comes in varying degrees with different people, and sometimes you can’t tell if someone has a heaping serving of this personality trait until you’ve spent a significant amount of time with them.

What’s more, the qualities that initially attracted you to this person may be the very qualities that end up annoying you.

You may meet someone confident and proud of their accomplishments and who seems exciting and well-versed in life.

But after getting to know them, you realize that all they talk about is themselves, and they are starting to drain your energy with all of the self-absorption.

This is when you may realize you’re dealing with a narcissist. What are the weaknesses of a narcissist? Narcissists can be:

  • Self-centered
  • Arrogant
  • Inconsiderate
  • Needy of admiration
  • Manipulative
  • Controlling
  • Demanding
  • Patronizing
  • Critical

Phrases to Disarm a Narcissist

Narcissists also have a delusional sense of self-worth and an inability to feel empathy for other people.

They are not able to regulate their emotions or consider the impact that their actions may have on other people. As a result, disarming them is not a simple undertaking because they don’t react the way most of us do.

Wondering what to say to disarm a narcissist? If you want to neutralize a narcissist, you might try saying things like:

  • I don’t like how you are speaking to me, and I want it to stop right now.
  • Please stop criticizing me in front of others. It’s hurtful and unkind.
  • I don’t like being told what to do or how to behave. I’m an adult.
  • Flattery and praise go both ways. It would help if you gave more if you want to receive more.
  • I’m going to leave if you keep speaking to me that way.
  • I see you and what you are up to. You can’t fool me.
  • I’m not going to engage with you.
  • It’s not my job to boost your ego.
  • The way you are speaking is unprofessional. Please call back when you calm down.
  • I choose not to be manipulated today.
  • No. I’m not doing that.

These statements might get their attention, but it’s not likely to change their behaviors permanently. You should probably focus less on disarming them and more on learning how to implement your boundaries and manage their behaviors.

This person may be a friend with whom you choose to limit your time, but it could also be a boss, co-worker, or family member who you must see on a regular basis.

The question is, can you have a workable relationship with someone who is narcissistic?

Yes, you can, but you have to know how to deal with them.

Let’s talk about the most effective ways to talk to and shut down a narcissist so you can tolerate their irritating and often hurtful behaviors.

The first question to ask yourself is why do we argue. Feeling compelled to have a winner and a loser in the conversation can be counter productive. The real benefits is seen in participating in an engaging and active disagreement. Here is a look at some of the most amazing quotes about arguing with idiots that are great.

“Arguing with a fool proves there are two.”

“Arguing with a person who cannot admit defeat is like adding more fire wood to the fire.”

“Arguing with an idiot makes you more of an idiot yourself!”

“Argument is that which may fetch the facts to take a right decision.”

“Behind every argument is someone’s ignorance.”

“Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.”

“I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this, and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don’t even invite me.”

“I hate how after an argument I think of more clever things I should have said.”

“I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinions I have no respect.”

“I’d rather lose an argument to you, than lose you to an argument.”

“I’m not arguing, I’m just explaining why I’m right.”

“If you go in for argument, take care of your temper. Your logic, if you have any, will take care of itself.”

“Immature people always want to win arguments even at the cost of a relationship. Mature ones prefer losing an argument just to uphold a golden relationship.”

“Insults are the arguments employed by those who are in the wrong.”

“It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.”

“It’s hard to win an argument with a smart person, but it’d damn near impossible to win an argument with a stupid person.”

“Losing an argument is better than losing a friend.”

“Never argue with an idiot they’ll drag you down to their level and beat you through experience”

“Nothing is to be gained by arguing with fools. Nothing can be gained by reasoning with ignorant people.”

“Once you shout and curse, you have lost the argument.”

“People with irrational motives and illogical reasoning always end up by attacking and being personal in arguments. The worse part is that it is the wise side that is hurt by that action and not the vice versa.”

“People’s minds are changed through observation and not through argument.”

“Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win.”

“Rule #1 during arguments: If you’re losing, start correcting their grammar.”

“Silence is argument carried out by other means.”

“Sitting around and arguing about a mess is not going to clean it.”

“That awkward moment when you’re in a middle of an argument & you realize you’re wrong.”

“That’s the beauty of argument, if you argue correctly, you’re never wrong.”

“The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but progress.”

“The golden rule of arguing is to listen more. This way, you can analyze rather than being analyzed.”

“The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it, and become blind to the arguments against it.”

“The sounder your argument, the more satisfaction you get out of it.”

“The volume of your voice does not increase the validity of your argument.”

“There is no right or wrong, only two fools arguing for their believes.”

“They say arguing with an idiot makes two of them so, I’ll just leave you alone on this one.”

“To settle an argument think of what is right, not who is right.”

“When parents say “Because I said so”, you know you made a good argument.”

“Women get the last word in every argument. Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.”

“You can never win an argument with a negative person. They only hear what suits them and listen only to respond.”

“You don’t need to attend every argument you are invited to.”

“You know you won an argument…when the other person responds with “whatever”.”

If you feel like your argument is going down a bad path, sometimes it is best to take a step back and reconsider what is really at risk of just trying to prove yourself right.

I recommend that you check out the most shared quote posts on the internet.

How to argue with someone who thinks they are always right

It doesn’t matter who’s on the other end of your frowning face — best friend, parent, coworker, in law, or romantic partner — arguments happen and that’s OK. It’s impossible to prevent disagreements from occurring altogether, but it is possible to navigate the situation in a way that allows the relationship to grow. In that sense, you can think of arguments as opportunities to really hear what the other person has to say, to say your piece, and to come out on the other side all the better for it.

The problem, of course, is that emotions and built-up frustration can complicate the situation. Especially when the argument is with a spouse or significant other (who may a host of complaints sitting in the kitchen sink waiting to be unleashed). To make matters worse, many of us haven’t been equipped with examples of what a healthy argument looks like. For that reason, it’s far too easy to fuel the fire instead of extinguishing it. Learning how to steer an argument into a progressive direction requires practice, but you can start by acknowledging the things you might be doing wrong and replacing those behaviors with healthier, more constructive habits.


Do It BETTER How to complain the right way

Mistake #1: Focusing on complaints instead of a solution

An argument likely doesn’t occur unless you have some grievance, but in order to make progress it’s best to express your complaint, explain how you’re feeling, then move on quickly to the solution, says Judy Ho, Ph.D., a triple-board certified neuropsychologist, psychology professor at Pepperdine University, and co-host of TV show “The Doctors.”

“Once you’re in the problem-solving phase, take a collaborative approach. Spend some time brainstorming ways to solve the problem and don’t judge each other’s ideas,” she says. “Then, mutually pick one that sounds like a good compromise to both of you and commit to trying it out.”


A BETTER Way Griping a lot? A ‘complaint cleanse’ may help

Mistake #2: Using hyperbolic terms like “always” and “never”

A statement like “You always do this!” or “You never do that!” isn’t just dramatic, it’s likely untrue, says Ho. It also puts the other person on the defensive, and instead of listening to what you have to say they’ll focus on coming up with examples that negate your false statement. Instead, she says to “use moderating words like sometimes, at times and often,” which are gradients that leave room for a candid discussion. It also feels like less of a personal, all-out affront on the other person’s entire character.

Mistake #3: Using “you” instead of “I” statements

Making “you” statements also puts the other person on the defensive. For example, saying, “You ruined…” or “You made me. ” Mark Mayfield, Ph.D., a licensed professional counselor, explains that these blaming statements often trigger the other person and can take you down a spiraling path. Instead, use “I” statements, such as, “I feel frustrated when…” or “I need…”

“These statements allow you to express how you are feeling within the situation, doesn’t put blame on the other person, and puts the focus on you,” he says. Further, the other person cannot negate feeling statements, and they’ll also have an easier time empathizing with you if they know how you’re feeling.


Butting heads What relationship experts fight about with their spouses

Mistake #4: Waiting to speak instead of actively listening

It’s in our very nature to want to respond and defend, and this reaction is heightened when fighting. “What often happens is that we are so heated in an argument, we latch on to one word or a phrase and begin to develop our defense without hearing the entirety of what the other person is saying,” Mayfield says. “We then respond to a portion of what was said and miss the majority of the content. This just perpetuates and escalates the argument.”

It’s a learned skill, but really focusing on hearing what the other person has to say will take you much further. Focus on their tone, their body language, their feelings, and the broad points they are making. Repeat the points back to reaffirm that you were listening, express your own and then work on a solution.

“Reflecting is a common therapeutic technique to help soothe and then guide to a more evolved plane. Also, digesting a counterpoint is easier after someone has just heard their own words,” says Dr. Sudhir Gadh, a board-certified psychiatrist with a private practice in New York City.

Mistake #5: Taking short breaths

“Taking short breaths activates your fight, flight or freeze system in your body, which activates the sympathetic nervous system and prepares you to fight or escape instead of think rationally,” says Mayfield. “Take deep breaths, which restores the blood flow from your sympathetic nervous system and places it back in your brain, thus allowing you to think more clearly and engage in the disagreement with a level head.” In addition, taking deep, purposeful breaths helps you feel grounded and calms you down.


Fight fair How to make up after a fight (and learn from it)

Mistake #6: Walking away without a positive ending

Even if you’ve made some progress during your argument, it’s hard to shake off all that emotion. Taking time apart to cool off further is ideal, but it’s still important to end on a positive note — not storm away.

“Wrap up the argument with something encouraging that acknowledges something good the person did in the process. For example, ‘I appreciate you listening to my concerns today,’ or ‘I’m grateful we have an open communication line so I can honestly express my feelings,’” Ho says.

Sometimes sealing it with a hug or handshake is enough, too. Whatever the approach, the other person will appreciate that you put in the effort of expressing gratitude and honoring your relationship in the middle of a disagreement, even if you need to pick it back up at a later date to reach a complete resolution.


  • How to improve your sex life: 4 tips for couples
  • How to use these common relationship conflicts to strengthen your bond
  • Financial infidelity: Why we lie about money and how to solve the problem
  • How thoughtful communication can improve your marriage, according to a divorce attorney
  • How to get over a breakup: 5 ways to move on

Want more tips like these? NBC News BETTER is obsessed with finding easier, healthier and smarter ways to live. Sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Peak performance leaders know how to best resolve arguments and get the team aligned and moving forward together.

How to argue with someone who thinks they are always right

As business leaders we routinely find ourselves in the middle of arguments. At least we hope so. Because the more passion we generate about our company and its mission, the more our people will engage in arguments about strategy, structure, budgets, and action plans.

Peak performance leaders know arguments and debates are inevitable. They also know how to best resolve the arguments and get the team aligned and moving forward together. This skill is an essential part of leading anything.

So how do they get past the roadblocks in a way that everyone remains committed?

Right versus right dilemmas — the hard choice.

Peak performance leaders recognize the hardest decisions are not a matter of one choice being right and the others wrong. They know the arguments that stymie groups happen when “rights” collide to create an ethical dilemma.

As an example, think about a company after an acquisition. It needs to merge two back office operations, but the managers of each back office are at odds – which one gets to absorb the other? Each manager is “right” to argue for the good of their department.

This is an ethical dilemma called “good for the unit versus good for the whole.” Dr. Rushworth Kidder, author and founder of the Institute for Global Ethics, wrote about these dilemmas in his books Moral Courage and How Good People Make Tough Choices.

Ethical dilemmas are defined by Kidder as “right versus right” and “at the heart of our toughest choices.” It’s “right” to protect your employees as a department head, and “right,” on the other hand, to protect the interest of the company. According to Kidder, there are four dilemmas:

  • Good for the unit versus good for the whole.
  • Good for the short term versus good for the long term.
  • Truth versus loyalty.
  • Justice versus mercy.

These dilemmas have been part of the human experience since the dawn of creation. They are prevalent today and guaranteed to drive people crazy in the future. As business leaders we’re sure to face them, so what can we do?

1. Solve ethical dilemmas by adopting “and.”

Peak performers recognize collisions of “rights” and move the group away from making each other wrong and towards resolving the dilemma. To do this, invite the group to design a solution that embodies the magic of “and.” The narrative then becomes:

  • Good for the unit AND good for the whole.
  • Good for the long term AND good for the short term.
  • Truth AND loyalty.
  • Justice AND mercy.

When leaders can get the group to use this powerful orientation, they will most likely resolve the dilemma.

2. Think about outcomes.

If you find yourself in a situation when this approach doesn’t work, you can resolve a right versus right dilemma by finding the highest “right.” Kidder wrote that there are three ways to make the best choice when faced with these types of dilemmas:

  • Ends-based: Select the option that generates the most good for the most people.
  • Rule-based: Choose as if you’re creating a universal standard. Follow the standard that you want others to follow.
  • Care-based: Choose as if you were the one most affected by your decision.

Once you’ve identified an ethical right versus right ​dilemma, lay out your options according to these three principles. One approach will immediately present itself as the “most right.”

3. Keep the group committed to the decision.

No matter what decision-making approach makes the most sense for a given situation, it’s important to keep the group committed to the decision. To do this, adopt a working definition of consensus as the group tries to resolve these dilemmas. Instead of using the traditional definition of consensus where everybody is expected to agree with everything, switch it up to use the following definition:

  • Was the process to make the decision deemed rational and fair to all involved?
  • Was each person involved in the discussion treated well and listened to?
  • Assuming the group is satisfied with No. 1 and No. 2, can they live with and commit to the outcome? (Notice it does not say agree with the outcome.)

Listen carefully when people unknowingly argue about right versus right. Often it’s not apparent to the people involved. Point it out and they will begin to think about these situations differently. And make sure they are using the working definition of consensus when forging their agreements.

Using these skills, you will become intensely important to the vitality of the company — you keep the group moving forward in spite of their inevitable encounter with ethical dilemmas.


Everybody knows them: People who know everything. At least, that’s what they believe.

I’m not the type who gets annoyed quickly. Really. I can’t think of many things that bother me.

I also don’t get annoyed with people. Sure, every time I see an idiot online promising you to make six figures with six months, I raise my eyebrow. And yes, I don’t like judgemental people—who does?

But I don’t see the point with getting upset about 99% of the shit people get upset about.

I always think: So what? Plus, you don’t know everything about people.

However, there’s one group of people that seriously annoys me; know-it-alls.

Piet Hein, a Danish scientist, put it beautifully:

“Those who always know what’s best are a universal pest.”

It’s funny. Some people always want to prove how smart or knowledgeable they are. They take every opportunity to let people know they already know something.

What’s the point? Can’t you just nod and say yes? Nope. Know-it-alls always have something to say.

Also, they are never wrong. Could you imagine? A know-it-all who says they’re wrong? Not in a million years. They have a too big ego for that.

Is it confidence or a lack of it? But when I think about it, the answer is straightforward: When you show know-it-all behavior, it’s a sign of insecurity.

People who genuinely think that they know everything are delusional.

And I’m not the only person who can’t stand these type of people. Many of my friends and people I work with always talk about how know-it-alls annoy them at work or school.

I get at least one email a day with that specific question. And I completely get it. Some people just get on your nerves.

Here are 3 ways I deal know-it-alls.

Obvious, right? So why do you get annoyed? Sure, know-it-alls are annoying but there’s another way to deal with them.

I was recently at a conference in Amsterdam with a friend who runs a startup. We were talking to two German wannabe entrepreneurs.

My friend was sharing some stuff he learned in this first year as a founder. Just some basic things like not thinking enough about the user, launching too early, etc. He was just sharing his perspective on common mistakes.

And one of the German guys was like: “That’s the most obvious thing I’ve ever heard.”

My friend said in a sarcastic way: “Well, aren’t you a genius!?”

My friend didn’t get annoyed. Instead, he mocked him. And that’s what I do too with these type of genius idiots.

That is the biggest waste of time you can possibly think off; trying to share knowledge with a know-it-all. What’s the point? They already know it all!

Maybe you’re trying to help them. But think about it; what are you even doing? They can’t be saved by anyone else other than themselves.

Over the past years, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to work with all kinds of people from all over the world. I love meeting new people from different countries, and with different personalities, backgrounds, etc.

But I run away screaming when I sense a hint of a know-it-all. I don’t want them as clients, friends, students, colleges. They just cause headaches. And I don’t care if they think I’m not nice because I don’t want to listen to their pretentious stories.

At the end of the day, know-it-alls are losers. The only thing we can do is not behave like them. Why? In the words of the great Socrates:

“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.”

And that’s the only universal truth there is: We know nothing.

The beauty of the “I know nothing” mindset is that it brings you closer to people than you can imagine. Once you stop caring about whether you’re right or not, you can really get to know them without judgment.

Because you know what? It’s great to hear other people’s perspective. Or maybe; we don’t have all the answers? There are very little absolute truths in life.

And that’s okay. But it’s the “admitting it” part, and realizing that we don’t know much at all, that takes true wisdom.

Hi, I’m DARIUS FOROUX, I research how to (1) overcome procrastination, (2) improve productivity, and (3) get things done.

I teach how to do those 3 things in my online class ‘Procrastinate Zero.’

If you’re in a relationship with someone with a victim mentality, it can be a constant swirl of chaos and emotional upheaval. Here are some ways to help them — and yourself.


How to argue with someone who thinks they are always right

We all know that person who’s prone to a victim mentality. If anything goes sideways in their world, they instinctually divert to woe-is-me-isms, pointing fingers, or any behavior that helps them seek pity. A victim mentality is marked by a general sense that the unhappiness one feels or the circumstances one endures are completely the fault of others. Those who play the victim deflect blame and responsibility. It’s an issue that can lead to serious problems in a marriage.

Victim mentality is complicated and often a coping mechanism formed in childhood. But if you’re in a relationship with someone who constantly sees themselves as the victim in their personal narrative, it can be a constant swirl of chaos and emotional upheaval. You may find yourself constantly being blamed for their problems, or always listening to them talk about how nothing goes right in their lives and that they are powerless to change their circumstances.

Those who possess a victim mentality will often offer excuses for their actions, insisting that it’s always someone else’s fault, or use passive aggression as a means of wearing others down until they get their way. In addition, someone who is in a relationship with a person prone to victim mentality will often find themselves doing tasks for them, taking care of them, constantly building them up, and, often, avoiding subjects that might upset them in any way. While victim mentality can often be the result of Coping with the near-constant flow of negative energy, and coping with it can be exhausting and trying. In order to begin to try and deal with someone who is a victim, you have to be able to spot the signs.

“Signs of victimhood include a great deal of worrying aloud and complaining, rejecting guidance or advice, harping on the same problems repeatedly without solving them, and engaging with you in such a way as to give you the impression or hope that they wish to hear what you have to say or change,” says Karen R. Koenig, a psychotherapist, blogger and author of seven books. “A tip off for therapists that someone has a victim mindset is that they’re working very hard — harder than the client — to engage or change them, and that they feel victimized themselves by clients acting as if they want help then pushing it away.”

Dr. Jeff Nalin, Psy.D, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and the Founder and Chief Clinical Director of the Paradigm Treatment Centers, adds that a victim mentality creates a vicious reward cycle that can be hard to escape.

“This mindset can create patterns and generate ‘rewards’ that make it difficult for a person to break free,” he says. “An unhealthy mindset allows individuals to avoid taking responsibility; they may become manipulative as other people will often feel sorry for them and consequently lavish extra attention on them.

Once these rewarding patterns are formed, Nalin says, they are difficult to change. More so, a victim mindset can become attractive to some people, as it grants them specific power, the power to avoid responsibility, to feel persecuted, to not have to deal with difficult emotions and situations, and, above all, the power to manipulate other people.

“In short,” Nalin says, “a victim mentality empowers a person by garnering attention and the feeling of being valued and in control.”

It’s important to note that, per Nalin, those with a victim mentality are likely not aware of their mindset and haven’t actively chosen to live this way. This presents a difficult challenge for their partner or anyone who is trying to help them. But it is certainly possible to take productive measures. So how do you break someone out of a victim mentality? Here are a few steps to take.

Listen and Empathize. But Don’t Always Agree

Those who find themselves in a relationship with someone who has a victim mentality need to understand that arguing with the person about it will not solve the problem. Most of the time, the person simply wants to be heard and know that someone else understands the way they’re feeling and supports them. They’re convinced that they’re in the right. The partner’s job is to listen to their complaints but avoid saying that they agree with their sentiment. “It’s important not to agree with them,” Nilan cautions, “but to convey empathy for how they feel.” You can still be helpful and loving without telling them they’re in the right.

Point Out Their Thinking

It’s certainly difficult to make a person with a victim mentality aware of how they’re behaving. And you need to pick your times wisely. But if or when the opportunity presents itself, it’s important to point it out. That clarity, says Nilan, is often hat they need to break the cycle of victimhood. “Acknowledging that they are stuck in a rut and encouraging them to find some solutions may be all that is needed to help them seek change,” says Nilan.

Of course, awareness is only part of the solution. It will take perseverance and pushing through resistance to get someone with a victim mentality to try and change their mindset. “Although what happens to us in our past is beyond our control, we have the ability to reclaim our power and become responsible for our own happiness,” Nilan says.

Help Them Take Responsibility

Accountability is one of the key strategies is overcoming a victim mindset. The person playing the victim has to take responsibility for their actions and for their role in the events of their life. “When they are accountable for their own feelings, actions, and well-being, they can move forward to bigger and better things,” says Nilan. “Otherwise, the poisonous pattern will continue.”

One such way to do this is to encourage them to be mindful of negative thoughts that can seep into their minds. A person who is liable to be a victim needs to consistently take steps to counter those thoughts and keep themselves from slipping back into old patterns. Mindfulness activities can be a real help here. “Even doing something as simple as jotting down feelings will help outgrow the negative mentality and overcome any challenge at hand.”

Help Them Love Themselves

A victim mentality can take root when a person doesn’t like themselves, and it’s important that they learn to be kinder to themselves in order to break the cycle of victimhood and learn how to be kind to others as well. This is where self-care comes into play. “Eating right, getting enough sleep, and implementing practices such as mindful meditation, journaling, and positive affirmations will help them heal and rid their minds of negative thoughts,” Nilan says.


Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, Deakin University

Disclosure statement

Patrick Stokes does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.


Deakin University provides funding as a member of The Conversation AU.

How to argue with someone who thinks they are always right

Every year, I try to do at least two things with my students at least once. First, I make a point of addressing them as “philosophers” – a bit cheesy, but hopefully it encourages active learning.

Secondly, I say something like this: “I’m sure you’ve heard the expression ‘everyone is entitled to their opinion.’ Perhaps you’ve even said it yourself, maybe to head off an argument or bring one to a close. Well, as soon as you walk into this room, it’s no longer true. You are not entitled to your opinion. You are only entitled to what you can argue for.”

A bit harsh? Perhaps, but philosophy teachers owe it to our students to teach them how to construct and defend an argument – and to recognize when a belief has become indefensible.

The problem with “I’m entitled to my opinion” is that, all too often, it’s used to shelter beliefs that should have been abandoned. It becomes shorthand for “I can say or think whatever I like” – and by extension, continuing to argue is somehow disrespectful. And this attitude feeds, I suggest, into the false equivalence between experts and non-experts that is an increasingly pernicious feature of our public discourse.

Firstly, what’s an opinion?

Plato distinguished between opinion or common belief (doxa) and certain knowledge, and that’s still a workable distinction today: unlike “1+1=2” or “there are no square circles,” an opinion has a degree of subjectivity and uncertainty to it. But “opinion” ranges from tastes or preferences, through views about questions that concern most people such as prudence or politics, to views grounded in technical expertise, such as legal or scientific opinions.

You can’t really argue about the first kind of opinion. I’d be silly to insist that you’re wrong to think strawberry ice cream is better than chocolate. The problem is that sometimes we implicitly seem to take opinions of the second and even the third sort to be unarguable in the way questions of taste are. Perhaps that’s one reason (no doubt there are others) why enthusiastic amateurs think they’re entitled to disagree with climate scientists and immunologists and have their views “respected.”

Meryl Dorey is the leader of the Australian Vaccination Network, which despite the name is vehemently anti-vaccine. Ms. Dorey has no medical qualifications, but argues that if Bob Brown is allowed to comment on nuclear power despite not being a scientist, she should be allowed to comment on vaccines. But no-one assumes Dr. Brown is an authority on the physics of nuclear fission; his job is to comment on the policy responses to the science, not the science itself.

So what does it mean to be “entitled” to an opinion?

If “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion” just means no-one has the right to stop people thinking and saying whatever they want, then the statement is true, but fairly trivial. No one can stop you saying that vaccines cause autism, no matter how many times that claim has been disproven.

But if ‘entitled to an opinion’ means ‘entitled to have your views treated as serious candidates for the truth’ then it’s pretty clearly false. And this too is a distinction that tends to get blurred.

On Monday, the ABC’s Mediawatch program took WIN-TV Wollongong to task for running a story on a measles outbreak which included comment from – you guessed it – Meryl Dorey. In a response to a viewer complaint, WIN said that the story was “accurate, fair and balanced and presented the views of the medical practitioners and of the choice groups.” But this implies an equal right to be heard on a matter in which only one of the two parties has the relevant expertise. Again, if this was about policy responses to science, this would be reasonable. But the so-called “debate” here is about the science itself, and the “choice groups” simply don’t have a claim on air time if that’s where the disagreement is supposed to lie.

Mediawatch host Jonathan Holmes was considerably more blunt: “there’s evidence, and there’s bulldust,” and it’s not part of a reporter’s job to give bulldust equal time with serious expertise.

The response from anti-vaccination voices was predictable. On the Mediawatch site, Ms. Dorey accused the ABC of “openly calling for censorship of a scientific debate.” This response confuses not having your views taken seriously with not being allowed to hold or express those views at all – or to borrow a phrase from Andrew Brown, it “confuses losing an argument with losing the right to argue.” Again, two senses of “entitlement” to an opinion are being conflated here.

So next time you hear someone declare they’re entitled to their opinion, ask them why they think that. Chances are, if nothing else, you’ll end up having a more enjoyable conversation that way.

Answer the question honestly before you read on…

There are two types of people in this world. The ones that think they are right and the ones that are.

The above is meant to be a joke but it has some truth to it. I can’t tell you how many lives, including my own, have been damaged by false beliefs. Beliefs that may have served them for a time, but not any more. Or simply beliefs that never served them well at all, but they cling to out of some fear of change or just not knowing anything different.

We live in a world that has a vast variety of people who have had an even vaster number of experiences. Everyone holds a certain amount of truth and many people are right about a lot of things. Yet, no one has a strangle hold on what is right all the time.

This subject has come up a lot for me recently. And I have found myself on both ends of the argument.

For instance, some people really feel the need to give me their opinions to make my life better. For all their good intentions they may still be wrong. And I have been that one that thinks he knows the right answer. And I have given my opinion to people with all the good intentions in the world. And yet they don’t receive them because they think I am wrong.

It is frustrating on both accounts…

So many questions pop up but they are all the same. Am I right? Are they right? Are both of us right or are we both wrong?

For the longest time I have accepted people’s opinions openly, and have even gone out of my way to ask for them. I have felt this to be the best course because I could draw on a large pool of experience and make the best decisions. Over time though I have slowly pulled away from that idea. Why? Because you do eventually find a situation where everyone is wrong!

There is still an opposite extreme to this as well and I think it is the deadlier one. It is thinking you are always right and never taking people’s advice to heart.

You see, most people are well meaning even when they are wrong. And many times they are right. They have solutions to your problems that you couldn’t ever come up with yourself. It is good to have many counselors, but it is bad to try and listen to them all.

Like many things the solution to the argument is the middle path. It is wise to avoid the extremes and to seek out the middle path.

It is not healthy to always think you are right. Just like it is unhealthy to always lean on people’s opinions and never make a true judgment on your own.

It is also unhealthy to be prejudiced against the source of the right advice. Have we not heard wisdom from the mouth of babes?

The real lesson and the task at hand is to discover how we can stand on our principle and moral values yet remain open to possible ideas that may help solve our problems and live better lives.

I have no easy solution but I do know we get better with practice and over time. I would encourage each of you to think more deeply on this and give me your thoughts in the comment section. I am interested to know…

15 thoughts on “Do you think you are always right?”

Do I think that I am always right? Should I really answer this question? Is it not better to answer a question with another question rather than providing a concrete answer? Do YOU think that I am always right? Why not go on believing that I am always right but not attempt to make others think so? Would that not be the best way to be?

My answer to your question is – YES.I have a right to my opinion but I do not push it on to people.If I am asked I tell them.I am not judgmental.I may raise an eyebrow but I feel unless I am directly asked my opinion,I keep my thoughts to myself.

I think we are all entitled to say what we think, although it is helpful not to offer unsolicited advice. And I don’t really care if I’m right. You can take my word or not.

How does one come to decide what is right and what is wrong? Is not what you agree with right? If it is true for you then it is right to you. Being right is about truths we hold.

However, we go through our lives trying to find truth. Through a series of experiences picking up puzzle pieces here and there about truth. Going through life twisting truths together and forming bigger truths about us. The more truths we see, the more potential truths we see.

One night I woke up with the thought, that humans only experience what they do based on expectancy and routine of habit based around the center of knowledge that they understand something about life. They continue to experience life only through what they understand.

For example, as human beings, we look into the mirror expecting to know what we will see in the reflection through memorization.For another example, before we get out of bed we expect to know what the rug/carpet/wooden floor will feel like to our feet before we even get out of bed, we know what the feeling is like, out of habit and what we expect it to feel like. Our whole life is wrapped around this, even though must of it is subconscious by now.

Perhaps some truths we have stem from this too. I analyzed all the truths about myself, life, the world around me, and the beliefs I adopted from those truths of thinking I was right. I discovered that I held onto truths that did not even have anything to do with who I am or how I understand the world around me. I became aware that most beliefs I came to know as truths, were there out of conditioning, programing, and subconsciously adopting out of habit.

The easiest way to find out if your belief is empowering or limiting is by asking one simple question: Does your belief say, “I can’t” or “Not possible”? If your answer is yes, then it is a limiting belief. Now, if your answer is no, then that means one of two things: it is neutral (meaning it does not add to your life, but it also does not take any value away), or it is an empowering belief (meaning it gives you power to take the direction in life your willing to take).

This is how I always determine if I am right, if it empowers me. I take everyone else out of the picture. I only offer advice when I am asked and I never feel the need to push my ‘rightness’ (feeling empowered) on them even though I know they will be empowered because I see a perfect universe with perfect events to give everyone exactly what they need to reach the next step and I never interfere with the perfect universe unless asked. Hence you asked 😉

It is one of the most frustrating things to experience, but remember, you have nothing to prove.

How to argue with someone who thinks they are always right

Growing up, my parents told me to be humble.

“Don’t go around telling everyone what you do and what you’ve achieved. Let them find out for themselves.”

I’ve taken this advice my whole life, believing I have nothing to prove and no need to show it off. I was taught if I really deserved attention and praise, someone else would share the good news on my behalf and that would garner more respect than if I spread the news myself.

So, how do you deal when you’re met with Negative Nancy or Pessimistic Paul, ready with undermining and backhanded compliments? Whether it’s at work, a networking event, or even from your cousin twice-removed, it’s one of the most frustrating feelings ever. For example:

Nancy: How’s work going?

You: It’s good, I am working on a big project with a fast-approaching deadline right now so it’s a busy time.

Nancy: Oh, that’s great to hear they’re giving big responsibilities to entry-level employees.

Paul: What do you do?

You: I am opening a restaurant downtown.

Paul: That’s such a great achievement for a woman.

Ugh. If you’re not familiar with responses like this, they’re called backhanded compliments. They’re words that are strung together to sound like a compliment, only to deviously undermine you in the process.

Anything you follow up with in this conversation is guaranteed to be met with eye rolls or more backhanded compliments. So, how do you deal? How do you respond when your conversation mate can’t stop being so rude?

Take a breath.

Remember this: things people say are a reflection of them, not you. When Paul says it’s such a great achievement for a woman, it’s because he’s insecure about the gender gap and still doesn’t know how to deal with a go-getting woman. Don’t take this comment to heart, just take a breath and know they’re coming from a different place.

Smile and move on.

The body has a fight-or-flight mode. To smile and move on is not a flight, but a recognition this person is not worth your time. If a new acquaintance says something you don’t like, you don’t have to give them the time of day anymore. Excuse yourself and move on.

Acknowledge the comment head on.

If you’re in fight mode, then say something. Ask Paul what he means by, “for a woman” and if he thinks it’s a great achievement for a man, too. If it feels like a good moment to teach a quick lesson about gender roles, then stand up for it. It’s easy to get heated, but focus on staying calm and address the root of the problem.

It’s a judgment call here, but remember to ultimately be the bigger person. You can’t change someone’s mind if they don’t want it changed, so say your peace and move on.

Turn it into your “why.”

When things make you upset, let it be the fuel to your fire. If Nancy thinks you’re just an “entry-level” employee, then let it push you even harder to get a promotion. When people want to doubt you, let it serve as reason why you will not succumb to their negativity.

Remember, you have nothing to prove. Your actions speak louder than words.

You know yourself best. Although it would be tempting in this type of situation to list off all of your achievements and detail how much of a hard worker you are, let it go. You don’t need to say a word. The more you say, the more they have to jab at.

To recover from a frustrating moment like this, acknowledge their insecurities and remind yourself you are fighting a bigger fight. What you end up doing has more significance that what you say you’re going to do and at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what this other person thinks or says about it.