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When it is Right to Tell Someone They’re Wrong?

Being agreeable is good thing, right?

It’s easier to hold a conversation, share your thoughts and grow relationships with agreeable people. And agreeable people are nicer, more helpful and caring than people who like to argue.

So it’s easy to see why we’re taught to be agreeable, even if it means we have to agree to disagree.

But that doesn’t always work, like when agreeing comes at expense of the truth.

Today, I was given a lesson on some Web usability best practices that were 100% wrong. I mean, I know this — I study usability and have gone to trainings on it. And it wasn’t just one mistake, either, it was two big mistakes that contribute to failure, not success.

But even though I knew better, I didn’t say anything. It just wasn’t worth it. I thought about saying something, though, but there was really no upside to it.

I may not be a totally agreeable person, at least according to Wikipedia and my predictive index. Read this:

Jason is an independent and individualistic person, strong-minded and determined. Venturesome, he will stick his neck out and take responsibility for risks when he believes he is right. He finds the challenge of new problems and new ventures stimulating, and responds to them with action. He has a lot of confidence in himself, his own knowledge, ability and decisions.

I don’t know if that makes me egotistical, or just confident, or what — my PI also says I value my own “ideas, judgments, and opinions more than he does those of most other people” — but it got me thinking: when is it right to tell someone they’re wrong?

Is ignorance really bliss? Does the truth matter?

Let me know what you think in a comment.


  1. Jay

    Not sure why so many ostensibly in the middle are so inflamed with anger at the prospect of a national health care bill, other than the fanning of those flames by the Right.

    I mean going to war and not paying for it is fine–agreeable–to most, but helping those who for whatever reason, need it.

    Guess it’s easier to help out those at a distance than those nearby, too easy to ascribe some label like “lazy” or “slacker” to those in need here at home.

    I suppose saying this makes me disagreeable, but I was taught to revere the truth.

    It’s best to be funny when telling the truth.

    Franklin pulled it off. Not so sure about Washington.

    Lincoln. was a funny guy!

  2. Jay

    Last line was supposed to read: Lincoln, was a funny guy!

  3. Jay

    Lincoln, THERE was a funny guy! Obviously, my grasp of XHTML is limited. There was supposed to be ital.

  4. The truth can hurt, bite you in the butt and be the biggest burden you carry when not shared. I lost a friend when I told him some hard news. It was better than facing his wife knowing the truth.

    I get grilled all the time about spelling errors on websites. Guess what 30% of the people searching can’t spell and are more likely to find you if you misspell some things on purpose. That is a truth that no one wants to know or admit.

    When finding out that which is true yet disagreeable receive the truth the way Jay says to tell it, laugh it off and get over it.

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