Sometimes you’re just wrong

Sometimes you're just wrong. It is a difficult feeling, but for the sake of yourself and everyone you talk to, learn how to be wrong.

A sheep in front of a chalkboard where 2 + 2 = 5 is written.

If you’re reading this, someone sent you this post and thought you should probably take in these words because, chances are, you were just wrong.

Ah, the word “just”. Brad Frost wrote about it in his blog with the title “just”, give it a read. I linked it to tell you that I have read it and I included that “just” in the title for a reason.

On to the actual topic. Lately I’ve been seeing more and more people frame things as a difference of an opinion when the results are clear cut. I don’t know where that comes from. I suppose things like “all feelings are valid” (they aren’t all valid), or “all ideas are welcome”, or media’s insistence of both sidesing everything nowadays to give a “balanced” and “fair” picture of whatever topic.

There’s also a thriving community over at the subreddit r/ConfidentlyIncorrect chock full of people who are just wrong. And are confident about it.

Or maybe the issue is the mantra of “fake it ’til you make it”? Being wrong confidently over and over and over again (faking it) isn’t going to make you right (making it). You are just wrong. I’m unsure, however here are a few ways you can be just wrong.

You think you could score against Serena Williams in a game of tennis? If your opinion is anything other than “nope, that’s impossible”, you’re just wrong.

Or when you’re arguing with an expert about their field in which you are not an expert in? You’re not expressing an alternate opinion. You’re just wrong. And making an embarrassment of yourself.

Or you think the Earth is flat? It’s easily verifiable and the overwhelming majority of your life is made possible by stuff that work because we know the Earth is a globe. You are not of a different opinion. You are just wrong.

Or you think that certain people are predestined to be one thing, others another thing because of who they are? Like, dunno, “women can’t be engineers, because”? Repeat after me: you are not of a different opinion, you are merely wrong.

Or when you think that when Black people tell you that some issue stems from racism, and you come back with a “well, actually, it’s about class” or some other shit just to take your, and their, focus away from the incredibly uncomfortable realisation that racism literally underpins every facet of modern civilization? I’m sure you figured out what comes next, but let me write it down nonetheless: you are just wrong.

And do you know what the saddest part in all of this is? That it’s almost impossible for us to tell you that you’re wrong, because you’re most likely aren’t going to budge. You’re just going to double down harder whatever we tell you.

We know this. So we disengage. Maybe tell you that you’re an ass, maybe send this link to you, but otherwise go about our days. And then you feel like you’ve “won,” because we left the debate, or called you names and therefore your side is better.

No, you’re just wrong, and we don’t want to put in more effort into something that we find ultimately futile. It’s a lot easier to cut ties with you.

Do you know what would be excellent? If you had the humility to shut up, look at the information sent your way, sit with your discomfort, get used to being wrong and being perceived wrong by others, and making peace with that. We are all wrong a lot of times during a single day. The difference is how we handle when we’re told we’re wrong.

Cover photo by Elimende Inagella on Unsplash