Tips for Jerks: “Perhaps You’re Right”

My husband jokes that the most important bit of marriage advice his father gave him was the three words, “Perhaps you’re right.” Just admitting that possibility often prevents a fight from escalating, because even though it doesn’t mean you agree with the other person, it means you recognize the possibility that they’re on to something.

Admitting that someone might be right – even if you acknowledge that you think they’re wrong – implies that you’re humble enough to know you sometimes make mistakes. Saying something like “I might be wrong” or “you might be right” makes you less threatening and less arrogant. It also gently reminds you, as you say it, that you might be wrong. Your spouse or sibling or friend might be right. It requires you to question whether you’re making sense, instead of just assuming you’re right because you’re always right.

Saying “perhaps you’re right” means you’ll consider the other person’s perspective, but doesn’t require you to cave in and agree with everything they’re saying. ♦

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