I am right and I am also right - having it both ways.

I have been thinking lately about situations where, depending on which side of things I am on, I feel totally and entirely in the right. When I find myself on the other side of the same situation, I also consider myself completely in the right.

Take for example parking lots. When I am driving, pedestrians are slow-moving road hogs, who can’t be bothered to move to the side of the aisle so that someone can get by. When I am the pedestrian, I constantly find myself thinking, “Cool your jets! I’m walking here. Yeesh, it’s a parking lot not a road.”

Or take when I’m driving in the fast lane on one of our fine Bay Area freeways. 4-6 lanes in each direction. Speed limit 65, but, heck 80 is about “the flow of traffic.” If someone wants to get by me, especially if I’d have to merge into slower traffic, I think, “15 miles over the speed limit in an urban area ought to be enough” while getting progressively more irked by how close they are to my bumper. When I am the one behind the slow car in the fast lane, I want a Wile E. Coyote dart gun or something. It raises my blood pressure no end.

Anyone else find themselves in a “you’re always right” situation?

There’s a word for this feeling. It’s called being a “hypocrite”. And yes, everyone is one to some degree.

I’m always right. Except when my gf is right, which is surprisingly often.

I don’t think it’s a matter of right or wrong. You’re just feeling emotions from whatever your current perspective happens to be. But I think it’s good that you’re looking at and questioning the behavior.

When he was younger, my husband would always lose his temper when someone would tailgate him. He’d slam on his brakes or slow down even more. Now he just pulls over and lets them go by. He doesn’t get angry and I’m very glad for the change in his behavior.

Perspective bias.

This. Or as the late Comedian George Carlin once described it: “Ever notice that someone driving slower than you is an asshole, while someone driving faster than you is a maniac?”

I find that when I am watching my son at the park every other parent seems either ridiculously over-protective, hovering way too close and smothering their kid, or entirely neglectful, ignoring their kid as they text or gossip. They also all either ridiculously overdress their kids or have no concern for their kid’s health, exposing them to bitter cold.

Also, they seem really judgmental.

Finally, someone who “gets” me! My husband is always trying to tell me I’m wrong about stuff. :rolleyes:


If you’re in one of these situations, you’re not always “right”, you’re always wrong. Consistency of perspective on the same situation is what makes one “right”.

For example, using the parking lot example, yes, if someone walking through is in the middle of the road, that’s inconsiderate, but if I see that someone is making an effort to not impede traffic, fine, I can be patient. Similarly, if I’m walking in a parking lot, I make a point of staying to one side and, unless there’s no cars coming, I try to cross as perpendicular as is reasonable to minimize the time I’m blocking traffic. It’s really only when I see people meandering or making excessively diagonal crossings that I’d even begin to think them inconsiderate. Also, as a pedestrian, minimizing my time in the middle area makes me safer too.

Same for the fast lane. The general rule is the left lane goes fastest, heavy traffic excepted. Thus, if someone is going as fast or faster than the other lanes, even if it’s not as fast as I’d like, I’ll be patient. As long as I’m going as fast or faster than the other lanes, anyone behind me can also be patient. And if I’m not planning to go that fast or I’m content going with the speed of the other lanes, then I don’t get in the left lane. Hell, here in Virginia, as I understand the laws, even if the flow of traffic is above the speed limit, you’re still required to move right even if you’re going the speed limit but going slower than the flow. Regardless, I think it’s fair to expect someone going slower than flow to move over, and if someone is going at or faster than flow and I want to go even faster, I’ll wait. What’s the few seconds going slightly slower? Totally not worth getting upset over.

So, yeah, when I find myself in these sorts of situations, I make a point of figuring out where my hypocrisy is, and trying to fix it.

My ex was a lot like that, which is a big part of the reason that she’s my ex.


Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men In A Boat is a quite delightful study of this state of mind - throughout the whole story, the author/protagonist rants about some attribute of his fellows as a vice, then in the next breath, goes on to describe the same attribute in himself as if it were a virtue.

My father used to say, “I was only wrong one time in my life. And that was the time I thought I was wrong, but I was really right.”

He meant it. And, no, my last name isn’t Trump.

I have to work on my thread starting skillz.

Of course I recognize that I’m being ridiculous. That was the point I was trying to make, obviously poorly. I also wanted to see if anyone else found themselves in similar situations. Manda Jo provided a great example.

Maybe another example is “my baby is the cutest thing in the world and all other babies are scrunched up red blobs,” even when your baby is also a scrunched up red blob at first too.

I guess I was looking for examples of times when we all do this.

Heck, most people do it all the time but don’t even realize it, so you’re asking for more introspection than I am capable of till I drink more coffee.

I agree that most people are like this, in that they don’t cultivate the willingness and ability to see situations in the shoes of other people. So, as a pedestrian in a parking lot I always walk to the side, because as a driver there is a huge difference between driving 7 or 8 mph (as not behind a pedestrian) or 1-3 mph (behind a pedestrian). I’m prepared to be accused of being preachy and self-satisfied, but this is a big part of maturity, in my opinion.

Also, and on the other hand, not fussing about trivia like how you want to drive faster is another part of maturity. And better for your health, and the happiness of people around you. Life seems so much better when you can relax about those kinds of things.

When I make a typo, it’s because I’m a Busy Person who can’t spend all day proofreading pointless posts on the internet. When anyone else does, it obviously invalidates whatever point they were trying to make and reveals them to be a blithering idiot who doesn’t even understand apostrophes.

(And yes, the above was very closely reread. ;))

Not really. I used to, but not so much any more.

As Roderick Femm said, it’s about cultivating the willingness and ability to see things from the other person’s perspective. I make a game out of it: whenever I feel “wronged” in some way (getting cut off in traffic, whatever), I try to think of some way–any way–for it to have a reasonable explanation. Was I hovering in that person’s blind spot? Does that person have a handicap that prevents them from walking quickly? Is their speedometer miscalibrated? Are they distracted from having heard bad news recently? Etc.

If I run though my list of mental explanations and come up with nothing, then I “allow” myself to blame the person in some way. But this almost never happens, and the feeling I get from it is undesirable anyway. So I just convert it to a learning experience and think of ways to ensure that I’m not a jerk like them.

Again to repeat what Roderick Femm said, life is better when you can be relaxed about this stuff. It doesn’t even interfere with my smug sense of superiority.

When you’re right whether you’re right or wrong, it must follow that the “other guy” is wrong, whether he’s right or wrong. Right/wrong parity is conserved. It’s one of the fundamental laws of Quantum Rightness Theory.