You May Be Right

These are my favorite words from today.

How many times a day are we offered an opinion or thought that is different than what we believe or expect or wish to hear?

Sometimes these differing opinions create emotional conflict and sometimes we get caught up in the flow of the discussion trying to prove our opinion and to prove we are right.

But what if we just say, “you may be right.” There might be another sentence to follow, or there may be silence. You get to pick how engaged and how long you wish to continue the debate, I mean discussion.

I’ll give you an example. 

Your daughter says to you, “My math teacher is terrible.” You might want to explain why this isn’t true and share your opinion and keep the conversation going. Or you might just acknowledge her and say, “You may be right”  and move on to the dishes or reading or anything else, but arguing.

I can’t usually stop at just one sentence. I usually have to add my opinion, as a good teacher and knowing better of course, and add an And conjunction.  

My response would be more like, “You may be right AND you’re still responsible for your own grade.”

This is a very handy statement for busy people like us, to change the conversation, to exit a conflict gracefully and to bow out without going on and on.  

You should try it the next time you feel like reacting and don’t want to get into it.  Who knows? I may be right. 🙂

Good Night!! xo

9 thoughts on “You May Be Right

  1. You ARE right about the use of the simple phrase “You may be right!” Thanks for sharing that valuable tip–I will use it as needed with my teenager going forward. It acknowledges their opinion and feelings without getting involved in an argument. I have found myself in the same situation and argued the point to death. Most often, they just want to be heard and acknowledged–this simple phrase gives them that. Wish I had thought to use it years ago with my first teen. Live and learn!

  2. I need to learn how to say this, especially to my kids. So it will give me some time to slow down and rethink instead of jump into my conclusion. Thanks, Ling

  3. This is VERY hard for some people to do…admit that someone else is right about something. (If you read my latest post, you will know what I am talking about.) Putting the word “may” in there is a nice middle ground.

    • I think we all want to be validated. I think as moms and wives we also have this super big challenge in that we are usually right and want to influence our family, but they don’t always want to hear what we have to say and we feel so passionately that we are right. We don’t want to be controlling, we just want things to be right, and sometimes us telling people what they’re doing wrong is offensive to our family members, even though that is not our intention. We want to avoid pain, messes, and wasted time. We have to walk this fine line to meet our goals and to not offend yet to guide them along our shared path and get them to agree with us. That’s the hard part!! I think acknowledging that they may be right and to ask them to consider our option too, might help to sway them to move towards what is right for the family without bruising their egos. Does that make sense? For example, when your husband didn’t want to heed your advice about the cup being placed on the placemat, maybe you could offer something like, “You might be right that it should be okay on the table as is, but would you mind placing your cup on the mat just in case?” This way of saying it gives them control back and you don’t sound irritating because you’re acknowledging that they may be right too and you’re asking them to help please you. There is a difference.
      Hope this helps. 😉

      • You are spot on with describing what it is like walking that fine line! And that’s pretty much how it did go down with the conversation about the cup on the table. I did acknowledge that he’s right that the cup SHOULDN’T leave a water ring but that experience said otherwise. He still had to be right or didn’t want me to be right, and he pretty much does what suits him, not what will please others. I do try to acknowledge when I know I’ve made a mistake, when I was wrong about something, and when others are right, but the rest of my family doesn’t think along those lines…yet. I have hope for the kids, anyway. I just liked your approach of saying someone MAY be right as a way to validate their thought process without necessarily having to say they ARE right, which is a nice middle ground and could be said more frequently than you are right (depending on the situation, of course). I will have to try that.

      • Good luck! I know it’s hard and I hope it gets easier for you(and me ). We’re still learning and so are they. You will be a good role model for your kids and there is always hope!! Sometimes when my kids are mean with their words or don’t say what I think they should say, I say it for them the right way and ask them to repeat after me. Just like we would teach them anything else – repetition, repetition, and practice!!

      • Same here, and I try to have a discussion about how things could be said or done differently the next time, but my kids don’t take well to any kind of suggestion because it gets interpreted as criticism not matter how carefully I try to say things. They are teenagers or almost there, so they know everything and I know nothing. And they have had their dad as a role model of how to resist change or anyone else’s ideas, so I’m fighting a little bit of a losing battle. Good luck to you as well!

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