7 moments in life when the best thing to do is admit you were wrong

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How many times have you been wrong about someone or something and just wanted to hide away and pretend like it didn’t happen? Have you been stubborn and stuck to your story in fear of embarrassment?

No one likes to be wrong, let alone admit it. But there are some moments in life where the best thing to do is just admit it. 

Read on to find out more!

1) Arguments in relationships

You probably won’t be surprised that the first point is ‘arguments in relationships.’

Have you ever argued with your significant other, been stubborn, and later felt awful because you knew you were wrong?  Yeah, same. It doesn’t feel great, does it?

Even though it’s often hardest to admit your mistakes to the people closest to you, admitting that you’ve been wrong is one of the keys to a long-lasting, solid relationship. Why? Because it promotes honesty, openness, vulnerability, and trust. 

Once you begin to admit that you’ve been wrong, your partner might also start to feel more comfortable doing the same. 

When you admit you’re wrong to your significant other, you are showing them that you value your relationship more than being right. This shows humility and opens up communication channels between the two of you. 

2) Workplace mistakes

How many times have you messed up at work and tried to cover it up only to get found out later? It’s embarrassing, right? I’m sure we’ve all been there and done that at least once in our careers.

I used to think that my boss wouldn’t think I was good at my job if I admitted that I was wrong or had made a mistake, but over time I realized that they preferred me to admit it. This showed my boss I was honest, trustworthy, and open to constructive feedback. And we ended up getting on way better than before.

When I tried this with the rest of my colleagues, soon enough, the relationships I had with them became more honest and open, and they would then come to me if they had messed up.

3) Parenting

Think back to when you were young. How often did your parents tell you that they had made a mistake, or were wrong about something? I know mine rarely did. 

Often we think that adults have to be right all the time, but admitting that you were wrong teaches your children what it is to be human and enables them to trust you even more, knowing that you will always be honest with them.

This, in turn, encourages your child to be honest with you when they make mistakes. 

Aren’t we always teaching children that making mistakes helps them to learn? Well, it’s not just through school work but in life too. 

Children are like little sponges with very good memories, and in my experience appreciate honesty even more than adults. It helps them to understand what’s going on and builds compassion.

4) Friendships

Just as it is with your partner or family, it’s hard to admit you’re wrong to your friends. I don’t know about you, but sometimes my friends will keep reminding me about a time when I was wrong about something, which doesn’t make it easier to admit when I’m wrong. 

But sadly, I’ve learned the hard way that being honest and admitting I was wrong can have negative consequences.

Ruining a close friendship because I couldn’t admit I was in the wrong, wasn’t fun. We were two stubborn people butting heads about a situation that led to the end of very close friendship. 

If one of us had admitted that we had been wrong, then I believe that we probably could have sorted the situation and would most likely be even closer friends today.

Don’t let stubbornness get in the way of something that could last a lifetime.

5) Ethical dilemmas 

How often do you think you know everything about one side of an ethical dilemma, just to realize after rethinking or learning some new information that you had it wrong the whole time? 

Changing your ethical stance on something can be one of the hardest things to come back from. How about that friend who used to be a vegetarian and then decided to eat meat again? How does everyone treat them? How much do they get teased?

That person had to tell everyone they knew that they had changed their mind about how they saw the world or what they valued. That can be difficult, embarrassing, and something you have to keep admitting over and over again. 

So how can we admit that we have been wrong without feeling embarrassed every time?

Being honest, without excuses, and with a bit of humor for good measure has worked wonders for me. If you can laugh at yourself, it softens the mood and helps everyone feel more comfortable.

We’re always learning and so the way we think is always going to change. Remember, it’s not just happening to you. And so it’s great to show some compassion when others admit they have been wrong.

6) Teamwork or collaborations

I’m sure you can think of a time when you were working on a collaborative project at school, University, work or with a community group, and someone in your team was stubborn about doing something a certain way, even though the rest of the group weren’t so sure about it.

Then, when it turned out that they were wrong, that person was still adamant that they were right. 

I don’t know about you, but I feel so frustrated with people like this. So I’ve made it a rule that I always admit when I am wrong, just so I don’t end up being that person. 

In these situations, (if you do accidentally become that person), a good thing to do is explain your intent and, next, acknowledge the impact that your mistake had on the rest of the team. Then, of course, apologize. 

No one wants a whole group of people annoyed at them at the same time. 

7) Judgements and prejudices

Every day, everyone is constantly making judgments. Judgments about the people they meet, different countries and cities, food, and movies. The list goes on. 

Often the judgments we make are generalizations, or biased. Then when we finally get to know that person or give that new food a try we change our opinion. That’s when it’s important to admit that we have been wrong, and judged a book by its cover, if you will.

But even though we all do it, admitting we judged someone or something in the first place is not something most people want to admit. 

As with all admissions of being wrong, we could be subject to embarrassment or judgment from others. But it’s always worth it in the end, otherwise, you have to go around pretending, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time for that.

Final thoughts

Some key things to remember when you’re admitting when you have been wrong:

  • Try not to make excuses as to why you were wrong or made the mistake.
  • Be honest and direct. 
  • Seek clarification and show that you are willing to learn
  • And of course, don’t forget to use some humor. Laughter is the best medicine after all.

Louisa Lopez

Louisa is writer, wellbeing coach, and world traveler, with a Masters in Social Anthropology. She is fascinated by people, psychology, spirituality and exploring psychedelics for personal growth and healing. She’s passionate about helping people and has been giving empowering advice professionally for over 10 years using the tarot. Louisa loves magical adventures and can often be found on a remote jungle island with her dogs. You can connect with her on Twitter - @StormJewel

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