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How to Help a Friend (I Love You, but You’re Wrong)

September 9, 2010

We all have friends who subscribe to the notion that they are never wrong. We go to class with them, we eat lunch with them, watch movies, take walks, car rides, and live life with these “gods of infallibility.” When faced with imminent correction, these individuals begin to engage in a poorly constructed (based loosely on a “sorta truth”) arguments defending their position. Often times the defense of their statement ends with the innocent listener being blamed with a misinterpretation of what the “Almighty Knower” said. This issue of never being wrong can extend to any number of topics, and usually does. From the nature of the universe to relationship advice, your friend will tell you exactly how you should live life. A whole host of headaches plague the brave few who befriend someone with such knowledge, and the task is seemingly impossible. I intend to make this task much easier for those few by asking one simple question…

How do you correct the uncorrectable? i.e. How can you help a friend look less like an idiot to everyone else?

The road to enlightenment is never easy. Pushing someone down that road is even easier. Every relationship with a Knower of All Knowledge eventually comes to a fork in the road. You must decide whether to put up with the current state of the friendship or be willing to sacrifice the friendship for the betterment of mankind. The world needs correcting, and so do the people in it. It is your responsibility to help the Know-It-All understand their misguidedness.

This task can only be achieved when you are willing put it all on the line for your friend.

I suggest writing a letter, leaving a memo, sending an email, or even a social networking message. The message may begin any number of ways. “Dear John, you aren’t right all the time…””Dear John,  you suck…””Dear John, how dare you…””Dear John, I love you, but sometimes…” These are all valid positions to take when confronting your friend. You may prefer to have a physical conversation, and I deeply discourage this.

The reason I discourage face-to-face confrontation is obvious, the recipient of such news may lash out in anger, both physically and/or verbally. Any attack on the wealth of knowledge held by such a person can be dangerous to deal with. Also, the convenience of being able to go back and read the confrontation multiple times may help the news sink in and settle. After all, you are condemning said friend’s activities out of necessity.

You are much like Frodo carrying the ring into the depths of Mordor. You don’t WANT to, but you MUST. Whatever joy you derive from confronting your friend should be held deep in your heart, never to be known. Either way the situation goes, you end up a winner by A. losing a terrible friend or B. gaining version 2.0 of the old one. These tips will help you when confronting your friends.

-sensei

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sunflowerdiva permalink
    September 9, 2010 11:02 am

    Haha, I know a few people like this. Maybe I’ll try out a few of your tips sometime. 🙂

  2. September 9, 2010 11:43 am

    A close friend of mine is like this. He is always right, no matter what, even if he has to surreptitiously change his opinion to match the situation. And if you call him out on this, then clearly you are the one in the wrong, as you must have mistaken him. Thus, you are the idiot, and should be ashamed of yourself.

    I have confronted him in writing, as I’m terrible with face-to-face confrontation. I think (hope) I’m closer to gaining a version 2.0 of this friend, as I would hate to lose such a caring person as a dear friend. I definitely suggest you, as the instigator of the confrontation, remain calm and level-headed. I also viewed things from his angle, so I added in “I understand that you… and thus you… But please also understand that I…” which I think helped.

    Weaseling an apology out of him is impossible, he changed his attitude, which is even better in my opinion. Instead of uttering a simple word, he apologizes with a string of actions that show he’s learned. Thank for the post!

    • September 9, 2010 1:48 pm

      You are completely right. It takes time for these things to happen, no one changes overnight. It always takes time. Sometimes we must be careful not to turn into the “right” person, even in the face of such conflicts. Anyways, I hope everything turns out perfectly between you and you’re friend!

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