Making Others Wrong

This week’s guest blog is by frequent contributor: Cinnie Noble. Cinnie is the founder of CINERGY™ Coaching, a division of Noble Solutions Inc in Toronto, Canada. She is a lawyer-mediator, a certified coach and a former social worker, who has studied and practiced a range of conflict management services, for over 20 years. Cinnie is a much sought-after speaker and regularly presents internationally, on conflict management coaching. Cinnie  is a guest lecturer at Osgoode Hall Law School, in their Masters of Law (Alternative Dispute Resolution) program. She is the author of “Conflict Management Coaching: The CINERGY™ Model”, available through

One of the things that sometimes happens when we are embroiled in an interpersonal conflict is that we perceive the differences between us as a matter of right and wrong. That is, that we are right and the other person is wrong! That perspective may be the other person’s too, of course. In many cases, such attributions do not apply and mostly, they don’t serve us well. Yet, when there is a need to find fault, it seems many of us think in positional terms of black versus white and hold strongly to those oppositional views.
Insisting on being right and making others wrong is one way of managing conflict. However,  the reality is this approach doesn’t advance resolution, reconcile the relationship, clear the air or achieve positive outcomes, there are other ways to proceed if we want to. This blog will include self-reflective questions for those who want an outcome that helps to make amends and is based more on thinking about the grey in between the starkness of black and white positions.
Please consider a dispute in which you and another person have disagreed or are currently disagreeing, and ask yourself these questions:
• What makes the other person’s viewpoint ‘wrong’?
• What is ‘right’ about it?
• What makes your viewpoint ‘wrong’ for him or her?
• What is ‘right’ about your perspective that he or she doesn’t seem to understand?
• What seems to be keeping him or her from understanding your perspective?
• What if anything may you both agree on?
• What is the main thing (do you think) that is keeping you two from accepting each other’s point of view (and even agreeing to disagree)?
• What do you think it would take for him or her to acknowledge the way(s) you are ‘right’?
• What do you think it would take for you to acknowledge the way(s) he or she is ‘right’?
• What approach may you take that is neither black nor white but a shade of grey, to help you make amends?

Try asking these questions when the next right/wrong battle comes up for you.

Cinnie Nobel  is the founder of CINERGY™ Coaching, a division of Noble Solutions Inc in Toronto, Canada. You can contact Cinnie at: 1-866-335-6466, or visit her web site at:
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4 Responses to Making Others Wrong

  1. Ken Powers says:


    Yes…just went through this with my wife, both of us Al-Anons, both of us needing to be “right,” and it was painful

    Thank you for this clarity!!!

    Ken P

    • admin says:

      Please send me a short 1000 word blog on co-dependency in men…I would love to post it!

  2. Needing to make others wrong implies I am first, not listening to what the other is saying, and secondly, not demonstrating respect of the other person. This compromises any trust building and leads to both parties talking at each other with no one hearing the other. This kind of disrespect will chew any relationship up and spit it out. Disrespect becomes the termite of a relationship, as it will dissolve the foundation and the relationship will come tumbling in on itself.

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