Have you ever been around someone who is constantly correcting you, one-upping you, or arguing with you? You get the idea that they really think they’re better than everyone else in the room. I think that sometimes they are just struggling to prove their worth. Attitudes like this can stem from people with low self-esteem as well as people with self-esteem levels that are off the charts. There might be a way to tell the difference, but I haven’t been around enough people of both kinds to come to my own conclusions. Any ideas on how to tell?
Anyway, here’s a method that sometimes works with people who come across that way: total humility. If you are corrected, humble yourself, and without any sarcasm whatsoever, say something like, “I’m sorry, I had no idea. I shouldn’t be saying things like that unless I’m absolutely sure.” Or, “wow, so you really know a lot about that, hmm.” Even if they are wrong, I will usually just say, “oh, really?” instead of arguing. It makes no difference to me if they think I am slightly ignorant about a topic, even if I’m not. However, it may make a great difference to them. If you argue with them, they may obsess about it for the rest of the week!
If they correct you for something that you’re doing wrong, like cooking or pitching a tent, ask for their help: “I just have no idea what I’m doing here. I’m glad you know a lot about this, so now I will know who to ask!” I’m sure it won’t work for everyone, and sometimes, I can imagine that it may even escalate the problem. But if you’re around someone who maybe doesn’t realize that their comments could be making others feel inferior or insecure, this attitude can be a real eye-opener for them. Most people don’t want to make others feel badly; they just want others to think highly of them. I tried this approach several days ago, and before I knew it, the other person was making comments to increase my self-esteem instead!