The need to be right is quite often not a bona fide need at all. There is a difference between genuine, absolute needs and felt needs that are far from crucial. One needs adequate food for bodily health. If one is stricken with appendicitis, qualified healthcare is needed. For example, it is right to work for societal systems that ensure needed food and healthcare for all people, and lobbying hard for rights such as this is, well . . . right.
This appeared 05 June 17 in the East Bay Times: “Phillip Wade of Antioch was arrested for allegedly stabbing Anthony Johnson of Pittsburg multiple times at a bus stop in Oakley on Saturday afternoon. According to police, Johnson and Wade were arguing over sports and politics on a Tri Delta Transit bus.” Johnson later died in hospital.
Sports and politics. The “need” to be right led to a man’s death. Sports, politics, culture, what year Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon, and thousands of other far-less-than-critical issues have led to bitter, sometimes relationship-ending, arguments. Often the cause of the destructive encounter is the felt need to be right.
As noted above, there are indeed times and issues where being right is critically important. If that was not the case, U.S. women would still not be able to vote, and people of color would still be forced to sit in the back of the bus. But so, so often individuals push and push and push their right viewpoint when the importance of such is minimum-to-minuscule. . . and the consequence is either temporary or lasting acrimonious relationships.
The key: prudent judgment with respect to what is or isn’t really important. Being right all the time is far from needed for self-esteem. What is helpful – although often quite difficult – is the willingness to admit that I just might be wrong.