Ok, imagine you’re debating with your wife over the best way to pack your car for a road trip. She wants to put the cooler in the back because it’s the flattest place and you’ll be able to keep all the contents level. But, you disagree. You want to put it in the middle, that way it will be easily accessible. Since you’ve both been packing and loading the car, you’re a little on edge. You’re stressed and sweaty and start to argue about the all important cooler placement. Finally to avoid confrontation, you say “FINE, we’ll put it in the back!” You don’t think it is best, but you don’t want to fight anymore.
A few hours down the road, your wife is thirsty and wants a drink from the cooler. You respond with a slight air of smugness that she can’t get one because it’s back in the back. But, she’s really thirsty, and asks if you can pull over. So, you pull over on the shoulder of the interstate and go open the trunk. But you still can’t get to it so you have to unload a few bags first. Finally, you get to the cooler, get out a drink, re-load the bags you moved, and come back around to the front.
As you hand her the drink you have an important decision to make. What do you say?? I’m going to give you some choices:
- “I told you we should have put the cooler in the middle!”
- “Don’t you wish we hadn’t put that in the back now?”
- “Well, that was annoying!”
- “Next time, I’m just going to pack the car myself.”
- Say nothing, but silently indicate that you’re not happy
The best response is…NONE OF THESE! These are all the WORST! You feel wronged…I get that. Yes, your opinion to put the cooler in the middle may have been better, and now you’ve been inconvenienced. But, nothing is gained by pointing this out to your wife. Mostly likely she is KEENLY aware of the fact that your idea would actually have been better. She doesn’t need you to point it out. By doing so, you’re rubbing it in her face. This tells her that you think you’re better and you want her to know it, and you don’t care how she feels…as long as she knows you’re right!!
But, what if she gives no indication that she realizes the error of her packing ways. She is completely clueless to the egregious error she made. What do you do then??? NOTHING…except get her the darn drink, hand it to her with a genuine smile and ask if there is anything else you can get for her! You DON’T need to be right. You DON’T need to point out when she was wrong. The accomplishes nothing except a feeling of superiority on your part.
Now, imagine you’re on the flip side of this. Let’s say YOU were the one who wanted to put the cooler in the back, and it becomes apparent that your wife’s opinion was a better one. TAKE THE HIGH ROAD. Nothing will make your wife feel better than you saying, “You know what? Your idea to put the cooler in the middle WAS a better idea. I’m sorry that I didn’t listen to you.” How awesome would THAT be!! There is nothing lost by saying this. It prevents you from perpetuating tension, and shows her you can be humble. And it acknowledges to her that you feel she has valuable things to offer.
My challenge to you:
These 4 words, “I told you so” need to be completely taken out of your vocabulary. If you were right, forget about it. There is nothing to be gained by rubbing it in your wife’s face. And if you realize you are wrong, admit it.