Is It Better To Be Kind or Right?

 In Relationships

Are there times it is more important to be kind than right?  I remember a scene from a TV show where a kid in the back seat was smugly correcting his Mom about some comment she had made.  His Dad looked at him in the mirror and softly said, “Sometimes it is better to be kind than right.”  That scene has stuck with me.  As humans, we generally have an innate need to be right.  I know I suffer from this.  I can remember times arguing about some trivial detail that didn’t matter but I KNEW I was right so I couldn’t let it go.  “No!  That happened 5 years ago, not 3!”

There is a famous story about two people enjoying each other’s company as they take a walk in the woods.  It is a lovely day and they are having a wonderful time.  Then they hear a sound, “Quack, quack.”  One person comments, “That’s a chicken.”  The other person scoffs and says, “No!  That’s a duck.”  The arguing continues until there are tears and hurt feelings.  Finally, one of them realizes how the argument is ruining their walk and harming their relationship and says, “I’m sorry.  You must be right.  That must be a chicken.”  Harmony is restored and they continue their walk.  To read a full version of this story, go to

Of course, there are times it is important to correct misinformation to avoid danger or making the wrong decision, but when it really doesn’t matter, can you let it go?  It can be very difficult and goes against our instinct to be right, but if it can avoid hurt feelings or damaged relationships, isn’t it worth it?  Not only will the other person like you more, you’ll be happier too!


Tina Hallis, Ph.D., is a professional speaker and consultant for The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to helping people and organizations fulfill their true potential using strategies from the science of Positive Psychology.

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