People sometimes get things wrong. The problem is that these same people frequently repeat their bad opinion or information over and over to others. It this person happens to be numbered among your friends, you may feel that it is your responsibility to correct your friend’s mistake. How you do this is important. There are some guidelines that you should consider before telling friends that they are wrong.
Not everything wrong needs to be pointed out.
Some people who struggle not to point out the faults and mistakes of others. If you are one of them, learn to decide if the issue at hand is worth the risk of pointing it out. Telling a friend that he or she is wrong can cost you a friendship. Small things that will be forgotten in short order should not be pointed out. Pick carefully before bring up the errors.
Make sure that you are right before calling a friend wrong.
Not many things hurt worse than finding out you incorrectly corrected someone close to you. It hurts because you feel foolish and now need to apologize for your error. Unless you believe that you friend is in immediate danger because of the problem, take the time to check out your own facts before calling a friend wrong. The idea driving the act of correcting a friend should be concern for the friend. If this is true, you will want to take the time be right before telling friends they are wrong.
Try not to tell friends that they are wrong too often.
No one likes to be overly criticized. Even close friends can cross this line. Give your friends some space to be human without pointing out their every mistake. One here and there is fine. If it is well-timed and helpful, it will be appreciated. Step around to your friend’s side of the picture and see if you would enjoy being told about your shortcomings as often as you point out your friend’s errors. If you are a little sensitive about this, you should be able to manage not to get carried away pointing out faults.
Avoid turning it into an argument.
People tend to get defensive when someone tells them that they are wrong. They can even become aggressive about pointing out your faults to you as you are trying to tell them about their faults. Suddenly, you find yourself getting defensive and the argument has begun. If you have to preface your comments to your friend with the words, “this may make you mad, but….” You are well on your way to an argument.
Do it as privately as possible.
Public criticism is hard to take. If you tell your friend about being wrong in front of others, you are increasing the odds that your information will not be well received. Find or make a chance to share this type of information privately. Your friend is much more likely to respond positively in a private setting than in a public one.
Tell them as gently as you can.
Try not to be on the attack or act superior while telling a friend about being wrong. Since you like this person, it only makes sense that you will be gentle while discussing his or her error. If it creates tension, do not press the issue. It can be revisited later if needed. Once you have made your point, exit the conversation or change the subject.
Be prepared to accept that your friend may never concede the error.
Some people cannot easily admit to error. If your friend is this type of person, your purpose may be served, but you may not get the verbal response that you are looking for. If the person does not become combative, you will get your response as you watch your friend’s changes in behavior and speech when the wrong practice or information does not happen again.