Author Topic: "Um, not my point" - how to react to rude correcting? (Sm. U.D. #19)  (Read 10958 times)

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Softly Spoken

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So this happens with my BF, but I am putting it in the general life section because I am sure other eHellions have experienced it with various people in various relationships.

My BF is very literal minded and detail oriented. He has a habit of correcting me on what I consider trivial things when I am talking about something. I find it very annoying that he fixates on little details, especially when they usually have nothing to do with my point. I feel end up feeling like he doesn't understand, isn't listening and/or cares more about being right.
I can't think of an actual example so I will make one up here:
Me: "So I couldn't catch my 2nd bus and I had to walk all the way to the ferry. Good thing it was blue skies and not raining!"
Him: "You know, the sky isn't actually blue that's just the color that comes through the light spectrum."
Me: *mentally taking a deeeep breath.* "Yeah. Um, anyway I'm just glad I made it to the ferry on time."

Or something like:
Me: "So when *important historical event happened* in 1956, it was important because-"
Him: "Actually I'm pretty sure it was 1957."
Me: *wondering why the ehell one lousy year bleepin matters especially since we're discussing historical event!* "...so yeah when it happened in whatever year it happened-"
Him: "I'm positive it was 1957 because *blah blah blah needless justification*"
Me: *done with talking about important historical event and just about done in general*


I had a minor epiphany when I went to visit my BF and met his roommate - they do this to each other quite a lot and it is often in reference to the accuracy of sports or other competitive events:
BF: "Yeah I totally beat your high score in *video game* by like 200 points.
Roommate: "You only beat my score in beginners difficulty and it was 199 points."
BF: "Man, you're a sore loser like *professional sports player.*"
Roommate: "Ha! You mean *other professional sports player*!"
Me: thinking - *well either way he beat you and why the heck does any of this matter??*

So I'm thinking that in my BF's case this is in part a macho one-up habit that he has gotten into by spending so much time competing with the guys he hangs out with? ???

Also, I have to admit that I have corrected BF on the details or facts of a subject on a few occasions. I can't help but notice he doesn't seem to like it. ::)

So the questions I have are
1) When do you correct people and when do you let things go?
2) How do you correct people politely if you do feel the need to correct them?
3) How do you handle it when someone's correcting you is coming across and nitpicking/rude and is really annoying?
« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 06:04:36 PM by Softly Spoken »
"... for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
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LeveeWoman

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Re: "Um, not my point" - how to react to rude correcting?
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2013, 02:30:50 PM »
I put a lot of space beween me and people like that.

WillyNilly

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Re: "Um, not my point" - how to react to rude correcting?
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2013, 02:34:49 PM »
Honestly, considering the examples you gave, I would conclude the person does not know how to carry on a conversation and would simply avoid speaking with them conversationally. I wouldn't give them a cut direct, but I would limit myself to pleasantries ('how are you?" and "you look well") and answering opinion-type questions ("personally I prefer pizza to burgers"), or indisputable facts (I where I work, where I went on vacation, etc).

If someone corrected me constantly I would just start walking away, I certainly would not have the patience to chose to be in a close personal relationship with them; its a rude and unpleasant habit and shows a lack of interpersonal skills IMO.

Amava

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Re: "Um, not my point" - how to react to rude correcting?
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2013, 02:35:58 PM »
Oh my word, you are dating Sheldon Cooper?  ;D


TurtleDove

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Re: "Um, not my point" - how to react to rude correcting?
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2013, 02:43:24 PM »
Yeah, I would handle this by not being around this person.

Sheila Take a Bow

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Re: "Um, not my point" - how to react to rude correcting?
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2013, 02:45:07 PM »
So the questions I have are
1) When do you correct people and when do you let things go?
2) How do you correct people politely if you do feel the need to correct them?
3) How do you handle it when someone's correcting you is coming across and nitpicking/rude and is really annoying?

1)  I correct them if it matters.  So mostly, I let things go.  If I'm correcting a misconception that will make someone waste time or money, that matters.  But being a year off for some historical event?

2) When I do feel the need to correct, I usually ask, "Are you sure?  I heard that...." or something like that.  I don't ever try to rub it in someone's face.

3) I end the conversation.  So if I'm trying to tell a story and someone goes on and on about one detail, I just stop.  If prompted to continue my story, I will declare that I've lost my train of thought.  I find trying to have a conversation with someone who is trying to find holes in the story to be very tiresome, and it makes me less likely to want to share information with them.

ilrag

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Re: "Um, not my point" - how to react to rude correcting?
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2013, 03:05:25 PM »
It sounds like a personality "quirk" that you have to decide if you can live with or it bugs you too much.

I'm an engineer and spend 90% of my day with engineers and that sounds like typical conversations to me.  :)

Surianne

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Re: "Um, not my point" - how to react to rude correcting?
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2013, 03:10:24 PM »
It sounds like a personality "quirk" that you have to decide if you can live with or it bugs you too much.

I'm an engineer and spend 90% of my day with engineers and that sounds like typical conversations to me.  :)

I spend a lot of time around nerdy types too (I'm one of them!) and yeah, interrupting to share trivia or correct a small fact is pretty normal (the "why the sky is blue" thing in particular reminds me of a few of my friends). 

I don't think it's something that will be easy to change, since he wouldn't see it as a fault, and neither would many other people in his social circle, so it's really a "live with it or don't" situation.  If you can think of it as his way of participating in the conversation and sharing, that might be helpful -- a way to reframe what bugs you.

sweetonsno

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Re: "Um, not my point" - how to react to rude correcting?
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2013, 03:15:14 PM »
1. I correct people when I think their error matters. (The mistake means that what they are saying won't make sense, if they are mispronouncing a name, if they're using a word totally wrong, they've flubbed a fact, etc.) I let it go when it's something trivial. In the examples you mentioned, I would let the "blue skies" go because it's an idiom. I would probably correct the year, though, as that sort of thing is often significant.

I don't consider myself particularly literal-minded, but I do find it distracting when people say things that are factually inaccurate on a regular basis. I think details are tricky, because it isn't always immediately obvious whether or not they are significant. In the case of historical events, they can make a huge difference, particularly if you're discussing them within the context of other historical events.

2. I think the "Actually, [correct information]" is fine depending on the tone of voice. I might also say, "Didn't that happen in [correct year]?" or "I think it was [correct info]."

3. I think you handled the situations perfectly well. In the blue skies example, you could have said, "I'm aware of that. It's a figure of speech." If you think your boyfriend would be okay with a bit of sarcasm, "Thanks, Captain Obvious," is pretty effective, too.

For the year, I guess I'd probably just repeat myself using the correct information and move on. "Oh, okay, so blah blah happened in [correct year]. . . " I usually appreciate it when people let me know that I got a date or pronunciation wrong.



Another thing that might help in dealing with your boyfriend is to leave out unnecessary details or state your main point first. You don't need to be heavy-handed and say "The main point of the story that I want to tell you is that I am glad to have made my ferry," but you can say, "I almost didn't make it to the ferry this afternoon. Yeah, I missed my second bus and had to walk. Luckily, the weather was nice. I would have hated to walk all that way in the rain."

I think this is a matter of you two having different communication styles. Your boyfriend sounds like a more efficient communicator: expressing a main point is what is most important, and he tries to make every word count. You may be a more leisurely communicator: while the main point is of course important, the "journey" is more important than the destination. For him, details that don't pertain directly to the main point are distracting. For you, they are enriching or interesting. For him, the details are things that have a direct bearing on the story (so if something is incorrect, it could have a major impact on whether or not the main point makes sense). For you, the details might just be interesting tidbits/asides.

(As an analogy, imagine a dinner plate: you may see the details as the garnishes, but he's thinking of them more as part of the meal itself. Undercooked pepper confetti isn't a huge deal if it's mostly there to make the dish more visually appealing, but if it's part of the sauce, it's not so good.)

Lynn2000

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Re: "Um, not my point" - how to react to rude correcting?
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2013, 03:20:19 PM »
That does sound really annoying. If I think of it more as an outright interruption (which it is, when the correction isn't really necessary), I realize how rude it can be. If it's just a quick interruption like, "I think it was 1957," and the other person is still obviously paying attention and interested, I just chalk it up as "active listening" and try to go on. If the other person goes off on a tangent about the correction, I conclude they weren't really listening/don't care, and I usually don't continue my story/talking to them.

The next time he does it, you could try stopping right there, waiting a beat, and then when he says something like, "You were saying?" you could go on. He may not even realize how often he's doing it, but if you pause each time and he has to ask you to continue the story, it may sink in that interrupting bothers you.

If that's too subtle you could try saying, "Okay, could you please not interrupt me? It makes me lose my train of thought." Maybe move away from the issue of "correction" to one of "interruption," taking away the excuse of, "Well, you were wrong," and arguing over whether the year is really vital information or not for your conversation.

For me, I want my personal conversations to be comfortable, not difficult and full of minefields and debates. I could see this as being something that made me want to stop talking to someone.
~Lynn2000

siamesecat2965

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Re: "Um, not my point" - how to react to rude correcting?
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2013, 03:33:30 PM »

Grrr. That makes me crazy. Especially when it really does.not.matter whether it was 1487 or 1488 that such thing happened. It's almost like they really aren't listenting to what you have to say, but instead are fixating on the piddly details which aren't really relevant to the actual conversation.

The other similar thing that gets my goat is when the person talking feels the need to have to get every detail right “well, you know 2 years ago in March when I went to Europe, or wait, was it April? No March, well, no, actually I think it may have been May” and has to get all the fine points set before continuing on with their conversation. They also tend to be sooo long winded I just want to shout “get to the point already!!!!”

Surianne

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Re: "Um, not my point" - how to react to rude correcting?
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2013, 03:36:47 PM »
I usually appreciate it when people let me know that I got a date or pronunciation wrong.

I think your whole post was great, and this point in particular might be another way of seeing it -- I too appreciate it when someone corrects a small fact, because it's something I want to know.  And as you said, it's hard to know what will eventually end up being important.  So I'd see the simple correction as a positive contribution to the conversation, and I bet he does, too.

CrazyDaffodilLady

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Re: "Um, not my point" - how to react to rude correcting?
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2013, 03:50:08 PM »
One of my teachers used a phrase I love: "Be that as it may, . . . [continues as if never interrupted]."
It takes two people to play tug of war. If you don't want to play, don't pick up the rope.

gellchom

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Re: "Um, not my point" - how to react to rude correcting?
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2013, 04:04:56 PM »
I think that as we mature, we do this less.  And that's good.  It's not just rude, it's obnoxious -- hijacking someone else's story to, essentially, show how smart you are.  I have a dear friend who does this all the time, and it's really hard to put up with it.  It's just as bad when it's not even a correction but a sort of "me too" like "Oh, I've been there, too, with my mother, in 2008 ...."

I like the way Lynn2000 put it, which allows for considering circumstances:

Quote
That does sound really annoying. If I think of it more as an outright interruption (which it is, when the correction isn't really necessary), I realize how rude it can be. If it's just a quick interruption like, "I think it was 1957," and the other person is still obviously paying attention and interested, I just chalk it up as "active listening" and try to go on. If the other person goes off on a tangent about the correction, I conclude they weren't really listening/don't care, and I usually don't continue my story/talking to them.

This is your boyfriend, so the "just avoid people like that" advice isn't quite apt.  But you might consider sometime having a talk with him about it.  He may have no idea it's bothering you.  And although I think you'd be doing him a big favor helping him lose this rude habit, don't put it in terms of what he's doing wrong.  Won't be well received, and anyway not your place to train him.  Just talk about the effect on you:

"Cuthbert, I'd like to ask you for a favor.  You know how earlier, when I was talking about how sad I was when my dad died, you corrected me about the temperature that day?  I do appreciate help with accuracy.  But it throws me off when I get interrupted; I forget where I was going and start thinking about the interruption and what it was about.  So unless it's really important to correct the facts at that very moment, would you please do me a favor and hold it off and tell me later when I've finished?  I'd really appreciate it.  Thanks!"

SiameseCat, boy, do I hear you, too!
Quote
The other similar thing that gets my goat is when the person talking feels the need to have to get every detail right “well, you know 2 years ago in March when I went to Europe, or wait, was it April? No March, well, no, actually I think it may have been May” and has to get all the fine points set before continuing on with their conversation. They also tend to be sooo long winded I just want to shout “get to the point already!!!!”

My husband and his mother both do this.  I keep thinking, "Edit yourself!  I don't need to hear every possible remotely connected detail."  I often get so distracted by all the tangents that I misunderstand the point of the story and focus on the wrong thing and have to ask them to start over when I realize the details I should have been attending to. 

This is something I'm working on doing better myself.  As for correcting others, I've almost entirely stopped correcting things like pronunciation or minor factual errors.  It's easy to tell yourself you're doing them a favor, but it's still not a good idea.

Allyson

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Re: "Um, not my point" - how to react to rude correcting?
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2013, 04:08:54 PM »
I was going to ask, does your BF hang out in nerdy/geeky circles? Some of this is familiar to me, too. It's funny, because I use the 'sky is blue' thing to explain why I find a certain type of literal-minded person frustrating to be around. A small dose of this is ok, but when it gets to the point of not being able to finish a story, it's aggravating. I would address the interruptions, rather than the corrections.

Funny aside, my boyfriend does this to his *own* stories. He will sometimes get so caught up in making sure details are correct (details that nobody would ever know but him) that it can get to the point where I"ll be like 'dude! get to the point already!' He says he is a 'reformed' literal-minded correcter, but I've never seen him do it to anyone but himself, so based on that evidence, I think people can get past it.