Don’t you just hate saying that to someone you’ve argued with? Why would you even say it, especially since you are the one who is right? Right?
In his book, Feeling Good Together, Dr. David Burns describes his Five Secrets to Effective Communication. One of them is the Disarming Technique. The idea here is that you put yourself in the place of the speaker and try to see things from their perspective and attempt to understand how/what they are feeling based on what they are saying.
When you are carefully and intentionally listening with your head (and your heart), you can somewhat see where your partner is coming from. And then you can say something like, “Hmmm… I can see your point.” – even if you can’t quite bring yourself to say, “You are right.”
How does telling someone they are right have anything to do with being a good listener? What it tells your partner is that you paid attention, that you lowered your wall(defenses) and sword(verbal attacks) and tried to put yourself in their shoes, to see the issue or situation from their perspective. And they will feel like you actually heard them.
What if you truly believe they are wrong and you are right? Digging in your heels and insisting on your ‘right-ness’ is one of the blocks to communication and intimacy that Burns also mentions in his book. It’s not easy to let go of our justifications or make room for another’s Truth. But doing so is key to being a good listener. Seeing the world through someone else’s eyes, even if doing so causes us pain, brings us a little closer together.
Learning new communication skills is not easy. It usually means having a willingness to look at things we aren’t doing well and being willing to change our thoughts along with our behavior. Counseling is quite helpful for individuals and couples who want to make such changes but get stuck when they try to do so on their own. I urge you to find a professional you feel comfortable with who can help.