Do We Always Need To Have The Last Word? What’s Behind It?

Last updated by Rosie Harlow

Today, I’m focussing on a habit that drives me crazy: wanting to have the last word. It’s probably because I’m not very good at comebacks or self-confident enough that I’m both fascinated and annoyed by people who always want to be right. But why do they always want to have the last word? What’s behind it?

Do We Always Need To Have The Last Word? What’s Behind It?

To have the last word or to be right: That is the question

Yes, indeed, that is the question. Having the last word may not be a habit for some of us, but that doesn’t mean we never do it. Let’s face it, when the subject is close to our hearts, we all want to have the last word, even if it’s some kind of inaudible gibberish that sounds like “you’re talking complete rubbish!”

🙃 Having the last word doesn’t mean you’re right. At best, it means you’re stubborn, that you refuse to let go, at worst, it means you’re arrogant.

But who are the stubborn ones?

Whatever the discussion, my father doesn’t give up and if the subject is politics or sport, it’s even worse, the conversation becomes a real fight. It’s annoying because you can’t say anything to the other person. It’s impossible to make your opinion heard! 🤐

Today, debate seems to have taken hold everywhere. You need to have an opinion on almost everything and on top of that, you need to have the last word. But why? So you’re not seen in a bad light? So you’re respected? So you look smart? Yes, that’s a big part of it. Having the last word allows us to protect ourselves, to be one of those who know, to silence doubt, lack of confidence, and failure.

A (re)taking of power

By forcefully and tenaciously ending a conversation yourself, you can say that you’re defending your position, imposing respect (imposing full stop), and taking power over others. However, this desire to always have the last word can also be a takeover of the child you were. What if, behind all these stubborn people who don’t give up, there are wounded children who rebel? 💪

I will no longer be silent

This is the case, for example, of children who weren’t listened to, who weren’t allowed to speak, or weren’t given the space to express themselves. Of course, there are also children who have been bullied, who have been forced to stay silent (due to bullying at school, domestic violence, or even incest, for example). Always wanting to be right means that they’re no longer the submissive, silent child they once were.

I’m in control

What could be more unbearable for someone who needs to control everything than the other person talking? Indeed, a conversation is anything but control. It’s impossible to know what the other person is going to say, every new sentence is a surprise, an unexpected event. The fact that we’re unable to let go, that we’re afraid of the unexpected, is, therefore, enough for us to cling to the only thing we think is reliable: our own words. That we impose again and again, ever louder.

How do you get the last word?

In general, I’d say that you shouldn’t always try to have the last word. Always wanting to be right in a conversation indicates that you’re in a competition. It’s therefore no longer a conversation, but a battlefield 🪖 with a winner and a loser. It’s not a climate very conducive to harmonious relations.

However, we’re not always saints, and sometimes we need to have the last word. When we doubt ourselves when we don’t have very high self-esteem, when we give in too easily and regret it, when we don’t have a comeback, when we don’t know how to express our arguments, etc. Faced with someone who’s always imposing themselves and shouting the last word, we can easily opt for silence or sulking, but we can also try to have the last word... when it’s necessary. So how do we do it?

  • Choose your battles: Don’t fight over something trivial. Not all discussions should lead to a free-for-all. You need to learn to let go and ask yourself: do you really need to have the last word in this conversation?
  • Sharpen your arguments: Don’t go into battle unarmed, so there’s no point in trying to be right if you don’t know anything about the subject. If on the other hand, you have information, knowledge, and arguments, you gain confidence and insist or rather demonstrate and convince. Don’t forget that the best way to have arguments and an opinion on things is to be curious and open-minded. So don’t get tired of discovering.
  • Don’t try to win: Sometimes the best way to have the last word is not to try to have it. So listen to the other person, really listen, soak up their opinion, empathize, and maybe concede a “you’re right”. “You're right” is still the best way to have the last word and defuse a potentially tense discussion.
  • Manage your emotionsA message that is interfered with by our emotions often becomes a troubling message. If anger or tears arise, take time to breathe or to slip away. The secret is to understand that the person who shouts loudly isn’t the most powerful, and the person who cries isn’t the weakest. It’s not a question of that, but remaining calm always makes it easier to follow through on your thoughts.

Editor’s note: A habit that’s a sign of suffering...

A pathological need to have the last word, whatever the subject, is a sign of suffering, a traumatic event from the past. If you’re unable to let someone have the last word and if this bad habit is damaging your relationships, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with a psychologist. Together, you’ll be able to understand where this behavior comes from, trace its origins, and put in place new habits that will allow you to live happier.

🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy... It’s here and now!


Be sure to check out these articles;

Article presented by Rosie Harlow

Writing has always been a form of therapy for me. For as long as I can remember, I have always used paper as a punching bag. Get to know me, I am Rosie Harlow.

Our most popular 'happiness' articles:

Create your own happiness:

Why Are Millennials All So Unhappy At Work?

The big 3 – 0 milestone birthday is fast approaching for me, which has prompted me to confess that as a millennial, I’m completely unhappy at work. Ever since graduating from college, I’ve worked a conventional office job, but it just doesn’t give me the thrill I’m looking for and my friends of the same age all said the same things. So, I decided to look into it further and find out why my generation is so unfulfilled in jobs. Now, we often get a bad rap, but are we entirely to blame for this state of depression? Young people frequently take the blame, but the world is changing, and our generation doesn’t exactly benefit from the same economic boom as our parents, plus our goals are very different.

What Do All Happy People Have In Common?

To find happiness, everyone seems to have their own recipe. For some it’s sport, for others it’s therapy. But happy people seem to all have something in common. Clearly, the universal recipe for happiness does exist. To be happy, we should imagine the future through the lens of our failures. This speaks to me, but it seems contradictory. And yet, the recipe for happiness is just one letter: The B in plan B promises you more optimism and fulfillment.

10 Tips To Learn How To Be Happier

Achieving a state of happiness is quite a program! This feeling sometimes seems very difficult to achieve, and yet, being a little happier each day isn’t so complicated. But beware, there’s no miracle recipe, just a few habits to adopt in order to finally decide to be happy! It’s up to you!

12 Steps To Follow If You Want A Fresh Start

If you’re here reading this article, you’ve no doubt recently made a literal life-changing decision. Realizing you want to change paths and take on new challenges is definitely admirable and very brave, but how can you make your wishes come true? The desire to start over is often motivated by an uncomfortable situation or disappointing realizations that can be difficult to bear. Suffering isn’t the solution, and we can to help you turn things around, which is why we’re about to give you our precious advice on turning things around. Who needs a magic wand when you have us?!

I’m Nostalgic; But How Can I Stop Looking Back?

Whenever I have trouble sleeping, whenever I’m bored or whenever my thoughts wander, it’s not uncommon for me to find myself reliving my childhood vacations, or a delightful weekend in bed or even my wedding day. Sometimes I even shed a tear thinking about these moments in my past… Yes, I’m nostalgic, and I love revisiting memories, but that has to stop! Discover the steps to put in place if you want to live in the present!

Serotonin - The Key To Happiness

Serotonin is part of the group of happiness hormones along with oxytocin, endorphins and dopamine. Although we all chase happiness, we are often unaware of the physiological mechanisms that enable us to improve our well-being. And yet, our body contains a whole production chain dedicated to serotonin. Let’s take a closer look at this incredible mechanism, how it works and its manufacturing secrets.

Are You Hypersensitive?

Being super shy, stressed, emotional are all traits that made me realize I’m hypersensitive. Just like the fact that I’ve never seen a horror movie because I’m so afraid that my fear will become an uncontrollable emotion! On second thoughts, that probably should have been an indication, too. Hypersensitivity does indeed make you different, but the good news is, it’s neither an illness nor a pathology. In fact, it’s a character trait that I have and that I recognized several years ago.

10 Quotes About Freedom, Because We Sure Need It!

Ah, freedom, there's nothing quite like it. We have all learned how precious it is during these last months with the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of our liberties have been challenged, especially when it comes to moving around and traveling. To go where we want, when we want, is fundamental, but so is being able to make the choices for ourselves. A life without these privileges would be much less exciting! So, to remember the importance of freedom, here are 10 quotes to keep in mind.

15 Romantic Quotes That Will Definitely Warm Your Heart

Ah love, it’s what makes the world go round and is undeniably the most important factor in our lives for many of us. There’s no escaping this beautifully touching sentiment because it surrounds in movies, novels and our daily lives. Love comes in many forms; it can be passionate, earth-shattering, destructive, short-lived or even dangerous, yet we think its diversity only adds to its beauty. If you want to up the romance factor in your life and get someone’s heart to skip a beat, check out these quotes.

8 Things I Don't Care About And I'm Perfectly Okay With It

I often laze about instead of putting on my sneakers to go running. Other people might think my favorite group is uncool, but I know all their albums off by heart. So what? There’s no better way to be happy than to let go of the pressure and detach yourself from the gaze of others to be yourself. In any case, I feel much better since I stopped attaching importance to all that. In order for us to all let go together, I will reveal to you 8 things I don’t care about, and it feels good!

Wengood's favorite tunes 🎵

How to detect a narcissist

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." 

- Oscar Wilde