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The Psychology of Having The Last Word

by Ralph

I am constantly told that I always "Have to get in the last word" when having a discussion.

I don't feel that I need to get in the last word, I'm just trying to explain all the facts.

What is the psychology behind this?

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Possible psychological processes
by: Julie

Wanting to have the last word can be influenced by several underlying psychological processes:

Need for Validation: Wanting to get in the last word might stem from a deep need to feel validated and acknowledged. By having the final say, individuals might seek assurance that their opinions and knowledge are valued and respected by others.

Ego Protection: In some cases, the need to have the last word could be driven by a desire to protect one's ego or self-esteem. Allowing others to have the last word might be perceived as a concession or admission of being wrong, which some individuals might find threatening to their self-image.

Fear of Being Misunderstood: People who feel the urge to get in the last word might worry that if they don't clarify their points thoroughly, others might misunderstand their position or intentions. This fear of misinterpretation can drive them to keep elaborating on their stance.

Power and Control: The need to have the last word could also be related to power dynamics within a conversation. Individuals may assert themselves to maintain a sense of control or dominance in the discussion.

Communication Style: Some individuals might naturally have a communication style that involves providing extensive explanations and details. This style can give the impression of needing to have the last word, even if it's not their intention.

Cognitive Dissonance: When faced with conflicting opinions or information, individuals might experience cognitive dissonance, which is the discomfort caused by holding contradictory beliefs. To reduce this discomfort, they may feel compelled to reiterate their viewpoint repeatedly.

Fear of Being Ignored: People who have experienced being ignored or dismissed in the past may develop a habit of asserting themselves to ensure their voice is heard and considered.

Competitiveness: In some cases, discussions can turn into subtle competitions, with individuals vying to have the final say as a way to "win" the conversation.

It's important to note that each individual's behavior is complex and can be influenced by a combination of these psychological factors. Furthermore, the perception of "always needing the last word" may vary from person to person, as it can be influenced by the dynamics and context of the conversation.

If you find that you're receiving feedback about this behavior, it might be helpful to reflect on your communication style and motivations. Openly discussing this issue with others can lead to a better understanding of their perspectives and help foster more effective and empathetic communication. Additionally, if you feel that this behavior is causing interpersonal challenges or distress, seeking guidance from a communication coach or therapist can be beneficial.

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