The Luv Doc: Constant Correction
You can surely do better than 20/20
Dear Luv Doc,
My girlfriend is a living autocorrect, and it's really annoying. Anytime I make a mistake – grammar, factual errors, pronunciation – my girlfriend will always correct me on the spot. It doesn't matter who we're with either. She has corrected me in front of my friends, her friends, my family, and her family. She says she can't help herself. She doesn't want me to embarrass myself around other people, but she even does it when we're alone. I am not embarrassed to be wrong or grammatically incorrect, I am embarrassed for her to call me out on it in front of everybody. How do I get her to stop?
– Correct Me If I'm Wrong
That's easy! All you have to be is right 100% of the time. That doesn't sound too difficult, does it? Keep in mind, your girlfriend seems to be hitting that mark on the regular, so it's easy to understand her concern about you dragging down the team average. In my experience, there are only two ways to never be wrong. One involves keeping your mouth shut 24/7. The other involves being dead. Before you start getting any suicidal thoughts, remember that killing yourself is wrong, so that's probably not going to impress your girlfriend.
Let me be clear: I am not advocating you go mute so your girlfriend will stop correcting you. It probably won't help anyway. She'll probably just start trying to correct your posture ... or your vision. You can surely do better than 20/20. You can also do better than someone who is always calling you out in front of other people about unimportant shit like grammar or pronunciation. I know I am probably going to take some heat from the word-nerd crowd on this, but rarely is grammar or pronunciation a crisis situation that needs to be addressed immediately. In actual truth? Almost never.
In other words, there is rarely anything that comes out of your mouth in casual conversation that can't be discussed later in a private, nonconfrontational way that preserves your dignity and maybe even her obnoxious self-righteousness, though I highly recommend you tell her to seek professional counseling to address that issue. No one likes a know-it-all. My bet is that she struggles with that issue in areas outside your relationship as well.
Bottom line here is that if you're feeling wronged, you're right. Being constantly and publicly corrected is no way to run a relationship. In fact, it's a good way to ruin a relationship. I doubt your girlfriend would want that – especially after she's spent so much time molding you into a master orator. So basically, you're going to have to stand up to her and tell her to stand down with the constant correction. Maybe suggest she just keep a diary of all your conversational transgressions and then rank them and hit you with the top 10 each week in private. Just spitballing here, but maybe that would be a way she can still feed her self-righteousness and preserve your dignity. Pssst: And don't let her read this. I don't need that kind of pressure.