Convincing someone you’re right is all about confidence. If you fake it, you’ll make it, right? R-right? Having bucketloads of confidence is great (and certainly dramatic), however, it’s never enough in isolation… especially if you’re just plain wrong and everyone around you knows it.
Being direct. Looking assured. Feeling unwavering and braver than Braveheart—these are all wonderful qualities to have, but without other substantial things to back it up, it’s all just bravado without the bite. And darn it if it isn’t entertaining as heck to watch!
We’re not the only ones to think so. In fact, that’s why the ‘Confidently Incorrect’ subreddit, with over 404k members, exists. Their community is built around poking fun at people who are chock full of confidence but get deflated the moment someone with an ounce of logic and common sense chimes in. There’s plenty of facepalm moments waiting for you, so get scrolling and upvoting your fave pics. Remember to visit the r/confidentlyincorrect community if you like their stuff!
Bored Panda interviewed the creator of the subreddit, redditor ShadowAlchemy. Read on for what they told us about how the community started and got popular, as well as for their thoughts about to what extent confidence is important in real life and what we should do if we ever find ourselves to be confidently incorrect.
The ‘Confidently Incorrect’ subreddit has been growing by leaps and bounds. Created just over a year ago, in January 2020, they’re continuing to provide awesome content that keeps us humble. (And it’s a gentle reminder to double and triple-check even facts that we’re completely sure about.)
ShadowAlchemy told Bored Panda that they founded the 'Confidently Incorrect' subreddit "on a whim" just over a year ago. "Someone posted a video of Conan interviewing Jennifer Garner to another subreddit called r/WatchPeopleDieInside. I scrolled through the comments and saw someone who thought stuff like that would make a great community of its own. It was super late at night when I saw that, so I made a subreddit really quick for no reason, posted a video or two, then went to bed."
But what ShadowAlchemy couldn't foresee was how quickly the subreddit went viral. They woke up to see a huge surprise. "I wake up with probably 1,000 or so notifications, apparently the sub had blown up overnight! Tons of people were talking about the ridiculously fast growth of the sub, I think we got around 30k members in our first day. It was super popular its first week, and its growth died down a bit after that. We've been on a steady increase ever since. We just hit 400k members, actually!" the founder shared their joy.
In ShadowAlchemy's opinion, confidence is "an incredibly important" part of our personalities. "Without confidence, we're nothing. Confidence is what gets us out of bed, what gets us out the door to face life. People definitely listen to those who show confidence,"
The founder told Bored Panda that we don't have to look far to see the vital role confidence plays in our lives. "Just look at politics. Politicians are probably some of the most confident people on the planet, and a pretty large amount of people just listen to what they say. Our sub is probably 75-80% politics. It's people parroting what they've heard their favorite politicians say, and they parrot it because they believe those politicians. They believe that confidence."
They added, "No one's gonna listen to a shy person with all the facts."
The founder of the sub also had some spot-on advice for anyone who's been confidently incorrect in their lives. And it all starts with openly admitting that you're wrong (both to others and to yourself). "If someone corrects you and they're right, you've just gotta accept it right then and there. Insisting that you're correct is what makes you look like a dumbass, and what makes you remember it for years and years. Nobody wants to be confidently incorrect, but if you are, you've gotta admit it. You've gotta admit that you're wrong."
ShadowAlchemy said that nothing would be possible without the incredibly supportive members and moderators that make up the r/confidentlyincorrect subreddit. "Thanks to all the people who've brought this subreddit up so much, it was quite the surprise for me. Thanks to my mod team for keeping this sub together."
Hmm... Yes. That Sounds Right. Zeus, Mr Horny Year Round, Has Only One Son
There’s a deep sense of shame that we feel when we’ve been outed being wrong even though we thought we were in the right. It’s an embarrassment so powerful, it can still make us flush beet-red and cringe years after it happened.
However, there is a possible upside to this. Research has shown that, counter-intuitively, it’s far easier to correct the errors made by people who are extremely confident that they’re right, compared to correcting the mistakes made by those who have ‘low confidence’ that they’re correct.
This is called the ‘hypercorrection effect’ which essentially means that we’re more likely to remember the correct answer to a question if we’re proven wrong when we’re extremely confident that we actually know the ‘right’ answer. Or, in other words, we remember being shocked at how at odds the truth was with our confidence that we were right.
Of course, there are some nuances like how some high confidence errors can ‘reemerge’ if we’re not tested on our newfound knowledge quickly enough. But on the bright side, being confidently incorrect might just be the best way to retain facts and figures after we make complete buffoons of ourselves online. So go out there and don’t be afraid to fail, dear Readers—your newfound knowledge will stick in your mind like a panda in a bamboo grove.