I have a nine-year-old son. Some would say that's all that need be said, but I feel the need to expound. He has developed this habit of contradicting anything and everything that his younger brother says. If S-- says that the sky is blue, A-- will say, "Well, actually it's not blue. At least it's not always blue. It's blue most of the time, but not all the time. So it's not actually blue but ......," and it goes on and on and on.
Each night at dinner, we have to listen to A-- argue every word that comes from S--'s mouth. Sometimes he argues with me or his dad. When Phil has had enough, he will stop A-- and lecture him on the need for this arguing to stop. Inevitably, A-- insists that he has only one more thing to say, but it's always the same point he's been arguing for the last ten minutes. (I find it funny, though, when he makes statements, presented as factual of course, that are completely wrong.) He seems to have this intense need to be right about everything.
I understand exactly what my son is doing because I remember doing it myself. I have always had this intense need for accuracy. I don't like ambeguities or inaccuracies. I used to interrupt stories being told if the person telling the tale left out or twisted what I felt was an important detail. It's a bad habit that I've worked on for years. I finally came to realize that my "perceptions" of the truth may not be the truth for someone else.
A few years ago, a very wise friend asked my husband a question that has become a catch phrase for us: "Would you rather be right or would you rather be happy?" Yes, you might be absolutely correct about something, but is it more important to establish your position when it will cause contention and anger or is it more important to create peace and happiness? It's all about picking your battles.