Being in any kind of relationship, we can sometimes find ourselves in that awful spot where we’re fighting and fighting, and ultimately have to apologize. As you can imagine, at times it is hard to admit that you are wrong. If you’re like me, you are super duper stubborn and want to ‘win’ the fight.
But here’s the first secret: nobody wins. Feelings get hurt, and there is only compromise to patch things up again. Which starts with saying you’re sorry.
Have you ever heard someone say “I’m sorry” and wanted to roll your eyes? It’s probably because they did one of these:
1. I’m sorry but…
STOP. The moment you add in the word but, you’re basically saying ‘hey, I’m sorry but [insert reason you’re not actually sorry]. Totally negates the apology. Take it out of your vocabulary.
2. Playing the victim.
This is a kind of manipulation tactic. You try to make the other party feel sorry for you so they shift those feelings of anger towards feeling sorry for upsetting you or bringing the argument up in the first place. This is messed up. Stop it.
It’s okay to give a little context as to why you did what you did, but don’t make it all about you. You’re trying to make amends, remember that.
3. Not accepting responsibility.
“…but you said”, “…but we didn’t”, “…but you did”
Nonononono. Use “I” statements. “I misunderstood.” “I forgot” “I shouldn’t have” etc. By using “I” statements, you are assuming responsibility for your actions and not trying to pin it on anyone else. If something goes wrong, you always have some little role to play. Be accountable for whatever you did, even if it’s seemingly small.
4. Not reading between the lines.
So say you’re arguing about skipping a date together. This argument is most likely going to involve several things, not just the date. It’ll involve neglecting each other, not spending enough time together, not being reliable, losing trust, feeling distant, etc.
Realize that when you fight, it’s probably because of an accumulation of different things, and not just about that isolated incident.
5. Saying the wrong thing.
It’s really easy to say the wrong thing when you’re talking in person or over the phone. When you’re heated, it’s almost as if your filter gets totally trashed and you say just about anything that comes to mind to defend yourself.
Sometimes I find that taking a moment to breathe, and reallllyyy think about what I want to say helps the discussion/fight run more smoothly. You’re more collected and clear, so everyone can understand. This goes for the person apologizing and for the person getting mad.
Or sometimes it helps to just write it down. You can type it out, edit it and then send when you think you really got your point across.
6. Liar, liar, pants on fire.
An apology is FAR more than just “I’m sorry”. The minute you apologize, you’re thrown into a period of time where you have to prove that you are actually sorry by doing what you compromised on. Think of it as your probation period. Do it again and go back into the dog house.
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This post was inspired by: Conflict Resolution
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