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I Messed Up

I Messed Up

Today is National Get Out of the Doghouse Day. I like this topic because the implication is that we did something we shouldn’t have and now are trying to get back in someone’s good graces. I don’t know about you but I’ve certainly been in that position before. You probably have too.

So what do you do when you really mess up, and eventually realize you made an idiot of yourself? Don’t worry – there are ways to fix things.

The first thing you need to understand is that, in order to make things right, you’re going to have to lose some of your pride. You’re going to need to admit that you were wrong (ouch!) and ask for forgiveness.

Many people don’t have the art of apology making down at all – they think they’re apologizing when they’re really just making things worse. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about (this is how NOT to say you’re sorry).

  • “I’m sorry I yelled at you but I had a really rotten day and you were bugging me”.

  • “I didn’t mean the things I said during our fight but you just made me really mad”.

The key word in both those statements is, “but”. The word “but” has no place in an apology. What both above statements said in essence was, “I’m kind of sorry for what I did, but you made me do it – so it was really your fault”. Try this instead.

  • “I’m sorry I yelled at you, I had a rotten day at work and I took it out on you – I shouldn’t have.”

  • “I didn’t mean the things I said during our fight. I was mad and I got carried away. I’m sorry.”

An excellent thing to add to both of the above is, “I’ll try really hard not to do it again”. This shows that you’re making an effort and will continue to do so.

If you really want to score points, do something to make amends – this shows that the relationship matters to you and you want to put things back on track. Say something like –

  • “Can I take you out to dinner as an apology? You can choose the restaurant”.

  • “Can we talk after the kids are in bed? I promise to do a better job of listening”.

A lot of people don’t like to admit they’re wrong. I agree it’s never comfortable but sometimes it’s unavoidable. I’m going to close with some words of wisdom that I heard years ago. I wish I knew who to credit them to but I don’t. Here goes: Do you want to be right, or do you want to be married (or in a relationship)?

Words to live by.

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