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Apologize without admitting fault and without actually losing your cool, even if you really don’t feel like apologizing.

When a hard question is asked, be flexible

By changing the subject when a difficult question is asked, you’re able to save face by not getting into a heated argument with the other person.

Letting your partner know you’re willing to move the topic along with shows you’re a grown-up who understands it’s hard to hear and it’s hard to know how to say something.

Let your partner lead you to the best apology

Black man apologizing while talking with girlfriend

If your partner just said something stupid and it’s their fault, don’t just jump in to explain how they could’ve done it differently.

They’re the expert. This is your job.

And yes, they are very much in the wrong, but they’re the experts.

The lesson they learned—if they learned it at all—was a mistake, and they would never knowingly make it again.

Instead, use a technique that will get you to your desired outcome: Give the other person space and acknowledge their feelings.

So, if your partner just said something bad about your future, it’s your job to let them know you’re very upset that they said it.

For example, “I’m really upset that you just said that! It’s rude!

Also, you should know that I’m seriously considering cutting all contact with you forever because you’re completely intolerant and don’t listen to reason.”

This type of “admonishment” shows that you understand the actions you’ve just witnessed and you’re trying to fix the situation.

This is a good way to avoid a fight or emotional rollercoaster, which is exactly what you don’t want.

Drop the “but…”

There’s a huge difference between saying, “I would be pissed if you said that,” and “I would be pissed if you did that.”

Saying “I would be pissed” comes off as whining and whiny as hell, and it doesn’t sound like the end of the world.

Saying, “I would be pissed if you said that,” makes you sound like you’re ungrateful.

Saying, “I would be pissed if you did that,” shows you’re actually looking at the situation from an objective point of view, and you’re willing to look for a solution.

Don’t take the microwave method

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The microwave method is an excellent way to apologize, but it’s a bit ineffective.

In most situations, it’s a one-way street. That means the other person is never willing to own up to the action and make it right.

Instead, think about your apology as a process.

Ask for an apology, but not until you’re done. Once you’ve offered a response, be willing to sit back and listen to the other person’s response.

Your most effective way of apologizing is when you respond and ask questions.

And when you’re done apologizing?

Keep an open dialogue going so both of you can continue to grow in your understanding of how to treat each other.

Confront the real problem

Most of us are more comfortable letting our partners take the heat for the momentary slip-up and apologizing for it.

But what if your partner actually is the one at fault?

Most of the time, we know this, and so we don’t say anything because we know our partner will apologize.

But there are times where you have to remind them they’re the ones in the wrong.

Let your partner know that you’ve forgiven them, but you need them to say sorry.

This way, your partner has to acknowledge the problem they’ve caused, and not just apologize.

If you’re having trouble getting them to admit they’re at fault, then try saying something like, “I know you were trying to be helpful, but that was really rude of you.

I’d really appreciate it if you would admit you’re wrong and do something about it.”

This is a step above just agreeing they’re wrong. You’re trying to help them see what they’ve done, and they’re then forced to admit it.

Oftentimes, people will apologize after this because they realize how wrong they’ve been. In these situations, remember that people are constantly making mistakes.

The key is to always own up to your mistake, learn from it, and apologize.

Use this baby step: “I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you”

In my marriage, my husband will sometimes apologize when we’re having a bad conversation.

I feel bad, but I don’t take it personally because he’s still attempting to make things right.

When he does apologize, he always says, “I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you.”

This shows you’re at least trying to take responsibility for the situation and start making amends.

This is also a way to show that you’re in the conversation and you’re willing to open yourself up to the other person, which will help them start to open up as well.

Most of the time, people are more receptive to an apology when they’re on the same team. If they don’t believe they’re on the same team, they’re less likely to apologize.

Make them face up to the problem

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It’s often harder for a person to admit that they were wrong if they don’t see the problem clearly.

They might have been genuinely trying to do something nice, but they thought it would be done better.

People like to justify their behavior by saying something like, “I didn’t mean to hurt you,” when they’ve done something wrong.

It’s incredibly hard for someone to admit that they don’t get it, but this is where an apology can help.

It gives people the opportunity to offer another explanation for how they got where they were and show they’re taking responsibility.

Don’t be afraid to say something like, “I know you didn’t mean to hurt me, but I need you to own up to what you did.

You didn’t realize how it would make me feel, and that’s no excuse. I need you to take responsibility.”

That being said, you don’t have to say something like this every time you’re wrong.

Some instances just call for a simple “I’m sorry I’m being a jackass right now.”

Sometimes the best apology is just the fact that you realized what you’ve done and that you’re aware of it.