Three Simple Words to Save Face in Election Year 2016 or Any Other Time of Your Life

handsome man looking embarrassed
By November 8, 2016, or possibly before, there is going to be a need for a few people, if not millions, to save face. The conventions are over at the date of this posting, and the debates haven’t started. Whether you’re Democrat, Republican, Independent, or any other party, there are several scenarios that can play out in the next few months that can cause many of us to have a reason to save face, preserve our dignity, and regain credibility for the proclamations and predictions we made to friends and family about this election. “Donald Trump will never make it to election day.” “Hillary will reverse her decision on TTP”. “The Millennials simply won’t turn out to vote.” 

But this year’s election aside, in our everyday interactions, there are times that we make proclamations or take stands with our friends, neighbors, family, and our spouses based on our psychological needs. Why did we have to negate a friend’s idea or suggestion? “Oh, I really didn’t like the Jason Bourne movies – way too violent for me.” Is a statement like this made out of some need to prove our exceptional moral character? Or what about a seemingly innocuous statement, “Hybrid cars are such a good environmental choice,” spoken to our cousin who we know loves her Chevy Suburban? Or more importantly, what about our interactions with our spouses? “If you weren’t so stubborn, I wouldn’t have yelled” – a statement skirting responsibility for our own actions. 

But no matter what the reason for our very human tendency to often revert to the less noble part of ourselves, when our choices or proclamations have been proven to be psychologically needy or unsound or based on illogical conclusions or false assumptions; if we have acted in a way that is embarrassing on a small-scale or a large-scale, there are simply three words that can go a long way in helping us save face:

I WAS WRONG!

Depending on the situation you might want to add a sentence or two in front or in back of this statement.  If you’re going for humor, you can add: “What was I thinking?  I must have been on drugs.” If your actions directly affected another person, you will want to add a sincere apology: “I’m so sorry.”  It doesn’t matter whether our positions were of little consequence, as in our opinion about a movie or a restaurant, or of huge consequence, as in action taken against another.  Whenwe say these three words,  “I was wrong,”  we honor not only the other person, but ourselves as well. 

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