Relationship Advice: Should You Admit When You’re Wrong?

Admitting you’re wrong can be very humbling. However, it is a necessary step to take if you want to remain in a relationship with whomever you have wronged. No matter how much you want to save face and refuse to admit an indiscretion, if you don’t, it’s a sure way to destroy whatever bond you’ve built.

“Many of us, including myself and my clients, feel the tug of denial because we sincerely want to be smart, helpful, good people rather than harmful people who make mistakes,” relationship expert Laurie Puhn, J.D., explains in Fox News Magazine.

Here are some reasons why admitting your wrongdoings can be beneficial.

It’s a sign of strength

A man and a woman talking together on the couch

If you want a healthy relationship, we suggest following this advice | iStock.com

You are not weak when you let someone know you are wrong. Although you may feel weak and extremely vulnerable afterward, it is actually a testament to your inner strength. Be bold and take the first step in offering a sincere apology. You will demonstrate to the other person you not only possess a strong character but also genuinely care about their feelings.

“I know it’s hard for some people to admit they are wrong. It’s extremely painful for some of us to say ‘I was wrong, sorry.’ Many marriages may have one of the spouses feel that if they admit they’re wrong, they have lost the battle,” Dr. Michael Brooks, a relationship counselor and coach, says on his website. Brooks continues, “If you sense in any way that you are wrong, just say so. It takes a bigger person to admit they have messed up.”

It’s a learning experience

a couple talking in bed together

Admit your wrongdoings to learn how to be better in the future | iStock.com

Coming to the realization you’ve done the wrong thing can teach you a bit about yourself and what motivates you to react a certain way. Maybe you have a habit of lashing out in anger. Perhaps the reason you do this is because you have feelings of inferiority. You can use this as an opportunity to explore this response and learn how to better manage it. Welcome any opportunity to dig deep and understand yourself. You’ll have more fulfilling relationships and a richer life as a result of this exploration.

It can improve your communication

A young male couple looking into the Grand Canyon

Admitting when you’re wrong can help you communicate more effectively | iStock.com/peterotoole

Admitting you’re wrong is a great way to improve your communication skills under stress. Having this conversation with someone can provoke significant anxiety, so if you are able to successfully navigate this topic, you will have gained new insight into how to communicate with others.

Tips for admitting you’re wrong

A couple having an argument

Follow these tips when admitting your wrongdoings | iStock.com

1. Don’t be defensive

If you are going to swallow your pride and say you messed up, don’t be defensive about it. Offer your expression with grace and sincerity. If you’re going to be mean, you’re better off just keeping your comments to yourself.

2. Choose the right time

Try to pick a time when you can both give each other your full attention. A noisy environment will make it difficult to hear and the apology may get lost in the noise. Find a quiet place where you can both talk and process what happened.

3. Refrain from assigning blame

Resist the urge to blame the other person for the way you acted. Only you are responsible for the way you react to a situation. Be an adult and take responsibility for your behavior.

Heed Stephen Fineman’s words from his book, The Blame Business:

Blame is fascinating — it shapes our lives. It can be a benign way of positioning ourselves, a gentle joust or banter, or it can be poisonous, hurtful, or devastating for its victims. It can tear apart marriages and fracture work relationships; it can disable major social programs; it can inflict damage on powerful corporations; it can bring down governments; it can start wars and justify genocides.

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