Relationships Improve When Mistakes Are Admitted

Marsha B. Sauls, Ph.D.

770-668-0350 x 221


How many times have you made excuses for mistakes you have made rather than just saying, “You’re right I was wrong and I will do better next time.”  We all find a compelling urge to make the person making a complaint to us understand why we did whatever it is that offended them.  Somehow we think that by having them understand us they will no longer be offended.  The reality is that they want us to understand them. 


Usually we believe that admitting a mistake will make us appear weak and one down, and somehow will cause our relationship to deteriorate.  We believe that explaining why we made the mistake will make the person be more accommodating of our behavior and stop being upset with us.  Actually this defensive response  does not cause hurt feelings to go away but usually begins an argument with each person trying to get the other to hear their point of view.


Few things heal hurt feelings more than validation.  Validation is a process of listening to another, taking responsibility for your part in their feelings being hurt and respecting their response by apologizing.  Validation allows a person to feel respected.  Feeling validated is an important relationship builder.  We feel safer and more comfortable with people who are validators rather than defenders.  Validators make others feel significant.  Defenders make themselves feel right.


Do your own research.  Try validating rather than defending the next time you have an opportunity and see the difference it makes for you and the people close to you.