4 Steps To Get Out Of The Dog House

We’ve all been there. We said something stupid or we forgot an important event..what ever it was, we’re in trouble and it’s not fun.  Let’s face it. While the couch may be comfortable to watch TV, it’s no place to sleep. So what does one do to get out of this predicament? Follow the SALT Method and you’ll be snuggling with your love in no time.

Step 1. Simmer

Ok, you’ve just made a big mistake. This resulted in a blowout where he or she is on the offensive and you’re on the defensive. You both probably said things that you didn’t mean or something was taken out of context. In this hypothetical scenario, you’re in the wrong and you need to fix it.

That is why step one is to Simmer. Whatever the problem is, you should never go into resolution mode until both of you have calm heads. The funny thing about love is that when we get emotional, logic goes out the window.  There is no point in trying to solve a problem when neither of you are in the right mental state. Obviously, it depends on the situation that dictates how long that cool off period is. If you’re arguing over who left the peanut butter out, you can expect a resolution in a few minutes. If you forgot her middle name, that might take a few hours. If you forgot your anniversary, well…good luck.

Step 2.  Apologize

This one sounds easy, right? Wrong! Apologies come in a variety of flavors. You have the “sincere” apology (which is what you want), you have the “over-the-top” apology, which makes you look condescending and finally there is the “snarky” apology which is more a slap in the face because of its purposeful jab. To pull off a sincere apology, look them in the eyes and actually use the word “apologize”. It can be a much more sophisticated statement than saying “sorry”. When you apologize, apologize for the right reasons. If you still firmly believe in your argument, apologize for the miscommunication, not for having an opposing opinion. Don’t just tell them what you think they want to hear. They will see through it and put you right back where you started.  The purpose of the apology is an olive branch to show that you’re ready to think and communicate with logic and a broader perspective.

Step 3. Listen

This is where you shut up. The idea of miscommunication stems from the feeling the other person gets when they feel no one understands them. You don’t just listen with your ears, you listen with your eyes. Focus on their mouth, occasionally repeat key phrases and give non-verbal feedback like nodding your head. Try not to look away unless it’s one of those “wow, you just said something profound and I need to let it sink in” stares into space. Bottom line, really try to understand why your actions may have upset them and do not offer suggestions until they have said everything they wanted to.

Step 4. Talk

Now that you understand why your mistake was so hurtful, it’s your turn to show them what you learned. Try to leave out phrases like ” I understand”. That phrase is a little too vague. Tell them why you understand and that you can see from their perspective. Once you’ve talked it out, hug it out and go get a nice, relaxing dinner together.

We all make mistakes, but how we resolve them is what makes us grow stronger together. I know some of you out there are thinking, “Well, what if he/she is wrong. I shouldn’t have to apologize.” I’ll just say this: The path of least resistance, my friend. Sometimes it’s just easier to smooth things over especially when 90% of our arguments are forgotten anyway. Feel free to leave your comments. We want to know what get’s you out of the doghouse?

  • Stu

    And don’t always apologize with an excuse. You lose all sincerity when you say, “I’m sorry, but…”.

  • gue_s2_t

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