Saving Face and Making Amends
Article Text: Seven, eight, nine, ten,” muttered Larry.
Noticing that he was red faced and obviously agitated, I shot Larry a blank stare and asked, “What’s going on?”
Exasperated, he filled me in, “Counting to ten!”
Clueless, I pushed on, “Why?” And then it dawned on me. My husband was perturbed…with me? The look on my face advertised my utter disbelief. Traditionally, Larry was the one who was dumbfounded to learn that he had ruffled my feathers. Chuckling at the irony of this moment, we both exploded into laughter.
Laughter devours frustration and defuses anger. It sets the tone and alters the mood in relationships. A sense of humor cushions our emotional response and enables us to let something slide, instead of taking offense or over-reacting. Humor allows us to save face when we blow it.
“Wow! You look nice.”
My first impression of Larry’s flattery was, “Nice? What happened to looking pretty, beautiful, or “hot?” Longing to enjoy our night out, and determined not to let anything put a damper on it, I whisked away my disparaging thoughts.
Larry picked up on my somber mood, flashed me a grin while arching his eyebrows, and continued to lay it on thick, “You look like you’ve lost weight.”
Even though I had just performed a stretching routine after hopping into my favorite blue jeans so I could button them, I perked up, “I do?”
“Yes, your belly isn’t sticking out nearly as much as… Larry’s wide-eyed look of panic finished his sentence.
The ball dropped into my court. This was my chance to give my husband exactly what he had coming, “Was that remark supposed to resemble a compliment?” My stoic tone commanded his answer.
Looking down at his feet, Larry choked on his reply, “Yup. That was the plan.” Playfully I teased, “I don’t believe you meant to offend me, so I am going to give you a chance to make it up to me.” His chin popped up. “After you spring for dinner, how would you like to take me to a movie of my choosing?”
Letting out a sigh of relief, Larry promptly recognized he had been had. I glowed triumphantly, because I succeeded in giving Larry what he deserved…the chance to save face. It was payback for those times he had disregarded my careless comments.
There’s no better way to create closeness, than when someone demonstrates their love and acceptance of us, despite our shortcomings. So much, that they are willing to take the time and effort to convey our blunders back to us in a positive manner.
The next time someone unintentionally says or does something hurtful to you, refuse to take it personally. Call on your sense of humor to draw attention to their conduct without over-reacting. But don’t let them off the hook without first having some fun. Surprise them by behaving completely opposite of how they would expect.
If you need to make amends for your actions, try using playful exaggeration and promise outrageous rewards in exchange for their forgiveness. Remember, on those days when you have misplaced your sense of humor, and don’t want to lose your cool… you can always count to ten.
Lois McElravy, Lessons from Lois, works with individuals and organizations who want to learn how to use the power of humor and the magic of laughter to handle the demands and pressures of work and home, adjust to constant change, deal with difficult people, cope with the unpredictable swift pace of life, product positive outcomes and have more fun.
Learning to laugh and “hangin’ on with humor” rescued Lois from the distress and despair surrounding her daily life, and initiated her recovery from a brain injury. Lois’ keynotes and trainings entertain, inspire and stimulate audiences to examine their own response to challenge and adversity. Hilarious personal stories, “Lessons from Lois” impart life-changing insights and equip participants with humor strategies and practical solutions to overcome the seriousness of their life challenges and feel happy.
Her universal message renews hope and motivates others to consistently do small things so they can achieve amazing results one day at a time.
©2012 Lois McElravy, Lessons from Lois – Permission to reprint or repost this article is granted by including the above byline and Lois’ contact information. http://www.lessonsfromlois.com