Monday, March 10, 2008

Ask For What You Need (Nicely)

K asks for an apology when he needs one.

Instead of letting hurts fester until they stink, K will say,

“I really need you to apologize for [ABC] because it made me feel like [EFG].”

Early on my reaction was either surprise because I didn’t realize he was upset or shame because I knew I had been a jerk and had let it slide.

Either way, I always found it easy to fall all over myself apologizing.

I used to wonder how satisfying it could be to receive an apology that you requested as opposed to an unsolicited one, but over time I have noticed that when people are asked to apologize they generally give dramatic performances in the over-apology category.

In the end, the asking can get you what you need.

Over the years, K has has tried to teach me to ask for apologies when I need them, but I am not so seasoned.

None of these attempts worked at all…

“You are a TOTAL ass. I'd like you to apologize to me for that.”

“You cut me off at the intersection, Hairweed! Apologize for the way you drive!!”

“Please apologize for biting my nipple while you were nursing, Mr. Mayor.”


April said...

Have you read the Faber & Mazlish books on using this stuff with kids? I can't get it right all the time, either, but it really is good stuff!
Was your husband raised by therapists? How does it come to him so easily?

Natalie said...

Oh my gosh, I about fell out of my seat laughing at that last line!

Your husband sounds like a wise man. But "Hairweed"? I might have to use that one. It's much better than my normal in car dialogue with other drivers. said...

All that hard work and thought and composition, and "hairweed" cracked me up too!
I for sure am using that... with attribution.

Anonymous said...

so funny, absolutely true.

You didn't touch upon my specialty, the "Sorry, but..."
wherein I offer the requested/necessary apology, but tack on yet another explanation about why I was right in the first place.

Aliki2006 said...

Therapy language! Yes, my husband is pretty good at that, too, and it never works for me.

flutter said...



Dude, K rules communication.

Jennifer said...

K, I need to check in with you. I am really needing you to apologize for being such a good, calm, effective communicator, because it makes me feel like an absolute asshole.

Janet said...

Your husband should give man lessons. Or, more accurately, marital communication lessons.

My husband and I prefer the sulk-til-you're-over-it mode of communication.

Sugarplum's Mom said...

So... sleeping on the couch ins't going to fix it?

LOL @ hairweed

kittenpie said...

I must tell yuo that you are a bigger woman than I, because when asked for an apology it usually means I didn't feel I did something wrong - if I did, I would have apologized for it - and I have a hard time saying something I don't mean. Plus, as you note, what is the good of saying somethign that is not sincere or that was demanded? It doesn't mean anything, so why bother? It's not something that comes up often, but occasionally, I find myself in a corner becuases of that. So good for you for being able to say it anyhow!

Anonymous said...

I have an explosive temper and often skulk back into a room -- from which I have just made a Joan Collins' worthy exit -- and say, "Thanks for letting me get that out. I'm all better now. Sorry for being an ass" in simpering voice worthy of Linda Evans.

I have a neighbour who tries to DrPhil me into better relations:
Mrs Neighbour: When you said my dog was a terror to the neighbourhood and threatened to call the pound, I felt sad as your voice was very judgemental.
Me: What!? Huh? Sorry? I can't hear you over the sound of your dog dry humping my leg.
Mrs Neighbour: In the future when you wish to offer me criticism it would be better if you said three nice things, first. Then make your negative statement. This way my positive energy bank will not be depleted.
Me: Okay, I'm getting friction burns on my leg. Can you call him off?

Paige said...

I'm going to echo the chorus of "hairweed"?

Because, really.


furiousBall said...

My therapist calls me Hairweed

Maureen said...

Ugh... I wish hubby would learn to apologise. Yesterday he turned the light off in the garage while I was still in there, so I had to grope around in the dark to find the door and let myself back in. When I asked for an apology he said it was my own fault, because I'm "always nagging him to turn off the lights".... I was SO mad I could have spit.

cce said...

Does he give lessons in that kind of communication? Because I could use a few pointers on the proper use of the words 'sorry' and 'my fault'.

Deb said...

LOL!! Hairweed!! That is so much more kid-friendly than my usual in-traffic lingo.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Hmmmm. . . I'm going to have to try that; although I often find that when I'm mad, my teeth are clamped down so tightly, it is hard to talk.

Circus Kelli said...

I have a very hard time asking for what I need.

Jen said...

t know if I could be satisfied with an apology that I had asked for. I prefer the old fashioned method passive aggresivly guilting a person into apologizing. Of course that sort of makes me an asshole but I can live with that.

Anonymous said...

Your husband is amazing, but I'm sure you know that:)