How to Repair a Relationship Quickly

How to repair a relationship when you screw up… or not.

Stever Robbins
2-minute read
Episode #69

Today's topic is quickly repairing relationships so you can get on with business. The quick and dirty tip is take the blame and make amends.

How to Repair Relationships Quickly

We all want relationships. With customers, with suppliers, with girlfriends, boyfriends, transgender friends, and polyfriends. A good relationship requires that both be happy. And we all do stuff sometimes that screws stuff up. Like, we accidentally mail a check out late. Or we misplace an incoming delivery, forget where we put it, and then tell the supplier we never received it. Or we squeeze the toothpaste from the middle.

First, understand that if they’re upset, your opinion doesn’t matter. If your customers think you screwed up, they won’t do business with you. If your sweetie is mad about that little licorice-and-feathers practical joke, then he won’t snuggle with you. It doesn’t even matter if you didn't do what they think you did. Maybe it was the neighbor who did the thing with the feathers. What you need to realize is: it doesn’t matter.

Take the Blame

When someone is upset with you and you want to repair the relationship, take the blame. Take all of it. Don’t just say, “Gee, I’m sorry you’re mad at me.” Would that work if someone said it to you?

“But what if it really isn’t my fault?” So? Take the blame anyway. “But that would be lying.” Right. Like, you haven’t lied before and said you were innocent when you were really guilty. Remember the “Who put library paste and glitter all over Fluffy?” incident. You said, “Not me. Fluffy must have rolled in it by accident.” That wasn’t exactly honest, was it? Your mom wasn’t fooled. After all, Fluffy was a goldfish.

Now, lie the other way. Say, “It was my fault. I screwed up.” “It was my fault” pacifies customers. It delights suppliers. And you won’t believe what it can do for a relationship. Bada-bing, bada-bing!

But don’t stop there! Next drive it home by adding the clincher, “What can I do to make it right?”


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.