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Aftermath of a Regrettable Incident

Since there is no perfect relationship according to the Gottman Institute, no matter how well we discuss things, eventually we will argue, say, or do something we regret. This exercise is meant to help us talk about the same topic again, but a little better this time.



After an argument or situation you wish could have gone differently, try this:

  • Both people state how they felt during the incident.
  • Decide who will start as the speaker and who will start as the listener.
  • Speaker, your task is to talk about the topic from your point of view using “I” statements


Don’t argue for or try to persuade your partner of your point of view, just explain how you see things.

Focus on thoughts and feelings.


  • Listener, your job here is to help your partner feel safe enough to tell you their point of view. You can help by suspending judgement and not act like a judge, rather someone who is curious.Give your version of what happened in the situation, try to keep the description on yourself.


  • Try to summarize the other person’s point of view. If needed, ask questions to clarify or give corrections.

When both people can summarize the other person’s side, move to the next step.


  • Identify where in the situation things escalated, look for a trigger. When have you felt like this before?


  • Make a plan to deal with the trigger so the next conversation can go better.

Have any thoughts, questions, suggestions, or comments on this article? Feel free to reach out to me here.