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Accident

 

Techniques > Conversation techniques > Excuses > Accident

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

When accused of something, claim that it was an accident or otherwise could not be helped.

Show that you had the best of intentions and that you had no knowledge of the harm that was being done. Talk about how this has never happened before with you.

If you have made a mistake, indicate that it was through a lack of ability or a poor memory rather that a lack of concern for the other person.

It can be a good idea to apologize anyway, even though it was unintentional. Show that you are sorry for the harm done and perhaps that you were not careful enough.

Describe the unusual external context and things around you over which you had no control and how things happened because of these.

If possible, get witnesses or others to corroborate your story who will also confirm that it was an accident. Independent people who are not your friends are most effective as witnesses, as are people in positions of higher credibility, such as police officers or teachers.

Example

I didn't touch it. The wind blew it over.

I really tried to get through but the phone battery went dead. I must have forgotten to charge it last night.

I know it's hard to believe, but the beer got splashed over the car keys and they wouldn' t work for ages. Isn't that true, Mike?

Discussion

When something is accidental, the underlying message is that there was no selfish or bad intent on the part of the person accused.

Make sure that the excuse is feasible and credible, so people can easily believe you. If it was indeed accidental and yet the circumstances were incredible, look for ways to you can prove the truth, such as through the testimony of other people.

The reality of many accidental situations is that it may have been possible for the accident to be avoided. You hence may have to show that you took reasonable precautions before the event.

'It was an accident' is a common excuse, which means others may not easily accept a simple statement. In such cases, you will need more evidence, witnesses, arguments, etc.

See also

Trust

 

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