“I’m sorry” is totally overrated when it comes to the little spats that arise in long-term relationships. Because you can’t be sorry that you talk loud when you’re drunk or that you like to wake up at 6 a.m. or that you love show tunes. These are things about you that are never going to change, the same way that your partner’s never going to stop eating cold pizza for breakfast or interrupting your serious conversations in public to snap an amazing picture. You don’t need to be sorry for these things, but that doesn’t stop snits and fights from cropping up over these minor annoyances. Your unconditional love for your partner doesn’t stop you from occasionally yelling, “Get that slice of pizza out of your mouth!” and then seeing his face droop because he loves cold pizza so much and you know it. So, how to make things right without changing who you or your partner is? Here are some creative techniques to help smooth things out when those little pet peeves get in your way…
1. GIFing/Tumbling/YouTubing. After a spat, try making it up to your partner by sending rapid-fire GIFs or Tumblr images or funny YouTube videos that you know will make him or her laugh. (Sample fave GIF below)
2. Funny Dances. Everyone in a relationship should have a funny dance in their back pocket that they can pull out if their partner is scowling or pouting. It should be ridiculous enough to inspire laughter, yet sexy enough to ignite attraction.
3. Ridiculous impressions. Winona has found that after she acts like an ass, the best way to lighten the mood is to do an unflattering impression of herself. Laugh at yourself in order to help your partner laugh at you, and soon you’ll both forget what you were fighting about.
4. “Remember that time when….” You fill in the blank. It can be something funny or sweet. Example: “Remember that time when my underwear unraveled at your parents’ house?”
5. Mems (short for memories). Ami’s dude loves a certain photo of her when she was an angry college student with over-plucked eyebrows. She keeps it on her phone and texts it to him if she said or did something stupid.
6. Courtship flashbacks. Do something you guys used to do at the beginning of your relationship, when you were young and carefree and didn’t get annoyed at the sound of the other person’s chewing.
7. Cleaning the bathroom unsolicited. This counts as a gift because cleaning the bathroom is the worst, and there’s no surprise better than an unexpectedly sparkling toilet.
8. Funny t-shirts. Ami is fond of one that says “I’m Doin’ Me.”
9. Cold Pizza. If you yelled about cold pizza, the respectable thing is to show up at his place with a cold pizza and tell him you want to grow old and fat together.
10. Watch your partner’s favorite TV show. Watch the hockey game to demonstrate how sorry you are for saying you have “sports blindness” and can’t see sports when they’re on TV. You also have to pretend to be interested at least for 10 – 15 minutes.
11. Massage. Winona’s boyfriend has found a foolproof way to fix any awkward post-fight vibes: a spontaneous back massage. A few good kneads and suddenly all is forgiven!
12. SNUGS. Short for snuggling, which is the life force. It makes everything better all the time.
13. Sex/oral sex. It’s hard to stay mad at each other after an awesome orgasm.
14. Praise the thing you criticized. If you’re annoyed about your partner’s Instagram habit, ask to look through his feed and give the pictures you like a glowing critique.
15. Remind them exactly why you love them. When a fight crops up, it focuses attention on the pet peeves or negative feelings we have toward our partners; change the dialogue by telling them all the reasons you adore them, and all their cute little habits that don’t make you want to scream.