How To Make Someone Forget Something

Updated July 11, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Robin Brock

There are times in life where we say or do the wrong thing and wish it had never been. We regret what was said and want to take it back. Still, the damage is generally done. And when this happens, we all think about it far too much and agonize over what was said or done.

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We wish those things that we told people would instantly disappear from existence. But what if there were ways to make those people forget what was just said? There are plenty of success stories out there where someone managed to make a person forget something instantly.

Then again, some success stories hide some of the unpleasant details. These stories all succeed in making it seem like the entire process was seamless, and no damage was done. These stories hide the realities of situations like this, making these stories into something that they really are not.

And the deception isn’t like one of those “agree to our cookie” settings that you see on a website. No, these are reader stories that are presented as success stories. This gives a false representation of these situations where something is said or done that causes damage to a relationship.

So, instead of running an essential deception – like those “agree to our cookie” sites – what if reader stories were actually success stories that clarified the repercussions that can still be felt? What if they were honest stories of success in making someone forget something instead of making it seem like a magic trick?

After all, it is not about making someone forget for our own benefit; it is about taking that negative memory and replacing it with a more pleasant one. After all, we tend to hold on to those negative or hurtful memories far longer than we do the pleasant ones. It is our nature.

So, how can you turn a negative situation into a positive one and make someone forget something? Here are a few helpful tips.

How to Make Someone Forget About Something

When we figuratively put our foot in our mouths, we want a distraction to take away the embarrassment or regret of the situation. Thankfully, a distraction is what is needed to make someone forget what just happened.

Keep in mind that you’re unlikely to make them completely forget about what just happened. The goal here is to lessen the blow, to make that memoryless unpleasant, and less prominent so that they won’t think back to it frequently.

There are plenty of situations where stories hide reader feedback that isn’t positive to make them look like stories. And some success stories hide success if the stories people told didn’t hit the exact narrative they wanted. You need stories that will help you, not ones that fit that narrative.

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In situations where feelings are hurt, doing something extra nice can be beneficial. It acts as an apology and can help soften the memory to be less negative when they think back on it. Plus, you can make someone forget about something over time. Whenever that memory comes up, doing something nice can help to erode the negativity of that memory slowly. If you want to avoid professional assistance like that offered by ReGain, there are a few things to try.

Try removing any objects or reminders of the unpleasant topic. If there are reminders in the periphery, that person will likely recall that negative memory on a far more frequent basis. They may never forget that negative experience, but it may not hold in their consciousness so firmly.

Perhaps try to remind that person of a more enjoyable part of the memory or try to analyze the situation to lessen its impact. If you can get them to associate that memory with something more positive, it can either flip the situation or get them to forget that memory.

But in most cases, the person won’t forget. For better or worse, they will hang on to the situation, analyzing what you did or didn’t do and how you could have acted differently. This can really hinder a relationship and make it a focus that never shifts.

When this happens, you need to apologize. Don’t let it fester and build. Sure, an apology won’t make that incident go away, but it will show that person that you did not mean to hurt them intentionally. While the negativity of the experience may persist, it can be lessened if the person knows that there were not negative intentions behind it.

If you express that you are truly, genuinely sorry, that person will likely understand that it wasn’t anything more than a mistake. Just knowing that wrong-doing intention can be enough for the person to move forward, putting that negative experience behind them.

You can also try to explain yourself. We know our thoughts and intentions; how we present them makes it have a potentially negative impact. Let that person know why you said what you said or did what you did. It may not make the situation go away, but they may better understand why it happened. That alone can provide the necessary understanding to move forward.

If all else fails, try to move on from the subject. That person might still be furious about what happened and not willing to listen to an apology or an excuse. And that is fine; we can’t tell someone else how to feel about something.

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Speak With A Board-Certified Therapist Online Today.

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Try to give them some space and approach the subject later. Pushing the subject can put additional strain on the relationship, potentially fracturing it further. After some time, it may be okay to approach the subject further and try to reconcile the situation if possible.

Making Someone Forget About Positive Things

Believe it or not, there is a use for this. Not all situations are negative and require a magic trick to make that person forget. Let’s say that something is exciting coming up. Maybe a person is making plans for their birthday, but you have a surprise in store.

To keep that surprise intact, you need to get that person to forget about the thing they are excited about. Maybe they are really excited about that special date, and you need them not to be so excited to preserve your surprise.

There are basic things that can be done. They might bring that date up to you, and you can try to change the subject. Perhaps you can subtly take away reminders of the upcoming event, like a note on a calendar or objects relating to the event, so that it can slip out of their immediate consciousness.

But what about when they bring it up to you? You will have to switch the topic of conversation but have to do so in a way that isn’t obvious. If you are in a group, join others in the conversation. When others are talking about something, the topic will more than likely veer from the original topic.

If you are in a one-on-one situation, try excusing yourself. It can be as simple as saying you need to use the restroom. Give it a few minutes before coming back. When you return, start a new topic. When the conversation is paused, it makes it far easier to change the topic entirely than it would right in the middle of a conversation.

Another trick for changing the topic without making it sound obvious is choosing a close topic to what you’re talking about. Maybe take a small detail from something they said and try to tie it into a different point, topic, or story.

Try changing locations. This can be difficult to do subtly, but moving to a different space can distract the topic at hand. It can also offer a potential opening to change the topic entirely. Again, it is easier to change the topic if you are not right in the middle of a discussion with someone.

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Lastly, be honest. There will be instances where you can’t dodge the conversation regarding that event or situation. When this happens, ask politely to move on to something else. You don’t have to divulge that you have a surprise planned, but let them know that there are things that you want to keep to yourself so that both parties can continue to enjoy the excitement and anticipation that day offers.

We are only human. We say things that upset others, even if we don’t mean to do so. Understanding these situations and working to rectify them is the best that we can do. There is no universal solution, and you may not be able to fix the situation entirely.

But making an effort to find a solution can be enough to allow for reconciliation and moving forward. And so long as the relationship is saved and you can get back on good terms, that is all that matters in the end.

It would be great to make someone magically forget an unpleasant situation forever, but that isn’t likely to happen. Soften the blow as best you can and work to make it something they won’t harp on for the rest of their lives.


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