How To Make Someone Forget Something
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.
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.
In situations where feelings are hurt, doing something extra nice can be beneficial. It acts as an apology and can help soften the memory or the past memories 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.
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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can you someone’s memory?
Even when doctors perform procedures that sometimes cause memory problems, no one can guess which memories will be diminished. So, if you want someone to forget the words you said or kindly want them to forget unwanted memories, it’s very unlikely you will succeed completely.
However, there are some things you can do to minimize the things that are harder to forget. First, allow them to express their feelings. After all, trying to forget traumatic words and incidents that you haven’t acknowledged can magnify their importance. Even if they seem to forget the memories of unresolved emotions, the memories will likely be repressed and may lead to anxiety, depression, or other mental health problems.
Then, once they acknowledge their feelings and learn how to manage them, you can use tactics like shifting the subject or making it up to them with kind words and actions. They probably won’t forget the memory altogether, but it may diminish to the point that it doesn’t affect them or your relationship much anymore.
Is it possible to purposely forget something?
Intentionally forgetting rarely, especially when the memory to be forgotten is emotional memory. That’s because if you try to forget things on purpose, your mind will be focused on the memory as you’re trying to forget it. One study compared subjects being asked to forget neutral memories with subjects being asked to forget emotional memories. The results showed that the emotional content seemed to “short-circuit” the intentional forgetting process. For example, if someone told you about something boring that didn’t apply to your life in any way, you might have no problems trying to forget the words. But to forget the words that someone said to you in a hurtful way might be much less likely.
Yet, there are things you can do to redirect your thinking from these traumatic or negative incidents. If you want to forget traumatic things, you need to start by addressing them directly. Then, once you’ve come to terms with any pain and loss associated with the event or words, you can begin to explore means of getting your mind on other things.
One technique is to stop yourself from thinking about the incident repeatedly. When the thought comes up, say in your mind, “Stop!” Some people suggest saying, “Cancel! Cancel!” Anything you can do to halt that train of thought and stop thinking about it might work. Then, have a positive thought ready to replace it with. Some people memorize a verse of scripture or a famous quote, and they use those words to replace the negative thought.
If you need to learn more ways to set negative thoughts aside, a therapist can teach you many techniques for managing your thoughts more effectively. If you asked to forget something, your therapist would likely explain that it’s not going to happen. However, they can help you diminish those memories and move on to more positive memories and thoughts.
How long does it take for someone to forget something?
Someone can forget the words you said to them almost immediately. That usually happens when they weren’t paying much attention to you or didn’t have any interest in what you had to say. Then, when they are asked to remember, they have little or no idea of what you were talking about. But if they were fully present with you and focused on what you said, it’s much less likely that they would forget the words you said. If they were asked to remember, they would easily repeat your meaning, if not your exact words.
Forgetting something over time is another story. Usually, long-term remembering happens because something refreshes your memory again and again. Maybe someone brings up the subject often. Or you are troubled by upsetting emotions about it. Perhaps you aren’t moving on with your life, so you stay focused on the past. In all these cases, you aren’t likely to forget. However, if the opposite is true – that no one brings up the subject, you have no emotional reaction to it, and you’re moving on with your life, the memory can fade much more quickly.
How can you make someone forget the past?
While you probably can’t make someone forget the past, there are things you can do to soften the memory and make it less significant for them. Start right now by making better choices about the way you treat them and talk to them. Be kind, gentle, and considerate whenever you interact with them. Do something for them that is so special that they will appreciate it and never forget it. Be your best self when you’re with them, and you will make new memories that will supersede the old, painful ones.
Do we block out bad memories?
Yes, sometimes our minds work to forget traumatic memories. However, a time will come when you need to deal with those memories. After the intense situation is over and you are beginning to heal, you will need to remember what happened so you can experience, accept, and express your emotions about it. This is a situation in which a therapist can help you immensely. You will be asked to remember these traumatic events, and your therapist will support you and guide you as you learn to understand and deal with what happened. Only then can your healing be complete.
How do I know if I have repressed memories?
There could be several signs that you have repressed memories, such as:
- You have gaps in your memory that you can’t explain.
- Someone told you something traumatic happened to you, but you don’t remember it.
- You have depression or anxiety with no known cause.
- You get emotionally triggered by things and people that appear to be neutral.
Is it possible to not remember a traumatic event?
Some experts believe that you can forget a traumatic event without repressing it. There may be no definitive proof to show whether you repressed it, intentionally buried the memory, or simply forgot it. The most important thing to remember is that any time you have emotional problems you need to address, it may be helpful to explore the possibility of things that happened in your past, whether you remember them easily or need some help doing so.
How do you purposely forget something?
How do you force forget?
How do you trick memory?