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Sometimes you can help a person NOT lose face. If it's a minor thing, like a social mistake (that would embarrass them) and the person meant no harm, you can help them lose face (or not lose face) depending on how you handle it. |
You can do your best to be polite if someone seems embarrassed or they aren't sure how to handle a situation. Handle it for them in the most tactful polite way you can. Also, you could help take the burden of blame...
Here's an EXAMPLE:
Yesterday I got an email from a college advisor (I am a student under her), saying that she would look into something for me, but what she was looking into was the wrong thing and would have been quite a mistake. Some people might have been annoyed (I'd had problems with her dept. before, though not her specifically) If she read my email carefully, it would have been clear, but she must have read it in a hurry. I corrected her politely and made sure she didn't lose face by saying "I'm sorry my letter may have been a bit confusing...." (it wasn't really confusing) I let the blame fall wherever she wanted it to, she could see her error by herself later if she read carefully, or she could simply agree that I was not clear and move on, with no bad feelings. I don't really care if I look a tiny bit bad at writing an email, even if it's not true. She's in charge of deciding whether I can graduate next spring, and she can say no, but I felt a "yes" coming, so I voluntarily took the blame and let her move on to fixing the problem so she could more promptly and more likely say "yes". You could call it "kissing up" a bit, or you could call it respect (respectfully not letting your elders or superiors look dumb in front of their underlings).
"Yes grandma, that's a very nice sweater you knitted for me. And how did you know I wanted one sleeve longer so I could hold the dog leash while I walk the dog in the cold?? Wow, you think of everything!!"