i want to talk about apologies today.
good apologies. real apologies.
ones that clear the air, leave people feeling respected, keep relationships going.
because i’ve heard a lot of half-assed, sorry excuses for ‘i’m sorry’ & yesterday i received such a weak, lame apology that i would feel better right now if that person wouldn’t have even said anything at all.
so that has me thinking about the other pathetic, twisted, obligatory admissions of guilt that were tossed my way or my friend’s ways… & how there is definitely a right & a wrong way to apologize.
first of all – if you hurt somebody’s feelings – even if you didn’t intend to – it was still your actions that caused them to feel this way.
and you can’t argue their feelings.
you can’t decide that you didn’t hurt them.
you certainly can’t tell them that their feelings are invalid (well you could if you’re a big jerkface but i like to think that most of us are decent humans).
just because you didn’t mean to hurt them – doesn’t mean you didn’t!
but before we dig into what a good apology is… let’s talk about some of the things that make a bad apology:
• if you argue with the person
• if you refuse to take responsibility
• if you try to rationalize your actions
• if you tell the other person they’re wrong
• if you make excuses for yourself
and my all-time favourite:
• if you start any statement with the following: ‘but’, ‘if’, or ‘well you’
then 100% you’re doing it wrong & you’re probably going to make the other person feel even more like garbage!
and you’ll owe them an even bigger apology!
you also have to mean it. words are powerful & it has to be real.
even if you think they are overreacting, even if you think you’re 100% right – it’s still their experience, their feelings & you’re going to have to accept that if you care about this person & want to patch things up.
so now we’re ready to move forward with the big ‘i’m sorry’:
• own up to what you did
• give a real, heartfelt apology
• fix it or tell them what you’re going to do to fix it so it doesn’t happen again
a lot of us maybe think that it’s difficult or hard to apologize but if you care about others & you’re a good person – you really shouldn’t feel awkward or stressed about having to say sorry.
especially if you want to save your relationship with someone.
so to recap: there is definitely a right & a wrong way to apologize… own it, feel it, fix it & if the word ‘but’ starts any one of your sentences – you might as well kick your own butt & save that person the effort!!