7 Tips to Genuine Apologies

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I said that I’d do a list to consider when making an apology.  So, here we go:

  1. Actually say the word ‘sorry’.  Dancing around the concept means you don’t really regret your actions.
  2. Do NOT rationalize your actions.  You can try to say that you thought you were doing the right thing, but you have to admit that you were wrong to do what you did.  If 90% of your apology is explaining why you did nothing wrong then you aren’t sorry.
  3. The word ‘BUT’ means you’re about to undo the apology.  Nothing useful comes after a ‘BUT’ when apologizing.
  4. Do NOT make the person you’re apologizing to feel like they’re wrong to be upset.  In other words: DON’T BE A JERK!
  5. Learn from your mistakes, so that your apologies actually mean something.  If you’re always apologizing for the same mistake, it means you’re not sorry about what you did.  You’re only sorry that you got caught and are using an apology as some get out of trouble tactic.
  6. An apology doesn’t mean you are forgiven right away.  So, DO NOT apologize and then expect the other person to shrug everything off.  This is especially true if you really hurt the other person.  Also, if you end up saying ‘I am sorry and now you have to forgive me’ then you’re not really sorry.
  7. If you are the one apologizing then you are NOT the one who gets to decide on if feelings were hurt.  You are being told that you crossed a line.  It isn’t a debate, so apologize and then talk about what happened.

Short list this time because, in my opinion, apologizing shouldn’t be that complicated.  It shouldn’t be a game of emotional manipulation.  Just say you’re sorry and think about what you did.  Maybe you don’t see what you did as wrong, but the other person definitely does.  So, accept responsibility and think about ways to be better.

Now, I’m sure some people will point out that there are those who claim to be hurt and demand apologies for the slightest incident.  I agree that this is the opposite side of the apology abuse coin.  Some people do flip out over everything and demand an apology, which they might not believe.  What can you do about this?  Personally, I think you should do a simple apology and then walk away.  Otherwise, you’ll be manipulated into apologizing for every action . . . People really do suck, don’t they?  Some can’t even get apologizing right.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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15 Responses to 7 Tips to Genuine Apologies

  1. Excellent points and spot on. I know someone close to me who could do with reading both your posts on apologies, but … yeah … not sure how well that would go down! Thanks for sharing, Charles. Have a wonderful holiday season 💕🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. L. Marie says:

    Great tips! It takes a little humility to admit when you’re wrong. I have noticed sometimes that even a sincere apology can be met by a determined effort by the one receiving the apology to hold a grudge and administer punishment even if the infraction is relatively minor (like I didn’t return your phone call because I totally forgot to do so). In those instances, I refuse to stay in the penalty box. While I understand hurt feelings are not always mended quickly and are totally under the control of the recipient, I also understand that I have feelings too.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is an excellent list, Charles. I have come to realize that most of the apologies given to me were insincere.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for this. I actually have an apology scene in The Tale of the Drakanox. I’ll have to consider your points when I go into revisions on it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. V.M.Sang says:

    Yes, people do suck, but there are an awful lot who don’t. I think we must make an effort to remember all those decent, kind people who raise our spirits.
    Yes, apologising is sometimes hard, and some people have difficulty in saying sorry if they accidentally bump into you in the supermarket, and then look at you as if it’s your fault. Even if you were standing still!
    Receiving apologies can be difficult, too, especially if you are still feeling aggrieved or hurt. We should remember to accept a genuine apology with good grace.
    A thoughtful post.


    • Lately, I’ve run into more people who use apologies as a ‘get out of trouble’ tactic than a genuine statement. I think those who don’t suck are less likely to get into situations where a heartfelt apology is needed. I’m talking causing actual pain and not the smaller incidents that we apologize as a knee jerk.


  6. This is a great mini-series. I’m going to think about it as a fiction tool. Sadly, the bad side of this probably has more sway with readers.

    Liked by 1 person

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