I said that I’d do a list to consider when making an apology. So, here we go:
- Actually say the word ‘sorry’. Dancing around the concept means you don’t really regret your actions.
- 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.
- The word ‘BUT’ means you’re about to undo the apology. Nothing useful comes after a ‘BUT’ when apologizing.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.