Many people have difficulty apologizing. You may know someone who never apologizes. Reasons why people don’t apologize are they aren’t really concerned about the other person or apologizing threatens their self-image, or they believe that an apology won’t do any good anyway.
Apologies aren’t easy and can be very awkward, but they are important for mending and maintaining important relationships. A sincere and honest apology takes courage, an open heart and a splash of humility.
• Don’t apologize for someone else’s feelings. “I’m sorry you are mad” is not an apology. It’s condescending.
• Do apologize for your own actions and attitude. “Im sorry I was rude” is an apology that takes ownership. Be specific about what you did wrong. “Im sorry for whatever made you mad” is not going to work.
• Don’t add an excuse to your apology. “Im sorry I was rude, but I was really irritated”, means you’re not really sorry. You feel justified for the way you acted and you expect to be excused. Never say I’m, sorry BUT …….
• It’s important to be fair in your apology, both to the other person and yourself. Don’t accept all the blame if it isn’t all your fault.
• Do ask for forgiveness when you apologize. “I’m sorry” on it’s own is just a statement. It requires no response. “Will you forgive me?” is a humble request that can build a relationship. Remember when you are in the wrong you are never owed forgiveness. Be grateful when you receive it.
• Don’t expect a reciprocal apology. Just own your own part of the wrong doing.
• Do attempt to make a repair. It’s wise and loving to ask “Is there anything I can do to make this right?”
• Learn from your mistakes and find new ways of dealing with difficult situations. If you keep repeating the same offense, you are not sorry.
Not apologizing when you are wrong can be damaging to your personal and professional relationships. It can also lead to rumination, anger, resentment, and hostility that may only grow over time.