This article will discuss why apologizing is noble and some tips for apologizing effectively.
First, though, I need to say that if you are the one who has offended me, please don’t give me a pass. I want to hear the words, “I’m sorry,” coming from your mouth.
I’m usually waiting for them, even if I’m fuming. That said, here are some tips to apologize effectively.
It is human nature to feel guilty about something when we’re wrong. We often worry about who is to blame.
In the case of my comment being not as well-received as I had hoped, I thought about who to blame. I was worried about whether the person who took offense was in the wrong or not.
I asked myself, “What do I know about this person?” “What do they do for a living?” “What are their personalities like?” and so on.
Before I could answer myself, it was too late. My worry was already inside me, and all I could do was try to figure out how to say, “I’m sorry.”
I was the one who had become offended. I felt like I needed to accept the blame for something I didn’t do, and I tried to explain why that I wasn’t to blame.
Accusing someone else of a guilt trip
I’m all for guilt trips, and in my experience, when people take a guilt trip, it’s usually the other person. Don’t make someone feel guilty.
If you can’t understand that someone else might not feel the same way you do, you are not listening and acting as if you are always right and someone else is always wrong.
A good rule of thumb is always to take the blame and the consequences as a team; never let someone else take the fall.
You’re hurting more than you realize
One of the most powerful aspects of apologizing is that it can help with your self-esteem. When you apologize and admit that you were wrong, you stop your downward spiral and begin climbing back up the mountain.
Try to be kind in your apology. Also, give your apology some thought before you decide how to say it.
Taking a few seconds to think about what you want to say can help you articulate your thoughts more compassionately and help avoid an awkward pause.
Don’t say, “I’m sorry if I hurt you. I didn’t mean to.” It’s usually not true. Instead, say something like, “I feel like I really hurt your feelings when I said what I said, and I was wrong.”
I used to believe it was necessary to give people the name of someone who had offended me, and I was embarrassed and didn’t want to admit it. I didn’t think it would help.
I now realize that there’s nothing to gain by doing this. Just say, “I’m sorry that I hurt your feelings.”
If there are others involved in the situation, say, “I’m sorry if it offended anyone else. I was wrong, and I shouldn’t have said that.”
Some people are uncomfortable with the word “sorry” for some reason. Be aware of this. Simply apologizing is not enough.
It would help if you showed vulnerability. I have to confess; I have to learn to be less emotionally fearful in certain situations.
I am still human and still worry about hurting people. However, I’ve realized that expressing my real feelings and vulnerability can help my relationship and my life overall.
To be clear, I am not suggesting you should say, “I’m sorry you hurt me,” because that would be strange. But if you feel terrible and sincerely apologize and say, “I am sorry for being rude to you and for saying what I did.”
Remember that no one is perfect
If you’re going to apologize, realize that you might be hurting your own case.
You might be apologizing because someone else thinks you’re inadequate or because they think you’ve done something that hurts them.
And that’s OK.
You can apologize because your grandfather’s not around anymore. You can apologize because you made your daughter cry. You can apologize because your car just broke down.
But, remember, you can’t apologize for someone else’s faults.
And never apologize when someone needs a friend. It’s never a good time for an apology.
Why apologize? I can think of a million reasons, but for me, it boils down to this: If you want to show someone you love them, you’ll do something about it.
What if you show up at their office wearing the hideous shirt you own, and that’s all she’ll remember about you? What if you read an article about a young lady who’s bravely coming out and you say, “Wow, that girl must be so brave!”
And she will be. But her mom, who is the one who raised her for the last 12 years of her life, is probably going to wonder what in the hell you’re doing talking to strangers about it.
What if you make a good impression and tell that cashier how much you love her music and she can’t stop talking about it? The girl who brings her dog to work every day, perhaps the most perfect creature you’ve ever seen in your life, is going to feel like she made a mistake the entire rest of her day.
It might be tempting to over-apologize to people because we want to be liked. And the answer to that is clear: Don’t give a fuck.
Do you even like her? If you didn’t, why are you hanging out with her?
If it was the last time you’ll ever see her, why can’t you let it be a good time?
If you do, she will know you’re a good person.