Saturday, February 9, 2019

Stay away from the "non-apology" apology

Sometimes, I like to tell stories. 

Sometimes I like to get straight to the point. 

Today's post is one of the latter.

Apologies are important. 

Here's why

  • Apologies show that you acknowledge that you made an error. 
  • Apologizing shows that you take responsibility for your behavior. 
  • It shows remorse for behavior that may have hurt another person. 

How to apologize

1. Get straight to the point. 

2. Don't use the word but, such as "I'm sorry, but ___________."

3. Be sincere.

~ ~ Examples of how to apologize ~ ~
I'm terribly sorry for __________. How can I make this right?
        (not getting the paperwork done on time, filling out the  paperwork incorrectly, not planning well, etc.)
I'm sorry to be late. I ____________. (missed the bus, got stuck in traffic, didn't allow enough travel time, got stopped by a teacher on the way here, etc.)
I apologize for what I said earlier.  I'm really sorry. 
I've thought about what you said. I apologize for _______ (what I said, what I did, my actions, etc.)
I heard what happened. I'm sorry.

What if you don't apologize? 

When you don't apologize, you run the risk of damaging relationships. Hurt feelings can grow, creating chasms that may not fully be restored. Trust is broken, and your reputation may suffer. 

Apologies are courageous.

No one likes making mistakes, especially ones that may hurt someone else. When we do take the step to apologize for a mistake, it creates vulnerability and opens us up to shaming, blaming, and possibly even attacks from the person(s) to whom we're apologizing. 

In addition to being vulnerable to another person, apologies can also feel like we're admitting that we're not enough, or inadequate in some way. 

Apologies are opportunities.

When you apologize, you are opening the door to rebuild trust with another person. You are creating an opportunity for dialogue about restoration, and you are creating an opportunity to make amends. 


Don't apologize with the expectation that the other person(s) will forgive you. Prove through your future actions that forgiveness and trust can be earned.

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