6 Tips on How to Apologize
Apologies seem to come more easily to some people than others. In general, if a person has a desire to make amends in order to repair damage from a breach in trust, a verbal conflict or an embarrassing situation that was created by him, then it is only a matter of right timing and right method.
Who apologizes more often?
Do you ever wonder if it is men or women who are the ones to apologize more often? Although I have not researched this it would appear that, stereotypically, women apologize more. Again, no scientific facts, but most of the men that I know do not readily admit that they are wrong in a situation. It usually takes a woman to point this out. Why? Well, historically, it is the woman who has taught her family civility. Therefore, it is usually a woman who will approach the situation first to smooth things over. And, it is the female child in the family who is usually groomed to be passive and accommodating.
However, this is not the case when particular personalities are involved. In cases in which there is much immaturity, undeveloped personality and great ego it is difficult for someone to admit their wrongdoing. When this happens frequently it can cause long lasting damage to the relationship. Here are three conditions in which it may be difficult for the person you are dealing with to admit they are wrong:
Three scenarios that are exceptions to the norm
People who have been unjustly criticized as youngsters growing up; perhaps with an overbearing or abusive parent, can often become defended and not want to appear vulnerable or weak. In those situations it takes an understanding friend or partner to gently broach the subject of wrongdoing.
People suffering from disorders, such as narcissistic personality disorders, may also have difficulty apologizing. In these cases there is a perceived threat towards the image of who they think they are. In situations such as this the target of the incident may be the recipient of the other person’s rage.
It is not advisable to get into a match of wits with someone who has exhibited rage or other signs of personality disorder. You are not dealing with a rational person. Better to remain true to your own reality, but not attempt to convince the perpetrator of your disagreement with him.
Thirdly, for many reasons there are a greater number of people who feel entitled. This entitlement obscures their ability to accurately assess their behavior. With the attitude that they deserve to have privileges without responsibility, they refuse to apologize because ‘it’s not their problem’; when in fact, it is usually this very attitude that may have created the rift.
Do's and Don'ts of an apology
A good apology is a beautiful thing because it is a fence mender. A fence mender is the glue that will get you back in good graces with the person you have hurt. It is what has bridged the gap between neighbors over centuries.
1. Recognize what went wrong, own your part in the conflict, and be honest and sincere.
2. Choose a time in which your apology will be heard; a time when you have the other person’s full attention.
3. Review the cause briefly, if necessary, but don’t rehash old stuff. Don’t revert to blame.
4. Remember that the outcome may be different than what you expect-it is not up to you to convince the other person to accept or forgive you-especially if it is a situation of trust. Your goal is to own up to what you did and let the other person know that you recognize this.
5. Be open to further discussion if the offended party wishes to make some points.
6. Be prepared to hold good any promise or agreement that is negotiated in the process.
There are other facts to consider when you are the one who is apologizing. Here are a few tips to remember:
1. Don’t pick a time when the person you had the falling out with is too busy to converse.
2. Shouting or raising your voice during the discussion is NOT apologizing.
3. Don’t retaliate by drudging up old junk the other person has done in the past.
4. Stay focused on how you behaved and how you want to help the person trust you again.
5. Everyone has their own limits and time in which they are ready to ‘forgive’-don’t push.
6. Avoid manipulating an outcome when you offer your apology.
Even the recipiant has responsibilities
For those who are receiving an apology keep these suggestions in mind:
1. Be aware of your own feelings. If you are not ready to discuss the situation or receptive to the wrongdoer, express that calmly and honestly.
2. Don’t bring up old garbage that can block the current situation from moving forward.
3. Listen to the apology without interruption or formulating an answer prematurely.
4. Be a gracious recipient. Unless your partner has done something you deem unforgiveable at the time, accept the apology that is handed to you.
7 Simple ways to apologize
For as long as people have been living together in society there has been one form of apology or another. Remember the old dog house cartoons depicting the man in there after a blunder of some sort? This would be followed up with a large bouquet of flowers. But, flowers are just one way to apologize. Here are a few more suggestions:
3. A small gift
4. A phone call
5. A card that brings the message-or, a blank card that you can create a message.
6. A sincere, “I’m sorry”.
7. Not repeating the behavior that got you in trouble in the first place.