The Secret To Making A Sincere Apology /
We know it may seem silly, but you would be surprised at the amount of people that have asked us how they should go about apologising to someone they love. Apologies are tools with which we take responsibility for the impact of our actions on others. When we feel that we have hurt someone else it is appropriate to ask for their forgiveness, and by doing so, repair cracks in our relationships, restore our social standing, and ease feelings of personal guilt. For a super effective apology to be effective it must have the following key ingredients:
1. The words “I’m sorry” very clearly stated.
2. Some display of regret in regard to the issue at hand.
3. Acknowledgement that you had violated a person’s emotional boundaries.
4. An empathetic statement acknowledging the full extent of your actions on the persons feelings.
5. A request for forgiveness.
Out of all of these key points, the most important is the empathy statement. It’s also the one thats frequently missed. In order for forgiveness to occur, the person needs to feel as though you understand the full implications of your actions and the effect it had on them. Heres a way to make sure you do this:
Get a pen and paper and make a dot point list of points you would like to mention to the person you wish to apologise to before you continue reading. When you’re finished check number 4 to see how many of the necessary points you identified.
Here are five ingredients an affective apology should have:
EXAMPLE: You don’t make it to a friends birthday party and you don’t call to let them know you’re not going to attend.
1. I am so very sorry…
2. …I didn’t make it to your birthday party last night.
3. I had a horrible day at work and was in such a bad mood I just went to bed—but I am aware that’s no excuse for not showing up and for not even calling to tell you I wasn’t coming.
4. I can only imagine how (a) upset and (b) hurt, (c) disappointed, and (d) angry you must feel. (e) I know how much work you put into the party. (f) You must have been wondering when I would show up and (g) where I was. (h) I’m sure people asked you where I was and (i) I feel terrible for putting you in such an awkward and embarrassing position. I hope you weren’t worried (j) and that you were able to enjoy yourself but I feel awful that my (k) selfish behavior affected your (l) mood, (m) your night, or (n) the party in any way. I am so sorry I (o) wasn’t there for you as a friend should be and that I (p) wasn’t at your side to celebrate your birthday.
5. I’m not expecting you to forgive me over night, I know it may take time, but I hope one day you can.
We all know that is tough sometimes to ‘own up’ to bad behaviour so completely owning your faults will not only help mend a situation but relieve your own sense of guilt. It can also be extremely empowering to make a mend.