How To Apologize Effectively In 10 Steps


Apologies can be hard, but everyone is faced with a time that they've hurt someone and need to make it right.  However, there are many ways to apologize that don't help... they only make the problem worse.

Felicia Powers created a powerful Facebook post outlining these issues and dissecting the basic mechanisms of apologies.  We share these steps with you today.

Listen up, people. This is a lesson on how to apologize.

1. Your apology should never contain the words "if" or "but."

You are making a statement that is an admission of your fault.

2. Your apology can be worded simply: "I'm sorry I upset you by (insert offense)."

3. Do not attempt to defend the offense.

4. Adding a heartfelt "Please forgive me" goes a long way towards appealing to the person you've hurt.

5. Again, it's not "I'm sorry if I..." or "I'm sorry but...." You're just sorry. Period. No excuses, qualifications, or reservations.

You're just sorry, that's what you're communicating here.

6. Your apology should never deflect blame for the hurt feelings towards the person you're apologizing to.

Their feelings and response to your words and actions are valid. It's up to you to accept that and respond appropriately.

7. Keep accounts short. When you become aware that you've hurt or offended someone, address it immediately.

Don't let hurt fester or it grows in the person to whom you owe an apology. It will be 10x worse if you ignore it and hope it goes away. It won't go away. Hurting that person planted a seed. That seed will grow and choke out their sense of loyalty to you.

8. If possible, make it right.

Ask how you can do that. Maybe there's nothing that can be done. Communicate that you would like to make it right. This shows that you really do care; your apology isn't only lip service. Put actions behind your words to make them more meaningful.

9. Give the person you've hurt or offended time to process their feelings and your apology.

10. Hug it out.

Express that you care for that person too much to let a misstep, offense, misunderstanding or other issue come between you. Send your pride to the backseat and let your heart drive.

Please refer to these 10 handy tips the next time you need to apologize.

"They really work... they are far superior to the average, lame fauxpology that has become the current social standard. 

Thanks, folks!"

Felicia is the Founder and Community Director of Sunday Assembly Baltimore.  To see her original post on Facebook, click here.

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