Why the way you apologize is wrong. Life Lesson #23

Learn to apologize.

Saying “I’m sorry” takes practice. For some, the process is akin to extracted impacted wisdom teeth. For others, the words flow out so quickly you wonder if there is any meaning associated.

Ever had someone apologize to you and afterwards you felt worse?

“I’m sorry you are such a jerk and I resented your bullish character, I resented your ugly way of talking. And I hated you for being wrong and not knowing it all the time. I’m sorry.”

Wonderful. I feel so much better.

Another friend told me he recently sat in a meeting of non-profit and religious leaders where someone apologized for feelings of resentment. The apology included 10 minutes of upbraiding masked in half-hearted apology.

You can’t apologize for what someone else did and issuing forgiveness before someone else apologies is simple manipulation.

The ANATOMY of a genuine apology.

The apology.

I am sorry. I wronged you. I …. Then STOP.

That’s it. No blaming, no “the reason I did was this…” No justification or explanation required.

If the person to whom you apologize reciprocates, good. But not required. If the person opens the door to more communication, even better. But not required.

That is hard. Because there is a reason for everything. Just shouldn’t be included in an apology.

Here’s the twitter version

“A cover up always necessitates a cleanup. no cover-up no cleanup. So just own up and get on with it.”

179 thoughts on “Why the way you apologize is wrong. Life Lesson #23”

  1. How about, “Hey I am really sorry that you don’t accept what we believe to be the will of God in this, but you are going to have to pray that God will help you to understand what he is wanting to do here and accept it. ” And he called it an apology!!!

  2. I’m sorry, I wronged you…(stop) Powerful.

    I’ve found that a sincere apology, after those words, included the follow up actions. Prove through actions, not manipulation, that you see how you have wronged that person.

    Great post Charles!

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