When I was growing up, I never liked it when my grandmother forced me to apologize for something, I’d done to aggravate my younger sister. In fact, most of the time, I just grumbled a quick “I’m sorry” just so my grandmother would leave me alone and let me get out of the room.
Apologizing for something you’ve done is never fun, but if you don’t find a way to do it authentically, it can be the beginning of the end of your relationship with another person.
Below are some quick tips for making your apology count:
- Take responsibility. Instead of emphasizing that you “didn’t mean” or “never intended” to do something, name and acknowledge the impact rather than the intention.
- “An apology is something we do, not something we say.” An apology only matters if we do better in the future. So, consider including something in your apology about how you will act or do things differently moving forward.
- Think back to the apologies you’ve experienced in your own life – “How did they feel? What resonated with you? What left you feeling unfulfilled?”
- And importantly, remember that no one owes you their forgiveness, no matter how deeply you may want it. Do your best to take responsibility, do some critical self-reflection and move forward with an action plan for how to act differently in the future.
Tara B. Taylor, MPA