Some of us are really awful at apologizing. Instead of making a whoopsie better, we end up backing ourselves into the hole we already dug. Sometimes, it’s an accident. We might really be attempting at a sincere apology, but we don’t understand what an apology really looks like.
Below are a handful of ways you can give a heartfelt apology that will hopefully get you out of trouble without making you look (any more) like a jerk.
- Always start with “I’m sorry.” Trying to apologize without actually using the words “I’m sorry” is not very effective, and it usually feels insincere.
- Admit that you realize you’ve made an error. Don’t do that backhanded apology thing where you say things like “I’m sorry you feel like I should have asked before I spent our savings on that Mini Cooper.” You’re not really saying sorry, you’re apologizing for someone else’s feelings while also sort of insinuating they’re crazy.
Try it again: “I’m sorry I neglected to think about you before I spent our savings on that Mini Cooper.” Ah, much better.
- Try not to use the word “but.” It’s okay to explain your thought process, but don’t justify it by using the word “but.” Explaining your actions is good for communicating where you’re at; justifying them makes the apology seem false.
Example: “I’m sorry I didn’t call you, but I got really wrapped up in American Horror story and then fell asleep.” Even if it’s true, the word “but” makes it seem insincere. A good apology should contain no excuses.
“I’m sorry I didn’t call you. I got really wrapped up in American Horror Story and fell asleep” just seems more genuine. You recognize you forgot to do something (even a dumb, seemingly menial something that apparently meant a great deal to someone else), you address it, you apologize. You don’t justify.
- Don’t self loathe. There is nothing worse than a self-loathing apology! Not only are you f*cking up, but you’re then trying to spin the situation by asking for pity. “I’m sorry I forgot our anniversary, okay? I’m sorry I am just SUCH a f*ck up, and basically the worst partner ever, okay? I’m sorry.” No, you’re not sorry. You’re explaining away your self-involvement with more self-involvement.
- Always end by reiterating the fact that you are sorry. Come full circle. Apologize for your actions. Explain your thought process if you think it will help the person you wronged understand where you’re at. Don’t justify or whine about how awful you are (they probably already know it. That’s why you’re apologizing). And then, just to make sure your sincerity is fully expressed, apologize again.
This post was originally published on iEatGrass.com.