How to Apologize

Mon, Apr 5, 2021 2-minute read

How to Apologize

We all have and will hurt someone, and have to apologize.

Apologies are a difficult action for many. We have to step out of our comfort zone, accept responsibility, while not invalidating the emotional space of others.

Apologies can be framed in three steps:

  1. Say why you are sorry

  2. State the reason behind your apology.

  3. State how you will resolve the issue.

A terrible example, “I’m sorry I didn’t complete report time, because I know you need the numbers to plan the budget for next year. I’ll have the numbers for you by tomorrow afternoon.”

There are two important things about apologies.

  1. Accept responsibility for your part

  2. Don’t blame the other person or make the apology conditional.

The worse actions to take are:

Blame the other people for their response or emotional state by making it about something they said or did, or asking them to let it go.

Make the apology conditional with “if I offended you”. This makes the issue about how they responded and does not accept responsibility for your actions.

Invalidate their emotional state with “I’m sorry you feel that way.” This shows no emotional intelligence while saying I didn’t do anything wrong.

Next time, you have to apologize take a few minutes to understand your emotional state, how your actions created the situation, and understand the impact on the other people involved.

Be vulnerable by accepting responsibility and helping create a path to resolution to keep the relationship.