Need to apologize to someone? Good that you realize your error, but don’t reach out to your injured party until you read this.
An apology is not just an acknowledgment of your own wrongdoing, it is also a sign of respect. It is saying to the person you’ve disturbed, “I know that I was wrong and that you are deserving of better treatment from me.” It is also an unspoken promise to try to avoid making the same mistake twice. In short, it is embracing a hard lesson about your own behavior and letting a person know that you not only recognize this, but that you plan to do better in the future. We know what an apology is, but so many of us still manage to fall short when it comes to delivering a proper one…and most of us don’t even know it!
No Explanation Needed
We’ve all either given or received an apology that is immediately followed with an explanation. For example, “I’m sorry that I snapped at you, but I was in a bad mood.” On the surface, this sounds like a legit apology, right? Wrong! What it really is is a justification for poor behavior. In a real apology, there is no justification…only ownership and an acknowledgment that the offended person is worthy of better.
How about, “I’m sorry that I snapped at you because you do not deserve to be treated that way.” In this apology, an explanation is, technically, given– BUT the focus is kept on the offended party without an attempt to redeem oneself with an explanation justifying the bad behavior.
Try this in your personal relationships. And, remember, only IF the offended person asks you for an explanation as to why you behaved in such a way should one be offered. Got it?
Now, what are you waiting for? Go and say you’re sorry and mean it from your heart!