Genuine Ways to Apologise
The word ‘sorry’ is often misused as a way for people who have done something wrong to avoid guilt. It’s all too easy to do something wrong and quickly say “sorry” to try to make yourself feel better, but what does it do for the person that you’ve wronged? There is an art to apologizing effectively and genuinely, and everyone can tell the difference. The following are some things to keep in mind when making a genuine apology to someone you’ve wronged.
Simply, apologising is a way to take responsibility for a disturbance you have caused in a relationship, whether it is with a partner, friend or a person at the grocery store. An insincere apology implies nothing about your attitude toward the wrongdoing, and that’s why it’s important to be genuine. To make your apology genuine, you must acknowledge your regret for your part in the disturbance, and make it clear that you intend to stop acting in that particular way. Apologies are not just tools for peace making or to make yourself feel better. Apologies shouldn’t be abused; they should be the first step towards solving a disturbance between two people.
Make it Genuine
A genuine apology is not a habitual apologetic mannerism, but a deliberate effort to solve a problem that you have either created or contributed to. Everyone can spot an apology that is disingenuous, and it can make things worse. To be genuine, you must truly understand what you did wrong and be willing to take responsibility for your actions. A truly heartfelt apology will have no hidden obligations or expectations attached to it.
Don’t Try to Justify Your Actions
An apology that is built into an explanation isn’t an apology at all. If you find yourself beginning a long diatribe of why you did what you did, then it will sound like you haven’t taken responsibility for your actions, thus you won’t sound genuine.
Commit to Making a Change
If you can’t confirm that you are intending to improve your behaviour in the future, then you aren’t committed to the apology. Coming home and saying “Sorry I’m late”, and then continue to be late again and again makes your apology hollow and ineffective. In this case, you are better off thanking the person rather than apologising: “Thanks for putting up with me being late all the time”. After you apologise, you must follow it up with action to prove you meant it.
Phrase Your Apology Carefully
The other person must know why you are apologising otherwise it won’t be genuine. You have to put a conscious effort into it: make a point of visiting the person specifically to apologise and say “I came to apologise about what I did the other night”, and even include a gift such as a gift basket or flowers as a token. This is much more effective than saying: “I was driving by and thought I’d say sorry”, as this makes the apology sound like an afterthought.
Leave it in Their Hands
The conclusion of the apology is completely up to the other person, so once you have apologised, all you can do is wait for their response. Don’t try to force them to forgive you or assume that they will just because you apologised. Everyone behaves differently to an apology and, depending on what you are apologising for, it may take time for things to be right again.