If you have been following the blog for a while you know that I used to work for an etiquette company in Athens, GA. You may also know that I am a big fan of manners and etiquette. I truly believe that they are vital in life and vital to having a successful career. Another area where manners and etiquette are crucial to having success are relationships. One of the most basic principles of a successful relationship is treating each other well. Knowing that we are all human, we will make mistakes from time to time and inevitably hurt someone. After you have hurt someone the next thing that needs to happen is an apology. With that said, I have come to realize that not many people know how to properly apologize. So today I am going to share with you the anatomy of an apology.
The first thing that needs to happen in an apology is to recognize what you have done wrong. We all make mistakes and it is important to be honest with yourself and know that you are not perfect. So, recognize the wrongdoing. The better you become at recognizing what you have done wrong the more likely you are to learn from your mistakes.
Next you need to admit what you did was to wrong to the person that you hurt. Admitting that you wronged someone is so important because it shows the other person that you realize what you did was wrong. My hope is that we all want to be better people and a part of that is not making the same mistake over and over again. The way to accomplish that is by admitting the problem.
After you have admitted the wrong doing, you need to ask for that person’s forgiveness. Saying, “we cool?” does not count. Clearly asking for someone’s forgiveness is the most important part in an apology. It allows you and the other person to move forward and grow together in your relationship. Now, the person giving the forgiveness can choose not to forgive you. That is their prerogative. If they choose not to forgive you, while that is not ideal, at least you have done all that you could to move on from the situation.
Let’s all take a walk down memory lane and think about how every family show from the 90’s moved on from a difficult issue…they hugged it out! Full House, Boy Meets World, and Family Matters, to name a few, all ended an apology with a hug. This is a great way to signify that you both are ok and ready to move forward. When in doubt, hug it out!
ONE THING NOT TO DO
Under no circumstance should you ever give an excuse. Do not apologize to someone and say, “Well your actions/decisions to do X,Y,Z made me do this”. That is NOT an apology and will never be an apology. The only thing this does is make the offender feel better by justifying what they did. The moment you give an excuse is the moment your apology means nothing. It tells the other person that you don’t really understand what you did or why it was wrong or that you are looking to change. You lose all credibility. Here is a little bit of tough love – Be an adult. Own up to your transgressions. Stop making excuses.
The one thing you have to do to make this happen is swallow your pride. You have to decide which is more important, the relationship or your pride. If the relationship is more important than your pride does not matter and neither do your excuses.
When you make a mistake, own up to it. People will respect you more for that fact that you owned up to your mistake as opposed to justifying your way through the situation. I say all of this out of love. Really. If we don’t talk about the tough stuff how do we become better people? I urge you to really think about how you apologize and whether or not you find yourself making excuses. Strive to be a better person. I know you can do it. I have faith in you!
HAVE YOU EVER MADE AN EXCUSE WHEN YOU APOLOGIZE? HAS ANYONE EVER DONE THAT TO YOU?
SAVE FOR LATER!