The Art of Apologies

A close friend of mine’s boyfriend recently messaged me to tell me he never liked me because I’m loud..and obnoxious. And like, he’s not wrong..

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But I received an apology (for lashing out) a few days later because he was mad about something that didn’t really have to do with me, and he completely misread a situation…He just forgot one little detail. To apologize for calling me loud and obnoxious…

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So his apology read like,

“I’m sorry for telling you how I truly feel about you while I was angry about something else.”

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While I certainly appreciate any apology at all, I know when they’re done incorrectly it can leave a situation or person who feels wronged worse off. There’s an ART to apologies and the most important element is sincerity. Successful apologies show sincerity by expressing remorse and vulnerability. Successful apologies don’t make excuses or explain their actions away. They take so much courage by assuming responsibility for a wrong. That is a tough place to be, and often times it is why people will refuse to apologize in many instances, or do so in a sincere way.

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This is important. An inspiring leader understands how to apologize effectively and in turn creates a cohesive environment.  Imagine when your boss never owns up to their mistakes and instead creates tension and animosity..

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Imagine when your boyfriend or girlfriend hurts your feelings (however intentional) by commenting on your appearance and refuses to say sorry for how they made you feel. There’s a difference between saying;

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“I’m sorry you felt bad when I said you should go back to the gym but I was just trying to help.”

vs.

“I’m sorry I hurt you by saying you should go back to the gym. It was rude and inconsiderate of me and I have no place to  tell you what you should do with your body when I’m not in the best shape myself” lol extreme example but it has all the elements! 

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  1. Acknowledgment of their feelings which in turn validates the hurt you caused, rather than belittles them
  2. Expresses remorse for your sometimes embarrassing actions
  3. Takes responsibility and doesn’t make excuses
  4. Here’s a bonus; it makes you a loser in the situation (hear me out)…When you acknowledge something like how you have no place to judge when you aren’t even in the best shape that takes you down a notch and leaves you more likely to be forgiven. The person apologizing has to convince the receiver that they are paying for their actions in some way, be it monetarily with something like flowers or by lowering one’s self (There’s studies on this – TRUST, NOT FAKE NEWS). 

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No one wants to be wrong (myself massively included)…Saying sorry is hard but we all have to…or at least should do it sometime. And knowing how to be a Picasso of Apologies is an underrated yet dire social skill. Sometimes, what helps me (depending on the situation) is remembering that apologizing is hard and takes a lot of courage, but it takes an even stronger person to receive that apology and forgive. Last thing; I’m sorry this post was so long (or am I?). 😉  

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