The case has been argued (and sustained) that some of us apologize too much.
However, when an apology is warranted, it turns out there’s a right way and a wrong way to deliver it. The former is shockingly simple, and will be most satisfying and potentially healing for both the guilty and the wronged. The latter all but guarantees further resentment.
Here’s how to apologize the wrong way. See if this sounds familiar.
I’m sorry you’re so upset. It just really bugs me when you _____. I really feel ______. *
Now, here are the steps of a proper apology, courtesy of blogger Tina Roth Eisenberg (via A Cup of Jo):
A real, effective apology has three parts:
(1) Acknowledge how your action affected the person;
(2) say you’re sorry;
(3) describe what you’re going to do to make it right or make sure it doesn’t happen again. Don’t excuse or explain.
* Launches into diatribe, reiterating grievances that caused initial conflict; continues—with increasing passion and at higher volume—to defend self and blame opponent.
Hey, we said the best way to apologize was simple. We never said it would be easy.