It Takes An Even Bigger Man To Apologise ……
Determine what went wrong. Sometimes we are unaware when we have done something wrong we are aware that the relationship is now frosty, so what does it cost you to ask, “have I done something wrong?” “Have I done something to offend you?” Did you say something insensitive or offensive? Did you make a promise you didn’t fulfil? Was the offense recent or long ago? You can't apologise effectively if you don't know what you've done wrong. If you don't think you did anything wrong, then express regret or sadness for the feeling that someone is experiencing as a result of what you did but don’t leave it there. You need to understand what you have done wrong or been perceived as having done wrong, if you don’t do that you are likely to repeat the same scenario. Also I trying to understand you might find the other person understands that your words and/or actions were not as they were interpreted.
Understand that if your error was in offending someone, whether or not you were right is irrelevant. You might have pointed out a very real flaw, but keep in mind that you're apologizing for making the other person feel bad. Don't dwell on the truthfulness of your actions in that case. It’s not a point scoring exercise, naturally we want to excuse ourselves but that is not what’s important here. So what do you do about it?
Take full responsibility. Own the mistake as wholly your own, without sharing the blame with anyone else, and without presenting mitigating circumstances. Admit that you were wrong emphatically, unreservedly, and as soon as possible. Realise that there are no excuses. Do not try to think of or offer one. An apology with an excuse is not an apology. Take full responsibility for what you did. An incomplete apology often feels more like an insult, because it implies that you don't see the other person's pain as valid. An apology with an excuse is simply not an apology. It may very well be that other people or circumstances contributed to the situation, but you cannot apologise for them; you can only apologise for yourself, so leave them out of it.
It's always best to say sorry as soon as possible, but only after some careful thought. Once you've really thought the situation through, here's a simple plan to help you with your perfect apology:
- Try to really understand what your mistake has meant to the wronged party. Only by imagining yourself in their shoes will you get a sense of what it's done to them.
- Decide how you're going to apologise should it be by telephone? Email? Text? Letter? In person?
- Decide when you're going to do it.
- There are only two times I would consider using a text message to apologise, if you need to say sorry in advance for arriving later than expected or if you are saying sorry and preparing the recipient for a full apology. For example “I am sorry about the other day but I know that you deserve more than an apology by text, I have sent you a letter/I would like to meet up and clear the air at a time that would be mutually convenient.”
- A letter is also a good idea if, for example, you want to make a public apology to a group of people. It can also be a good way of setting out what you are apologising for. Watch your language, reread it several times before sending and I would advise getting a trusted friend to read it to remove any confusion from what you have written.
- Naturally, the best way to apologise is in person, if that’s possible I would always recommend this.
- Finally, Just Do It! Don’t procrastinate, the longer you leave things the worse the relationship becomes and the more difficult it can be to redeem it.
One very positive note from this, often the relationship becomes stronger,
if something has worth in life it usually takes work, so what’s stopping you?