Apologies are a funny thing. Everyone likes to get them. When you need to give them, things get tricky. As soon as your ego gets involved, you’re in trouble. And let’s be honest, it always gets involved. Apologizing means admitting you’re wrong, and no one likes to be wrong. Apologies also force you to be vulnerable with your loved ones, and vulnerability is scary. It means you’re emotionally undressing yourself. You’re opening yourself up to danger (or so we think). So when it comes to saying “sorry,” you may offer up the white flag in the most non-committal, inauthentic way possible. If you’ve ever said, “I’m sorry, okay?” you know what I’m talking about. Then there are the “I’m sorry you feel that way” non-apologies. It’s tough to say which is worse.
Apologies aren’t easy to give but they are one of the most powerful tools for communication at your disposal in any relationship. Apologies allow both parties to feel heard and expressed. They also open up a dialogue for you and your partner to come to a deeper understanding of each other’s feelings. If you get stuck on saying you’re sorry, don’t worry. You’re not alone. These are my favorite tips to get myself to a sincere apology. Hopefully, they’ll help you, too:-
DO IT N PERSON: That means no apology texts or voicemails. A genuine apology opens up a dialogue between you and your partner, so that means there needs to be a back and forth. Doing it in person or at least over the phone is essential. (Video works too!) Clear communication is essential in an apology. Don’t want to leave any room for misinterpretation, which can lead to more hurt feelings!
TIMING IS EVERYTHING: Apologize as soon as you know you hurt someone. The sooner you apologize the more sensitive your partner will know you are. Part of a relationship is learning your partner’s sensitivities and being in tune with them even when they don’t verbalize a specific need. A quick apology saves the buildup of contempt and shows off your thoughtfulness.
DIG DIP: Don’t apologize only because you know you were in the wrong. Try to empathize with the hurt your actions caused and express your understanding of this pain. Dig deep into the emotional impact of the actions you’re apologizing for. You may uncover wounds and triggers in the process. You may realize that you need to own up for a long-standing negative pattern. Ask yourself why you did the thing you did and be prepared to own up to something deeper than you expected. Being thorough in your apology shows the necessary emotional understanding that will help your relationship heal. Begin with clarity. Clarity will bring authenticity to your apology.