We like to think that we’re very smooth when it comes to communication and candid conversations, but the reality might just be the opposite since it turns out we really have no clue on how to handle delicate situations. One such situation is one we’re all too familiar with. And that is having to suck it up and apologize to someone.
Everyone who’s ever been in a conflict with a close friend or a significant other knows all too well how frustrating and stressful it is to fight, argue and grow distant within that time. However, it might not just be the anger that’s hard to resolve but rather it’s what’s supposed to come next that’s the challenge. Apart from letting go of your own issues and being the bigger person sometimes, it can be daunting to come up with an award winning apology that will help cool down the situation.
Think too hard and you might end up finding an even bigger reason to fight, act too fast and you might end up with an insincere apology that neither you or the person close to you will believe. So, why is saying sorry so hard?
Well, according to Dr. Renee Garfinkle,
“Apologizing is difficult because it requires humility.
Apologizing temporarily reduces one’s self-esteem. The offender who apologizes yields some power, some control. Having announced their imperfection and error, the offender is now vulnerable. It takes humility to make a sincere apology, and for some people humility is just too uncomfortably close to humiliation.”
However, for the most part, identifying that distinction between being humble and being humiliated in front of someone you love should never be that hard. The first step to a good and sincere apology is accepting that you were at fault in some way and even if you weren’t, apologizing from the heart implies that you’re willing to let go of your ego for that person. And that is always appreciated.
Even if things aren’t a 100 percent clear right away, here are a few useful pointers on what NOT to say while one is saying sorry;
Don’t start the sentence with “if I hurt you, I apologize”
This is basically you denying that you had any part of the blame in your exchange. Believe me, this is probably one of the worst things you can say to someone as it not only invalidates their feelings but also shows them you’re starting the conversation with a lot of pre-conceived notions in your head.
Don’t apologize and then add a but
There are unfortunately a lot of negative connotations attached to the word but, even if you’re using it with the best of intentions. Hearing something like “i accept my mistake but..” is not something anyone wants to hear! It’s insensitive and you’re definitely still arguing.
Don’t brush off the issue as a minor one
This is a big no and completely rude because even though we might not perceive it as such, the other person might really be offended or hurt by whatever happened. Being a little more empathetic to people’s feelings is necessary while apologizing.
Don’t apologize expecting an apology back
Sure, it might be a two way problem but going in to say sorry with the intention of it having being said back is a horrible reason to apologize to someone! Demanding the other to reciprocate and that too straight away is a big red flag.
Don’t leave out the important details
Saying you’re sorry is only have the job and what really helps relationships in the longer run is opening up about why you did something the way you did. More often than not, the reason you have to apologize now is due to some already existing issue although justifying yourself is not the right way to handle such a situation.