Saying I'm Sorry the Right Way - 3 Tips

Posted by Imago Relationships North America on Aug 28, 2019 11:11:00 AM

Saying I'm Sorry the Right Way - 3 Tips - Imago Relationships North America

Ever wonder why some of your apologies fall flat and you’re not forgiven?

Ask yourself… Did you really own it? Or, did you do some of the following?

  1. You focused on how awful you felt instead of the impact of your actions and how it might have hurt them. Saying, "I feel just awful..." shows no real responsibility because it’s all about you.

  2. You focused on how they felt instead of your actions and your behaviors. For example, saying “I'm sorry you felt hurt,” still shows no responsibility.  

  3. You actually attempted to justify your actions. Wrong. For example, saying “I’m so sorry, but if you hadn’t…” still shows you couldn’t seem to own it!

So, try these 3 steps to own it and apologize so it matters:
  1. Don’t generalize your words. Be specific and acknowledge your exact, hurtful behavior or action. For example, saying “I’m sorry I was 30 minutes late to pick you up from work,” shows you have respect and understanding.

  2. Take responsibility for the pain or problems you’ve caused. For example, saying “I know you got off work early so we could go to a movie and my tardiness caused you to miss out on your finance meeting at work," shows you taking responsibility for past behavior.

  3. Take action and make a commitment to no longer repeat your mistake. Work on being on time and explain how you'll do this moving forward. For example, saying “I’ll set a calendar reminder 30 minutes earlier for all of our dates so I won't be late anymore," shows you're committing to improving yourself.

It’s important to repair the damage you’ve created with others by making sure your apology is specific, responsible and action-oriented.  You'll also want to focus on being humble when you share your apology. As well as, be courageous even if you feel they will not accept your apology. 

Bottom line - do the next right thing, apologize and OWN IT!  


Topics: Managing Conflict, Healthy Relationships, Emotional Safety, Forgiveness, Healthy Communication, Human Connection, Imago Relationships, Emotional Connection

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The Imago Relationships Blog features content from our team of professional therapists, workshop presenters and facilitators who are passionate about helping you discover a new way to communicate and love your life.

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