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Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Way to Apologize #1

We all know what an apology is--an expression of remorse or guilt over having done something that is acknowledged to be wrong, and a request for forgiveness. But we also know it can be really hard to swallow our pride and say "I'm sorry." If you have a difficult time making amends for mistakes or repairing the effects of angry words, here's how to keep your dignity while being humble, and invite forgiveness with grace.

Try this steps

1. Realize that what you did was wrong. and probably hurt this person

2. Realize that there is no excuse. Do not try to think of or offer one. An apology with an excuse is not an apology. Take Full Responsibility.

3. Decide when to apologize. Sometimes immediately after your mistake is best, sometimes not. The sting of a harsh word can be cooled right away with a quick apology, but other offenses might need the other person to cool down before they are willing to even listen to your next sentence. However, the sooner you apologize for your mistake, the more likely it will be viewed as an error in judgment and not a character flaw.

4. "I'm sorry...I shouldn't have said that."

Write your apology down. Construct a letter to the person you're apologizing to, rehearsing what you will say in person. If you don't feel comfortable with writing, then use a voice recorder. Not only will this help you remember what to say when you're face to face with them, but you can also bring the copy with you and hand it to them if you find the apology quite difficult to express. But don't forget that a direct and honest apology is best. Do it face to face, if possible. A phoned, emailed or recorded apology shows a lack of sincerity and effort and should only be a last resort.

5. Begin the apology by naming the offense and the feelings it may have caused. Be specific about the incident so that they know exactly what you're apologizing for. Make it a point to avoid using the word "but". ("I am sorry, but..." means "I am not sorry.") Also, do NOT say "I'm sorry you feel that way" or "I'm sorry if you were offended." Be sorry for what you DID! "I'm sorry you feel that way" makes it see like you are blaming the other person, and is not a real apology. Validate their feelings or discomfort by acknowledging your transgression's (potential) effects, while take responsiblity:

* "Boss, I'm sorry I'm late again, I know my shift started 10 minutes ago. I hope this doesn't complicate your day."

* "Dear, I'm sorry I forgot your birthday - there's no excuse. I hope you don't feel neglected, please let me set this right."

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