Apologies: Carefully Choose Your Words

Jun 22, 2016

Whatever the blunder, there’s a right way and a wrong way to apologize. Knowing how to say sorry can repair a damaged relationship – but if you don’t know how to apologize sincerely you can actually make things worse! Compelling apologies are simple if you know what to say. To help you understand how to deliver the perfect apology message, researchers from the University of Ohio have come to the rescue. According to this study, there are six key elements to a good apology, let’s review them:

  • Own Up


    It’s always best to start any apology with an admission of what you did wrong in the first place. Take responsibility for your actions and empathize with the person you wronged – showing them that you truly understand their feelings.

  • Explain


    When saying sorry, it is advisable to explain what went wrong and give the other party the opportunity to understand your actions. Few words of caution: Don’t shift blame onto someone or something else in an attempt to reduce your responsibility.

  • Be Sincere and apologetic, Express Regret


    We merged 2 of the study findings: expressing regret and declaration of repentance. While only three little words – I am sorry – an apology must be delivered with a heartfelt display of remorse. Saying the words isn’t enough, you have to be genuine! Phrases such as “I wish I’d thought of your feelings” or “I wish I could take it back” are good examples of regret that add to the sincerity of your apology.

  • Offer To reapir and Take Action


    If you want to heal the relationship and regain trust, don’t stop with a verbal apology. Change your actions or behavior and take any steps needed to make the other person feel secure around you. While hearing an apology is great – action speaks far louder than words. Show the other person that you are truly sorry.

  • Request Forgiveness, don't expect


    Keep in mind that the other person might not be ready to forgive you for what happened. This is out of your control. The important fact here is that you are requesting forgiveness, you have made the step to apologize and maybe the other person will appreciate it now or maybe never. Give that person time to heal, and don’t rush them through the process.

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