Those three little words can bring closure to the most difficult situation and rescue any relationship from ruin. The ability to apologize is a dying art nowadays. We avoid it, rush it and over complicate it. The ideal apology is simple and sincere.
Here are 6 Tips on How to Craft the Perfect Apology:
If you don’t feel like you owe someone an apology, don’t bother apologizing to them. Your lack of sincerity will show through and will make a tense situation even worse. However, a sincere, perfect apology goes a long way to repair a damaged relationship. You first need to decide if this relationship is worth saving and if you think it is, you should be sincere in your apology.
Your feelings are important too, but when it comes to an apology, the most important feeling you should have is regret. Talk about how hurting them made you feel. What realizations have you come to after seeing someone you care about hurt, distressed and disappointed? How does it make you feel knowing that someone you care about feels bad as a result of your actions?
You’ve hurt someone and you need to take responsibility for it. The hurt they feel was caused by you—something you said or did, so yes, it’s your fault. This isn’t the time to blame the other person for how they contributed to the tension between you two. If you expect a perfect apology from them, you need to lead by example. Don’t try to minimize your actions or victim-blame with statements like “I was just kidding,” or “You’re making a big deal out of it,” or “You’re overreacting.” You’re actually just fueling the fire and creating a bigger rift between the two of you. Instead, maximize your affront. Acknowledge that you did something hurtful and terrible.
A Detailed Account
You should be apologizing for something specific. You can do that by providing a detailed account of what you did. You should do this for two reasons: 1. To make sure you know why and how you upset the other person. 2. To acknowledge exactly what you did that was wrong. A simple “I’m sorry” doesn’t mean much to the person you’re apologizing to if you don’t know why they’re upset and you don’t know what you did wrong.
Use the Right Language
Don’t use the word “if” in your perfect apology. You know someone feels hurt and insulted, so don’t pretend like you aren’t sure. Instead, use the word “because.” If you use “because,” you’re acknowledging feelings and describing the impact. Here’s an example of how language affects an apology:
Wrong: “I’m sorry IF my comment about your weight hurt your feelings.”
Right: “I’m sorry that my insensitive comment about your weight hurt your feelings, BECAUSE it made you feel embarrassed, ashamed and attacked. I should have never said that to you in the first place.”
Which type of apology would you rather receive?
Ask for Forgiveness
The final part of a perfect apology is to ask for forgiveness. Now that you’ve acknowledged what you’ve done wrong, it’s time to put the power of forgiveness in the hands of the person you’ve offended. It’s likely that your unkind act has caused them to reevaluate your relationship: Should they give you another chance or cut ties with you forever? A sincere apology tips the scales in your favor if you want to continue to have a relationship with this person. And if they want to continue to have a relationship with you, a sincere apology means it’s easier to forgive you. And of course, part of asking forgiveness means promising never to offend them in the same manner again. Do your best to uphold this promise and definitely think before you speak next time.