The Art of Apology: How to Make Things Right When You Are Wrong

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We’ve all been there: you get an “I’m sorry” from someone and you feel like it just didn’t really help matters. Maybe it was when they said it, or maybe it was how they said it, but either way, you don’t feel any better about what warranted the apology in the first place.

We all make mistakes. It’s just a part of life. Sometimes, we have the best intentions, but we just don’t mange things in the best way, and we end up hurting someone we love. It would be great if others could judge us based on our intentions, but the reality is that only we will judge ourselves in that way. The people who love us are often left judging us based on our actions.

So, what happens when you make a mistake – maybe even a major mistake – and you are left trying to clean up the mess you’ve made? How do you apologize in a way that lets someone know that you truly understand the pain you’ve caused? It’s not easy. There really is an art to apologizing, and if it’s not done well, it can do more harm than good.

Here are a few tips that can help you apologize when you are just wrong.

Acknowledge the Offense
Unless you can acknowledge that you said or did something to make someone hurt, angry, annoyed or frustrated, you will never be able to deliver a genuine apology. You have to be able to see what you did wrong. And, it doesn’t really matter if you think you didn’t commit a major offense. What matters is whether or not the other person feels like an offense was committed and they’re hurt by it.

See Things Through Their Eyes
This can be difficult, but try to step outside of yourself to understand where they are coming from. Just because something wouldn’t hurt you, doesn’t mean another person isn’t perfectly justified in being hurt by it.

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