I want to teach you today about how to deliver a great apology. It’s one of those things that we all think we do pretty well, but in truth, there’s a whole lot of room for improvement. For all of us. BIG people know how to apologize well. Giants, actually.
Try to never say “I apologize.” The word apologize feels more formal, more remote, and it doesn’t really feel as warm and authentic as the word “sorry.” So when you start your apology, please begin by saying “I am so so sorry!”
Choose something your partner really wants you to be sorry about. Don’t chicken out and pick something small. You’re much better than that.
Exaggeration is useful. Say something like, “I was so thoughtless. I was so selfish. I can’t believe how inconsiderate I was of you.” Lay it on thick. Hyperbole is helpful. Apologies are all about ownership, and beating yourself up big time helps the person who is receiving your apology recognize that you are owning all your stuff.
For example: “You must’ve felt so abandoned. How humiliated you must have felt by what I did. You must have been so hurt by what I said.” Identify the pain your poor behavior caused. Again, hyperbole is SO essential.
If you can honestly promise that whatever it was that you did will never happen again, then please, say so. But most of the time we really can’t make that kind of a promise, and it’s really imperative to never break a promise to the person you love. So instead, maybe you could say something like, “I hope in time you can forgive me. Or I will do my best to make sure that never ever happens twice. I’m so very sorry.”
And change permanently. There’s no point in offering a solid apology if you keep making the same mistake over and over again. That just tells your spouse you’re not that sorry, because if you were, you would’ve permanently changed. Worse, you lose your credibility, and all future apologies have zero merit!
The MOST important thing to remember about delivering a great apology is to never include two things. They both start with E – to help you remember. There is no room in a power-packed apology for an Explanation or an Excuse.
It is so easy to take ourselves off the hook that we don’t even know we’re doing it. You’ll know when you’re trying to give an excuse or an explanation because you’ll be using words like if, but, however, the reason I did that was because, but you got understand… Not helpful. No if‘s and‘s or buts. Using those words just dilutes a great apology.
Giving a good apology is really hard work. We all make mistakes. We all make mistakes every day actually. I know I do. Sometimes I spent half my day delivering solid apologies.
That’s all for today. I hope you get forgiven!
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