I was running late. My wife Eleanor and I had agreed to meet at the restaurant at seven o’clock and it was already half past. I had a good excuse in the form of a client meeting that ran over and I wasted no time getting to the dinner as fast as possible.
When I arrived at the restaurant, I apologized and told her I didn’t mean to be late.
She answered: “You never mean to be late.” Uh oh, she was mad.
“Sorry,” I retorted, “but it was unavoidable.” I told her about the client meeting. Not only did my explanations not soothe her, they seemed to make things worse. That started to make me angry.
That dinner didn’t turn out to be our best.
Several weeks later, when I was describing the situation to a friend of mine, Ken Hardy, a professor of family therapy, he smiled.
“You made a classic mistake,” he told me.
“Me? I made the mistake?” I was only half joking.
“Yes. And you just made it again,” he said. “You’re stuck in your perspective: You didn’t mean to be late. But that’s not the point. The point is that you were late. The point — and what’s important in your communication — is how your lateness impacted Eleanor.”
In other words, I was focused on my intention while Eleanor was focused on the consequences. We were having two different conversations. In the end, we both felt unacknowledged, misunderstood, and angry.
The more I thought about what Ken said, the more I recognized that this battle — intention vs. consequences — was the root cause of so much interpersonal discord.
As it turns out, it’s not the thought that counts or even the action that counts. That’s because the other person doesn’t experience your thought or your action. They experience the consequences of your action.
Here’s another example: You send an email to a colleague telling him you think he could have spoken up more in a meeting.
He replies to the email, “Maybe if you spoke less, I would have had an opportunity to say something!”
That obviously rankles you. Still, you send off another email trying to clarify the first email: “I didn’t mean to offend you, I was trying to help.” And then maybe you add some dismay at the aggressiveness of his response.
But that doesn’t make things better. He quotes the language of your first email back to you. “Don’t you see how it reads?” He asks. “BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT I MEANT!” You write back, IN CAPS.
So how do you get out of this downward spiral?
It’s stunningly simple, actually. When you’ve done something that upsets someone — no matter who’s right — always start the conversation by acknowledging how your actions impacted the other person. Save the discussion about your intentions for later. Much later. Maybe never. Because, in the end, your intentions don’t matter much.
What if you don’t think the other person is right — or justified — in feeling the way they do? It doesn’t matter. Because you’re not striving for agreement. You’re going for understanding.
What should I have said to Eleanor?
“I see you’re angry. You’ve been sitting here for 30 minutes and that’s got to be frustrating. And it’s not the first time. Also, I can see how it seems like I think being with a client gives me permission to be late. I’m sorry you had to sit here waiting for so long.”
All of that is true. Your job is to acknowledge their reality — which is critical to maintaining the relationship. As Ken described it to me: “If someone’s reality, as they see it, is negated, what motivation do they have to stay in the relationship?”
In the email back and forth I described earlier, instead of clarifying what you meant, consider writing something like: “I could see how my criticizing your performance — especially via email — feels obnoxious to you. How it sounds critical and maybe dismissive of your efforts in the meeting.”
I said this was simple but I didn’t say it was easy.
The hardest part is our emotional resistance. We’re so focused on our own challenges that it’s often hard to acknowledge the challenges of others. Especially if we are their challenge and they are ours. Especially when they lash out at us in anger. Especially when we feel misunderstood. In that moment, when we empathize with them and their criticism of our behavior, it almost feels like we’re betraying ourselves.
But we’re not. We’re just empathizing.
Here’s a trick to make it easier. While they’re getting angry at you, imagine, instead, that they’re angry at someone else. Then react as you would in that situation. Probably you’d listen and let them know you see how angry they are.
And if you never get to explain your intentions? What I have found in practice — and this surprised me — is that once I’ve expressed my understanding of the consequences, my need to justify my intentions dissipates.
That’s because the reason I’m explaining my intentions in the first place is to repair the relationship. But I’ve already accomplished that by empathizing with their experience. At that point, we’re both usually ready to move on.
And if you do still feel the need? You’ll still have the opportunity, once the other person feels seen, heard, and understood.
If we succeed in doing all this well, we’ll often find that, along with our relationships, something else gets better: our behavior.
After that last conversation with Eleanor — after really understanding the consequences of my lateness on her — somehow, someway, I’ve managed to be on time a lot more frequently.
When someone crosses over into Spirit, they lose their physical body. And with the loss of a physical body, goes the loss of a physical body voice box – the thing that creates the sound that comes out of your mouth.
Thus, those in Spirit can’t physically talk back to you, but many times, they can hear exactly what you are saying and want to communicate that with you either telepathically or through physical or non-physical signs sent through the veil.
They know you are sorry and they are too, they would like to acknowledge that they can hear you.
If they could, they would like to say out loud that they forgive you, but they physically can’t because they don’t have a voice box.
No one really stays mad once they cross over.
In fact, when someone dies with an unhealed relationship in their physical lives, one of their new main priorities as a Spirit is to figure out how to heal it, too, But this process of acclimating back to the other side and how to communicate there can take some time.
Think about it – no one likes to have conflict with someone they love – even if there was a misunderstanding. Everyone, in some way or another, wants to have resolution.
Everyone wants things to restore to peace, even if, in their physical life, they were too stubborn to be proactive about taking the steps needed to make that happen.
How many times in your life have you wanted to apologize for something, but didn’t, because you felt someone else should apologize to you first?
How many times have you wanted to heal a relationship with someone after a small fight that got out of hand, but figured they would be too mad at you to even listen to what you had to say, so you didn’t?
How many times have you wished to apologize for something, but were afraid of how the other person might react to that apology and you didn’t want to deal with the onslaught of words potentially coming at you, so you stopped yourself?
How many times have you wished to say, “Hey, it’s really not that big of a deal!”, but kept your distance until ‘they were ready to come forward’, instead?
We’ve all done one of these things at least once.
And we all have a variety of fears, concerns and reasonable explanations as to why we don’t apologize, say we’re sorry and ask for forgiveness and healing until it’s too late. We’re human.
We make mistakes while living that are not realized until one becomes Spirit.
The ‘too late’ of an apology can be the crossing-over of the person you wish to have healing with.
Thankfully there’s actually an improved opportunity for relationship healing once somebody becomes Spirit.
Why Dying Makes It Easier To Forgive
Vertical photo of waterfall with rainbow and brown stone on either side by Norbert Németh from Pexels
When someone dies and crosses over into the Divine Light (a place also known as Heaven), they immediately go through what is called a Life Review.
In short, a Life Review is a period of time and an experience where your Loved One has to look objectively at their life, the impacts of their actions on themselves and their relationships and understand the perspective of their own lives from all those that they Love.
During a Life Review, learn about your life from your soul’s learning perspective, but also from the perspective of every interaction you’ve ever had and how those interactions affected everyone you have ever known.
The Life Review can take a while, usually around 6 months to a year. Thus, if you know someone who has crossed and they visited you right away after their death and suddenly vanished – this could be where they are – in the life review classroom.
Some people in Spirit have shown it to me like a movie theater with Guides and Angels, where others have shown it as a conference room with a projector and a conference table to go over things. Either way, it’s a time for your Loved One to gain perspective on all their interactions in relationships. Kind of like a post-game review session.
Most of the time, when a loved one comes out of this review session, they have a whole new world view on everything . . . one that includes a new outlook on whatever the argument, misunderstanding or misdoing that was had between you and them.
Once through a Life Review, they usually see things from their perspective and your perspective. Most people don’t care anymore if you are mad, because they are able to see why you acted the way you acted and how you felt afterwards.
What matters to them is making it up to you in Spirit, and that is often what I see with deceased loved ones in readings, they want to work with you, to benefit your life and make up for any wrong-doing on their end. Usually through the form of unexpected gifts and abundance.
They often understand and want to explain or apologize in readings. Because they’re human too and have at some point, had the very same feelings you had.
After that, they don’t even need an apology formally, because they know that you have been wishing to apologize for a long time.
One of the most beautiful parts of transitioning over to Spirit is gaining this understanding of life, that of others perspectives, the issue then is getting through to the living their condolences.
To balance the weight of a relationship with someone who has transitioned, and you want to apologize, simply to offer forgiveness and lift the heaviness of emotion, read on for how –
At some point in your life, whether as a kid, teen, or young adult, you are going to do something stupid that makes your mom mad. Sometimes, a simple apology won’t work, and you need to work a little harder to earn your mother’s forgiveness. However, you can up your apology, be respectful, and be on your best behavior to help your mother get over whatever you did.
Making a Sincere Apology
- If you don’t know how to begin, say something like the following statement: “I am truly sorry that I upset you. I know I shouldn’t get into fights with George. I let my temper get the best of me, but I really want to do better. I hope you can forgive me.”
- Understand if she doesn’t want to listen to you. She may not be ready to hear what you have to say. Wait awhile, and ask again.
- For instance, don’t say, “But Tracy stayed out last week and didn’t get punished! Why are you mad at me and not her?” Bringing up the past incident will only stir up more feelings. Instead, say something like, “I know you’re angry, and I really shouldn’t have stayed out late. I’m truly sorry.”
- For example, instead of saying, “I didn’t stay out that late, and besides, it was only because I was trying to drop off my friend.” say something like “I know I stayed out too late, and I’m sorry. I’ll try to manage my time better next time by leaving the party earlier.”
- For example, if you broke something, try to fix it or replace it. If you yelled at your sister, be extra nice to her, and show her you care.
- You could write something like the following: “Dear Mom, I know you’re upset that I got into a fight with Jane. I know you want us to have the relationship that you never had with your sister, and I appreciate that. I love Jane to bits, even though she drives me crazy sometimes. I am the older one, and I should be more mature when she tries to annoy me on purpose. I understand that relationships take work, and you’re only trying to prepare me for the ones I have in the future, as well as help me to develop a strong, lasting relationship with Jane. I’ll try to keep the peace in the future; really, I will. I love you bunches, and I hope you can forgive me. Love, Joy.”
- For instance, if your mom says, “What were you thinking?” don’t say, “I don’t know, obviously I’m an idiot” in a sarcastic tone. Try something more along the lines of “I guess I wasn’t thinking very clearly. I’ll try to do better next time.”
- Your mom isn’t yelling at you because she dislikes you or hates you. She cares about you, and she doesn’t want you making bad choices which will have an impact on your future. She wants you to be safe and learn to be a better person. 
Maisie spilled soda on her friend’s borrowed dress. Aiden tweeted a photo when Tafweez tripped over his crush’s bag and landed in her lap. Tasha dropped her mom’s favorite plate — then responded by yelling at her mom because she was so upset at her mistake.
We all mess up. We’re human, and it’s not always easy to get along with everyone all the time. Sometimes we hurt people’s feelings without intending to. Sometimes, we’re deliberately mean and we feel bad afterward. So we apologize.
An apology tells someone that we’re sorry for the hurt we caused — even if we didn’t do it on purpose. It’s a way of saying we’re aware of what we did and we’ll try to do better in future.
Apologies are one of the tools we use to build good friendships and relationships. When you say “I’m sorry” (and really mean it), it’s because you probably feel bad that something you did or said hurt another person. Saying you’re sorry is more than just words. You’re also saying that you respect the other person and you care about his or her feelings. Apologizing shows you have empathy.
After apologizing, you might feel a little better. The other person probably will, too. When you apologize in a caring way, you can feel good because you are trying to make things right again.
What Does an Apology Sound Like?
There are many ways to apologize. Here are some examples:
- “I’m sorry about the mean thing I said to you.”
- “I’m sorry I lost your book.”
- “I was mad, but I shouldn’t have called you a name. I’m sorry.”
- “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings.”
- “I’m sorry I yelled at you.”
- “I’m really sorry I pushed you when I was mad. That was wrong. I won’t do it anymore.”
When Should You Apologize?
If someone is upset because of something you did, you’ll want to set things right. Here are some times when an apology can make the difference:
- If you hurt or tease someone, even if you didn’t mean it.
- If you lose or break something that belonged to someone else.
- If you did something you knew was wrong — like telling a lie or breaking a rule on purpose.
- If you didn’t do something you were supposed to do — like keeping a promise or a curfew.
Everyone needs to apologize (even adults) when they do something wrong. By doing the right thing and saying “I’m sorry,” parents and other adults set an example. This is how kids learn to apologize when they need to.
Does Apologizing Fix Everything?
Sometimes a heartfelt “I’m sorry” fixes everything right away. Other times, it might take a while for someone to get past feeling upset. You may need to give the other person some time. Even after you say you’re sorry, you might still feel bad about what you said or did — but you can feel good about apologizing, fixing the mistake, or making up your mind to do better.
What If You’ve Been Hurt?
When someone apologizes to you, you may welcome it and be ready to forgive whatever happened and move on. Or you might not feel like being friendly again right away. If a person keeps hurting you and apologizing without making an effort to change, you might not want to hang out with that person anymore.
Just because someone apologizes doesn’t mean you have to be friends. It’s polite to accept and acknowledge an apology, but anything more is up to you!
You won’t be able to avoid the times when your girlfriend gets angry at you. But no matter how trivial or shallow the source of her anger may be, you have to man up and apologize if you still want to be with her.
Here are some sweet, emotional, and borderline sappy things you might want to say when she’s angry at you.
1. You are still my favorite chapter that I keep on re-reading night after night until my eyes are red with tears and my heart hurts from the memory of your lost touch.
2. I’m sorry I didn’t reply to your text and I ignored you. I’m sorry that I don’t know how to handle you being mad at me. I’m sorry that I made you feel insignificant. I’m so sorry. Just tell me what to do to make you stay and I’ll do it in a heartbeat.
3. Whenever you’re mad at me, it feels like my heart is getting ripped out of my chest. I can’t think or function or do anything until I know what I need to do to make you not mad at me.
4. You’re the best part of my day, and I can’t bear the thought that you’re angry at me. Tell me what I need to do to make it better.
5. I’m so tired of loving you in my sleep and waking up alone.
6. Knowing that I can’t give you everything you deserve is tearing me apart. Whatever it is that I did, I’m so sorry. Please let me make it up to you.
7. It’s hard to wake up, get up, and get through the day with the thought that I’ve done something to hurt you. I’m losing my mind trying to piece us back together. Please let me know what I need to do to get you back.
8. You deserve someone who knows exactly how to make up with you after making you feel bad. I may not be that person yet, but I just want you to know that I’m trying to be.
9. I don’t know what to do with myself when I know you’re mad at me. I don’t think my heart has ever hurt this bad in my entire life. I’m sorry for what I did, and I promise to make it up to you.
10. I’m sorry I’m so difficult. I’m trying not to be. It may take a while, but I just want you to know that I’m doing my best.
11. What can I do to make you trust me again? I know that I’ve broken your trust by hurting you, but I swear that I’ll use every ounce of energy I have to earn your trust again.
12. Your anger breaks my heart like you’ll never know. But I just want you to know that I love you with every piece of my broken heart.
13. I know that I can sometimes be distant. I know that I don’t always reply immediately to your texts. And I know that these are the two things you don’t like about me. But I promise I’ll change for you if only you’d take me back.
14. I know I’ve let you down again, and I’m sorry. I’m trying to pick up the pieces just so you’d take me back.
15. This is me swallowing my pride and saying sorry for what I did last night because my pride is worth nothing next to you.
16. I know that the word “sorry” starts to lose its meaning when I say it too often. But I want this to be the last time I apologize because I want this to be the last time I’ll ever hurt you.
17. For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness. So how about getting some of that happiness back by making up with me. Please?
18. I think one of the reasons I can’t seem to do anything right is because you’re so perfect and I’m too scared to do anything that might drive you away. But god knows I’m trying to be the right guy for you.
19. You are my life, my everything. And knowing that you’re slipping away because I’ve managed to make you angry is the worst feeling in the world. Please, please, please take me back. Because I can’t live another minute knowing you’re not mine.
20. Your presence leaves me breathless, but your absence takes the wind out of me. Come back, please.
Good luck with your girlfriend, and we hope these messages are able to get her to come around!
Q: How can I apologize to my boss when I’ve overslept, missed an important task, or made a big mistake in my work?
Dear Oops I Did it Again,
Alright, so you screwed up and missed a deadline, blew a presentation, or otherwise dropped the ball at work. It happens to us all, but if you take accountability and learn from the mistake, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world.
Granted, apologies can be difficult. But when presented sincerely and in well thought-out fashion? You may be surprised at how quickly you can transform a negative experience into a teachable moment that builds teamwork and trust amongst all parties involved.
First, a few ground rules to note:
- Apologizing is not a sign of weakness on the job.
- Taking responsibility can be a way to demonstrate strength – and that you’re aware of an error, are taking steps to fix it, and remain both capable and in control of any situation.
- Over-apologizing for minor hiccups (i.e. showing up two minutes late for a meeting, or forgetting to drop your coffee mug in the dishwasher) is unnecessary when a simple “I’m sorry” will suffice.
- Frequent, extraneous apologies can create the appearance of being insecure.
That said, some common scenarios in which apologies are warranted include:
- Neglecting to perform an assigned task.
- Failing to provide insights, feedback, or deliverables by assigned deadlines.
- Delivering work product that is not up to specifications and standards.
- Snapping at or otherwise speaking out of turn to a coworker.
- Undertaking actions that inconvenience employers or potential employers, e.g. you accidentally sleep through an interview or flub a new business pitch.
- Providing incorrect or insufficient information to colleagues or clients.
- Inadequately preparing for workplace scenarios and situations.
Each apology you make should be unique, and must take into account both the context of the error and perspectives of all parties involved in the gaffe. However, saying “I’m sorry” on the job doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems if you acknowledge your mistakes and exercise a little more thoughtfulness in terms of next steps.
There are some simple rules you can follow for making each expression of remorsefulness count:
- Take time to stop and think. If it’s a large error you’ve made, or important transgression, give yourself and others time to calm down, process the situation, and consider an appropriate response.
- Don’t let issues fester. Apologize as soon as possible (preferably immediately following the hiccup if it’s a minor transgression) so as not to give others time to jump to conclusions or misread your intent.
- Accept responsibility for your mistakes. Restate the issue, claim ownership of the mishap, and make it clear that you understand what went wrong, so as not to give the impression of insincerity.
- Validate others’ feelings. You may disagree with these opinions, but it’s important to respect their positions, which will promote understanding and empathy while minimizing conflict.
- Don’t make excuses. Avoid using words like “but,” “however,” or “if”—take blame, acknowledge the shortcoming you’ve engaged in, and explain why you agree that it was wrong.
- State how you’ll fix the problem. Make it clear why the concern won’t arise again, and the specific steps you’re taking to correct it, whether this means checking in with supervisors more frequently or seeking regular feedback from peers. Then follow through promptly on these action steps.
- Be considerate when making contact. Big and/or sensitive mistakes should be discussed and dealt with face-to-face; lesser offenses might be handled via a hybrid method, including an emailed apology note with an offer to meet and discuss issues in-person if they’d like to chat further. A sample email template that can help is as follows:
Hope you’re doing well. I just wanted to take a minute and apologize for forwarding the most recent draft of our research to the client before you’d weighed in. I thought I was being proactive, but I realize that I should have checked with you first. I apologize sincerely, and I’ve instituted an online approvals and review process with our communications and IR teams so that it won’t happen again. Is there anything else I can do to help get things back on track? I’d be happy to discuss at your convenience.
Ultimately, the best way to handle a mistake is to promptly and positively address it, learn from the scenario, and move on. Apologizing can be an uncomfortable process, but the more you lean into it, the easier it becomes.
Scott Steinberg is the author of The Business Etiquette Bible. Find more of his work advice here.
Did just have a horrible fight with your boyfriend and you don’t know how to apologize to your boyfriend?
For some people, it’s like pulling teeth to admit they were in the wrong and it’s even harder for them to apologize.
If you’re one of those types of people, then I’d like to offer you some help whether he’s mad at you or he broke up with you.
Here are some things you can do to help your boyfriend forgive and forget.
Picking a Time
Choose the appropriate time to apologize. Do not apologize to him if he is in a bad mood or in a busy situation. Make sure he is calm and at ease at first or find a quiet time for the both of you. Picking the right time to apologize to your boyfriend is very important.
The most important thing is that you have his full attention and that he isn’t in an overly bad mood.
Wait for the right time. Don’t try to force this, or else it could just go very badly, and just result in an argument that gets out of hand.
When apologizing, be sincere and show remorse to what you did. When apologizing, look him at the eye and show sincerity.
Show that you really are sorry because he’ll know if you really mean it or if you’re just trying to smooth everything over without actually feeling genuine regret.
Make sure that you actually feel sorry because guys can tell when you’re just saying something to pacify him or when you are being authentic.
Short and Sweet
Keep your apology short and do not over explain. A simple “I’m sorry” is enough and a short explanation afterward. Apologize to your boyfriend the short way because if you over explain it will likely seem like you are lying and being insincere.
Say that you’re sorry, know exactly what you’re sorry for, and then leave it at that. Don’t back peddle or berate yourself. Just keep it to the point.
This is great whether you’re trying to stop a breakup or get back together too.
A Token of Apology
Give him a gift that he really appreciates or do something nice for him. Give him a gift that will really help him see that you are sorry.
A small token of affection like making a homemade card, getting him tickets to his favorite sports team, or surprise him by cooking a special dinner should do nicely.
This act is maybe a bit on the sneaky side, but by doing something nice for him, he’ll feel compelled to reciprocate for the favor by accepting your apology.
This is a tip from Robert Cialdini who is an expert on influence and psychology. There was this example in a book I read about this guy who bought a can of soda for people in a study. Then later on, he asked them to buy a raffle ticket from him. The fact that he gave them a soda, increased the chances that they would buy a raffle ticket from him.
(Sneaky, but effective!)
Be prepared for the negative reaction when you are apologizing to your boyfriend.
Not all apologies are taken the good way. Your boyfriend might still be angry even though he told you he accepted your apology.
Be ready for whatever negative reaction he’ll do. Do not take it to heart and remember that this is normal. Just wait for a while because he will calm down especially if he sees that you are sincere with your apology.
Sometimes just giving it a little time after you apologize will be all you need for things to blow over.
Acceptance is Essential
Accept whatever the consequences for the mistake you made.
So you made a mistake and now you apologized for it, it’s time for you to accept whatever consequences you’ll get.
Did you scratch his car and now you have to pay for it? Do it then and do it with a smile on your face.
It may be hard but it can show him that you are sincere to your apology. Keep in mind that just because you apologized to your boyfriend, it doesn’t mean he will forgive you, just be prepared for whatever may happen (even if you already made amends). You may still have to work to get him back.
Apologizing to your boyfriend is not easy. Make sure that whatever you do, you are doing it from the bottom of you heart. You will have have to get over the uncomfortable threshold of admitting fault if you want to apologize to your boyfriend.
Also keep in mind once you guys have made up, leave the past in the past, don’t bring up old mistakes. Getting through these tough times together will help make your relationship stronger.
You know you’re not perfect. Still, it can be hard to admit it when you mess up. You worry that once you confess your mistake, the other person will be angry, refuse to forgive you, or lose trust in you. Problem is, it feels lousy to shirk responsibility for your errors — you skulk around the office, praying that your boss doesn’t discover that you botched that report, or you become riddled with guilt over forgetting a close friend’s birthday. What you need are ways to say “I blew it” that will leave you — and the person you’ve wronged or let down — feeling able to move forward. Follow the guidelines here and you’ll be able to walk away from any bungled situation knowing you did something very right.
Coming Clean to a Pal
Somehow you offended your friend. You forgot to call her when she was home with the flu for a week, or didn’t invite her and her husband to one of your recent dinner parties. Since then, she has been mysteriously unavailable for coffee or your traditional long, gossipy phone calls. You miss her, but your pride is making it hard to say, “Sorry.” After all, you rationalize, she hasn’t been a perfect buddy either. Here’s how to get past the impasse.
STEP 1: Realize you have nothing to lose.
If all goes well when you speak with her, you’ll get your friendship back on course. If the conversation doesn’t go as planned, well — the relationship hasn’t been great lately anyway, notes Marla Paul, author of The Friendship Crisis: Finding, Making and Keeping Friends When You’re Not a Kid Anymore. Either way, “It will feel really good to apologize for something you’ve been feeling guilty about,” Paul says.
STEP 2: Acknowledge that you have not been — and never will be — perfect.
Start by saying, “I know we haven’t been as close as we used to be, and I feel bad about that.” Then let her know that you’re aware of how you’ve let her down, as in, “I’m truly sorry that I didn’t come to your birthday dinner. I should have been there.” End with, “I’m hoping we can be close again. I’ll be a better friend. Not perfect but better.” Having this conversation in person is best, because there’s nothing like seeing someone’s face so you can observe how she’s reacting to your words. (Plus, there’s the potential for a hug afterward.) But, says Paul, if it feels “too raw or scary” to do that, there’s no shame in writing your feelings in a note.
Your friend might react warmly right away, or it could take her a few weeks to come around. And if she doesn’t? Perhaps you need to find someone else to have coffee with.
Coming Clean to Your Boss
Maybe you forgot to complete a key part of an important project, or to submit a crucial report on time. ‘Fessing up to your boss is the honorable — and smart — thing to do. If she finds out what went down from someone else, she’ll view you as irresponsible and untrustworthy. So, to break the news.
STEP 1: Remember your strengths.
If your first reaction is to ask yourself, “How could I be so friggin’ stupid?!” — stop. The more stressed you are, the tougher it will be for you to think and express yourself clearly. Instead of filling your head with self-criticisms, remind yourself that you’re a capable, responsible adult and that everyone makes mistakes, says career coach Robert J. Farrell. You can deal with this. Then prove it to yourself by taking time to think about how you can fix the snafu. (Is there a coworker who can help you wrap up the project if you agree to help on his? Can you work overtime to bring in an extra client?)
STEP 2: Be positive, then get to the negative stuff, then be positive again.
Once you’re calmer, ask your boss for a few minutes of her time. Begin with a remark that ties you to the company in a good light, such as, “I’m really excited about the projects I’m working on these days.” Next, while looking your boss in the eye (no acting like you have anything to hide or be ashamed of), add: “I made a mistake, however. Here’s what happened.” After you relate the facts, say, “I apologize for this.” Then, offer a solution you’ve thought of, or say, “Although I can’t fix this at the moment, I can do X extra work to make amends.”
Note: Do not indulge in emotional character analysis (“I feel so awful; I can’t believe I was this careless”), Farrell says; you want to move the conversation beyond your moment of weakness or bad judgment, not harp on it. Besides, your boss is now annoyed because she has a problem to deal with, and you don’t want to put her in the position of consoling you.
STEP 3: Graciously accept her reaction — whatever it is.
If she reassures you that she still has faith in you, thank her, of course. If she yells or puts her head in her hands and moans, you’re best off saying as little as possible. You’ve said all that you can in your defense, so rather than annoy her by yammering on, leave her alone to mull over solutions to the problem. Just say: “I understand. Again, I’m sorry.” Keep working hard, and in a couple of days she might say, “Listen, I overreacted. I like your idea for fixing things.” A smart boss regards mistakes as part of the learning curve for every employee and values those who are determined to find a way to bounce back. Be one of the bouncers.
The question is not what should we do if we make a mistake, but when we make a mistake. Mistakes are normal, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore the issue. Here are 7 things to do to restore your life and relationships when you realize you’ve made a mistake.
1. Own It
No one likes to be wrong or to make a mistake. The experience is uncomfortable and wounds our pride. Pride often leads to denial, pretending it didn’t happen, making excuses, or avoiding the situation which resulted from our mistake.
If we are to respond appropriately to our mistakes, the first thing we must do is accept responsibility. We are responsible for our actions, no matter the intention behind them.
When I was in high school, I worked at a fast-food restaurant. As would occasionally happen, I wrung up a promotion incorrectly. The person was livid with me for the overcharge that resulted. While their response to my mistake was excessive, I had to make a decision. I could either blame it on the customer, proclaiming they weren’t clear with their order, or I could admit that I indeed made a mistake.
The above is a simple example, but depending on when and how the mistake occurs, you may have only a moment to determine your response before being confronted. Had I chosen denial at that moment, the problem could have escalated quickly and resulted in consequences beyond correcting the charge on the cash register.
Admitting we are responsible for making a mistake is crucial in our response to making a mistake.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/tommaso79
2. Confess it to God.
Part of realizing you’ve made a mistake is taking steps to restore the relationships damaged by that mistake. The very first relationship you should restore is with God. He knows you will make mistakes, but there is nothing you can do to make Him love you any less or any more than He always has. No matter the mistake, He offers you forgiveness every single time through Jesus Christ.
I find doing this step before taking any other provides peace, clarity, and strength for what comes next. Even if the mistake is small and not the result of sin, coming to Him first invites Him into your life and strengthens the relationship you have with Him. It allows Him to work within you to identify other hidden problems that even a small mistake might expose. I know there have been times when I’ve made a mistake but did not feel sincere regret for making that mistake. Usually, that is a sign that I’ve got something to work on with God.
I encourage you to have a conversation with God. Confess your mistake, ask for help in repenting sincerely, and seek wisdom on how to move forward.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Sigital Skillet
3. Confess it to the person or people who the mistake affected.
While it may seem easy for you to confess your mistake to God and then sweep everything under the rug, you are called to seek restoration with those affected. This means humbling yourself, going before that person—face-to-face, if possible—and confessing your mistake to them without making excuses. That second part is the hardest part for me. Whenever I make a mistake that requires me to go before someone else to confess, I want to save face and explain why it happened and make excuses. However, even in our confession to others, we need to accept responsibility for the mistake.
“A person’s pride will humble him, but a humble spirit will gain honor.” (Proverbs 29:23)
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/g-stockstudio
Restoring your relationship with the person affected by your mistake doesn’t end at a confession. Without an apology, a confession will fall flat and fail to achieve its goal.
When my children apologize for something, they are not allowed just to say, “I’m sorry.” We require our children to say, “I’m sorry for (action). It was wrong because (ownership in the problem/consequences of the mistake). In the future, I will (plan of restoration). Will you forgive me?” You may not need to use that exact phraseology in your apology, but the structure helps to bring a sense of genuine repentance. Hopefully, your apology is genuine.
However, there are times when an apology is required before you have had time to reach that point of true repentance. These are the times when you apologize anyway. Ask my boys. They’ve done this many times. When apologizing before your heart is truly ready, check your tone and body language as you deliver the apology, and then continue to work through your attitude with God’s help afterward.
Photo Credit: © Sparrowstock
5. Seek restoration.
Did you notice the second to last sentence of the apologies my boys give? “I will (plan of restoration). If possible, you need to correct your mistake or make a plan on how not to make that mistake in the future.
One morning while driving to my high school, I made the mistake of taking my eyes off the road during a curve. I ran over and demolished someone’s trash can. Praise the Lord that is all the damage that occurred, but I left a note for the still sleeping resident with my phone number. I made my apologies, replaced the can, and even though I did not know them, was a witness to Christ through my response. When I confessed what happened to my parents, I made the restoration plan of not adjusting the radio while driving.
I always find that people are more receptive to your apology if it includes a plan on how to make things right as best you can.
However, there are times when this is not possible. A teen in our area made the unfortunate decision to drag race, resulting in the death of three people. There was nothing he could do to bring those people back to their family. In situations where restoration is not possible, you will need to walk through the process with God. Take the mistake you made, the lesson you learned, and turn it into a service for those in the community. I don’t know what happened to that young man beyond the trial, but he has an opportunity to take what he has learned and to share his story with other teens as a cautionary tale.
Restoration may not always be possible or look like we think it should, but it is important to make every attempt possible to correct your mistake.
Everyone makes mistakes, and some may affect your partner. Admitting that you were wrong and apologizing for it seems simple enough. Although a sincere apology can serve as healing balm for a bruised relationship, an insincere apology can inflict harm, says psychologist Aaron Lazare in the Psychology Today article “Go Ahead, Say You’re Sorry.” Make the effort to give your partner a heartfelt, appropriate apology when you’re wrong.
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1 Haste Makes Waste
You want to make things right with your partner. That’s good, but don’t initiate an apology without giving your partner some time to get over the hurt, recommends psychologist John Grohol in the Psych Central article, “How to Make an Adept, Sincere Apology.” Give your partner one or two days to regain emotional equilibrium following an offending incident. Use this time to take an empathetic look at what you did and the effect your behavior had on your partner. Based on this experience, think about what you should include in your apology.
2 Be There
Apologize in person, suggests the article, “The Perfect Apology.” Be specific about what you are apologizing for and carefully omit phrases that suggest that your partner shares some of the blame, such as, “I’m sorry if you misinterpreted what I said.” Be clear that you assume responsibility for your mistake, and address your understanding of how your mistake has hurt your partner. Express regret for hurting your partner and remorse for making a bad decision.
3 Say What You Mean, and Mean What You Say
After submitting your sincere apology, ask your partner what you can do to further atone for your blunder, and then do it with a smile. Your partner may or may not accept your apology; do not pressure your partner to do so. A surprise such as dinner at your partner’s favorite restaurant or movie tickets may not hurt, but gifts are never a substitute for a heartfelt apology.
4 Good Medicine
A lovingly executed apology is a wise investment in your relationship. It repairs the damage inflicted by your mistake, rejuvenates your relationship and enhances the level of trust with your partner. Apologizing doesn’t signal weakness, notes Aaron Lazare. Don’t let your pride and fear of shame prevent you from embarking on an opportunity to strengthen your relationship. You demonstrate strength and a commitment to the relationship when you acknowledge your mistakes.
The perfect apology consists of six distinct components. Master them and learn how to repair mistakes before they turn into conflicts.
“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Is there any more worthless a platitude? When you’re in a relationship, especially for any significant period of time, you are going to have to say sorry for something. But do you know how to apologize effectively? There are different grades of apology: There’s the “Oh, sorry,” apology you cast off when you just want someone off your back. There’s the blunt “I’m sorry, okay?” when you sort of mean it (but not really). We all do those — and there’s a time and place for it — but being on a receiving end of a non-apology apology sucks. When you really, truly need to apologize for something you’ve done, something that has wronged or insulted or hurt your partner, you need to understand the components of a true apology.
So what makes for a good apology? You have to mean it, sure. But, per Roy Lewicki, professor emeritus of management and human resources at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, there’s a narrative structure that every good apology should follow. An expert on negotiation, Lewicki spent years researching what makes an apology. Like any narrative, he realized, it must stick to a certain structure. As such, he’s broken it down the perfect apology into six components:
- Expression of regret
- Explanation of what went wrong
- Acknowledgement of responsibility
- Declaration of repentance
- Offer of repair
- Request for forgiveness
Understanding these six steps will allow you craft an apology that really, truly means something. It sounds a little complex, but Lewicki explains that, when followed properly, these six steps are not only very simple, but also quite effective. We asked Lewicki to break down each one and explain how and why they work so well.
How to Apologize: The 6 Elements of a Good Apology
1. Expression of Regret
To start, you simply must tell the other person that you’re sorry for what you did. It’s important that you get this part right, because it will set the tone for everything that follows. Tone is crucial. If you sound insincere, sarcastic, or at all annoyed, then whatever else you have to say will ring hollow.
“What this does from the speaker’s point of view is try to express how sorry they are for the offense,” Lewicki explains. “This is where tone can make a difference. You can say, ‘I’m really genuinely sorry,’ and communicate some emotionality in that. Or you can be sarcastic and say, ‘I’m sorry, did I offend you?’ and totally diminish the content of your apology.”
2. Explanation of What Went Wrong
Here is where you have a chance to explain your thinking and let your spouse or partner know that there was a reason behind the mistake that you made. This can go a long way toward letting your spouse see the intention behind your actions and perhaps change their perspective on why they’re upset. If they think you did something wrong because you’re thoughtless or don’t care, but then hear your actual reasoning behind your error, it can soften them up a lot.
“It’s trying to help the other party understand how this happened in a way where they can understand that it was a mistake or an error,” says Lewicki. “It’s an effort to put them in your shoes to get a sense of how and why it happened.”
3. Acknowledgement of Responsibility
This is a hard one for some people to do, because it requires them to step out from behind their own ego and defensiveness and simply fall on the sword. If you did something wrong, you just have to own it. This is key, as it can signal to your partner that you’re aware of your actions and that you accept your role in it. A non-apology or shifting of the blame will only make things worse here. “This is saying, ‘I was wrong when I did that and I accept responsibility for my actions,’ ” says Lewicki. “As opposed to saying something like, ‘the Devil made me do it,’ or some other effort to put the blame on somebody else for what happened.”
4. Declaration of Repentance
Here’s where sincerity really comes into play. You have to step up and promise that, whatever happened will never happen again. It’s a promise to not repeat your actions.
“In the second study we did that turned out to be the most important element. It’s saying, ‘I regret this happened. I’ve learned my lesson,’” says Lewicki. “But if you make that promise, then you have to not do it again. Kids are notorious for this. They promise they won’t do X and then 10 minutes later they do it again. If you do that, [subsequent apologies] lose credibility.”
5. Offer of Repair
So you’ve said that you’re sorry, but what are you going to do to make it right? How will you move forward from here? Letting your spouse know that you’re not just sorry in the moment, but that you’ve established a plan to go forward and fix things in the long term will make the apology go down a lot easier.
“If there were actual damages you can offer to pay for or repair the damages, or if there were [emotional] damages, then a dozen roses, or a box of chocolates might do the work,” says Lewicki. “I’m serious about that. Token offers of repentance that are above and beyond just the words are quite often quite symbolic.”
6. Request for Forgiveness
Interestingly, Lewicki’s research marked this as the least important element in the apology. Provided you nailed the other five, this one should just be a formality.
“Here’s where the severity of the violation comes in,” says Lewicki. “I mean, if you promised to bring home a pizza for dinner and forgot, that’s different than if the spouse finds that you’ve been seeing another woman. But if the violation is correctable and the violator shows real intent in not repeating, then it’s much more likely to rebuild fundamental trust, but it’s going to take time. It doesn’t spring back immediately.”
A genuine, heartfelt apology is a powerful step toward mending hurt feelings and finding a resolution. A half-assed apology, on the other hand, can be worse than none at all.
The difference between a sincere apology and cheap one has a lot to do with how it’s phrased. Word to the wise: If you say “sorry” and then immediately follow it with a conditional word like “but” or “if,” you’re headed in the wrong direction.
We asked therapists to share the phrases you should avoid when trying to apologize to a friend, family member, significant other or pretty much anyone, for that matter. Here’s what they had to say.
1. “I’m sorry you feel that way.”
“Even though this phrase begins with the words, ‘I’m sorry,’ it is not a real apology. It does not take ownership of any wrongdoing. It does not communicate remorse for your actions, and it does not express any empathy towards the other person’s feelings. Instead, it may imply that you think the other person is being irrational or overly sensitive. Try to understand and take responsibility for how your actions or words hurt the other person, saying something like, ‘I’m sorry that I canceled our plans at the last minute. It was inconsiderate of your time and I understand why you are angry at me.’” ― Gina Delucca, clinical psychologist at Wellspace SF
2. “I’m sorry I said that, but I never would have if you hadn’t behaved the way you did.”
“Again, we are hearing blame. ‘Look what you made me do.’ This is not an apology for one’s behavior but actually a maneuver to hold the other person responsible for one’s behavior. In other words, ‘You caused me to say this to you.’ We are all responsible for our behavior, no matter what the other person says or does. A heartfelt apology is to recognize the pain we cause and own our behavior: ‘I’m sorry that I reacted the way I did and upset you.’” ― Carol A. Lambert, psychotherapist and author of Women with Controlling Partners
3. “I was stressed out!” (or tired. or hungry. )
“This makes a recurrence of the offense almost inevitable. Always connect the apology to the future. For example, ‘The next time I feel that way (whatever triggered the offense), I will remember that I love you and that our bond is so important to me,’ or, ‘I’ll make sure I get centered in my values so I don’t act on impulse.’ The subtext should always be: ‘I’m sorry that I hurt you and harmed the bond between us.’” ― Steven Stosny, psychologist and author of Love Without Hurt
4. “I said I’m sorry already, why can’t you just let it go?”
“Blaming your partner for not immediately accepting your apology, forgiving you and moving on is unrealistic and unfair. For an apology to be effective, it must be clear that: 1) You accept full responsibility for your actions and inactions; 2) You are sincerely sorry for anything you’ve done to cause pain and 3) That you want to remedy the situation by giving your partner what they need to feel safe in order to move on and forgive you. Not all apologies lead to immediate forgiveness. It may take time. And it may take apologizing more than once. Start by asking what your partner needs in order to trust you and feel safe and then do it.” ― Sheri Meyers, marriage and family therapist and author of Chatting or Cheating: How to Detect Infidelity, Rebuild Love and Affair-Proof Your Relationship
5. “I was reacting to. ”
“This is an excuse, not an apology.” ― Stosny
6. “I’m sorry if I offended you.”
“This is an example of a conditional apology that doesn’t truly acknowledge any remorse or personal responsibility. By using the word ‘if,’ you are communicating that the problem isn’t really about what you did, but is about how the person reacted to what you did instead. Essentially, this type of ‘non-apology’ places the blame back onto the person it’s directed at. Simply remove the word ‘if,’ and your apology can take on a whole new meaning: ‘I’m sorry I offended you. I will make sure to be more considerate and careful with my words in the future.’” ― Tara Griffith, marriage and family therapist and the founder of Wellspace SF
7. “I may have done this, but you did that!”
“Try to avoid keeping score and bringing up times when the other person was in the wrong. An apology is about you acknowledging the wrongfulness of your own actions and making amends; it is not about pointing fingers at other people as a way to justify your actions.” ― Delucca
No one likes to have a friend mad about something that happened in the past. I try to make amends when I can, but have finally learned that I can’t please everyone. You may not be able to get someone to forget a thing of the past, but it is possible to receive forgiveness for whatever it was. The 8 ways to get someone to forgive you that I have listed below might prove to be useful someday. Take a look and see what you think.
8 Ask with Sincerity
Sometimes all it takes is a bit of asking. People can be funny about how they go about forgiving someone. Most will offer forgiveness on their own, but there actually are people who have to be asked to forgive a person. This could mean that the process might take a long time if the person wanting forgiveness isn’t aware he/she has to ask for it.
7 Show Them Utter Kindness
A little bit of kindness goes a long way. Being nice to someone who is mad at you will usually make them realize you are truly a nice person and they will wonder why they were mad at you in the first place. Sometimes a nice gesture will soften hearts enough to dissolve all anger and forgiveness is sort of a given. Many friendships and serious relationships are patched this way.
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6 Earn Their Forgiveness
Demanding forgiveness only drives people further away. Depending on what happened, it might take time for you to earn forgiveness. There are some things that people just aren’t willing to forgive. Earning forgiveness requires a lot of hard work on your part. You basically have to prove yourself to whomever is angry with you. It will be up to you to show this person that you are worthy of being forgiven.
5 Write a Letter
Words often come across clearer when they are written down. I know I fumble for words at times when I’m conversing with someone. Writing a letter allows me to see my thoughts before the other person gets a chance to. I can retract a statement or reword it to make its meaning less vague. Offering an explanation for your actions in a letter might be just the thing for helping a loved one see exactly where you were coming from.
4 Remain Calm
Getting angry with someone who won’t forgive you right away won’t make matters easier. If you remain calm, then you will also help the other person become less agitated and more reasonable. Once everyone is talking in a lower decibel, it will be simpler to discuss the issue like to rational adults. A heated discussion very rarely ends up with forgiveness being given.
3 Allow the Person Time to Simmer down
People with short fuses will need some time to cool off before the thought of offering forgiveness ever crosses their mind. The length of time needed for this defusing session will vary with each person. Some people are over their anger in a few minutes, while others take days, weeks, or even months. If you are dealing with an individual who likes to hold grudges, then the cooling down time could be infinite.
2 Be Willing to Admit Your Mistakes
Being the bigger person is sometimes your job. If you aren’t willing to admit when you are wrong, then how can you expect others to forgive you when they are in the wrong? By admitting to your flaws you are setting a good example for others. Be humble and take the heat when you are the one who caused it.
1 Have a Long Talk Together
Discussions and open communication can do wonders for solving problems. Being able to talk about a situation that occurred or an issue at hand makes it easier for both parties. Talk to the person you wish forgiveness from and see if you both can figure out what went wrong. There could easily be a slight misunderstanding that can be worked out in no time at all.
I hope some of these 8 ways to get someone to forgive you are beneficial to you. It’s hard having people upset with you and extremely difficult when you don’t know why. Do you feel that forgiveness is necessary or that past situations should simply be forgotten after a long period of time has passed? What methods have you used to ask for forgiveness from a friend or a loved one?
In the span of five days, Saturday Night Live hired and fired comedian Shane Gillis after his use of sexist, homophobic, racist language— including comments that incorporated racial slurs and mocking a Chinese accent—all came to light on social media . In an initial statement, Gillis sort of tried to apologize. “I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries,” he wrote on Twitter . “I sometimes miss . My intention is never to hurt anyone but I am trying to be the best comedian I can be and sometimes that requires risks.”
After facing further criticism, and his eventual firing, Gillis doubled-down on his non-apology. “It feels ridiculous for comedians to be making public statements but here we are. I’m a comedian who was funny enough to get SNL. That can’t be taken away.” While some people, including Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang , have accepted Gillis’ statement, sometimes, a bad apology warrants correction.
When you receive a shitty apology from someone, whether it be for a small accident or the use of inappropriate language justified as “comedy,” it’s important to make your point clear—and realize that not everyone is deserving of forgiveness.
How to Apologize So People Forgive You
The best apologies come from a place of true self-reflection and understanding. You did something…
Point out the flaw in their apology
If you’ve just received an apology, and still believe that your feelings haven’t been heard or acknowledged, let the person know exactly why you feel unresolved. Perhaps you felt like they qualified the apology (“I’m sorry, but..”) or that it felt mostly insincere (“I’m sorry that you felt this way”). If you hear any language like this—or a flimsy excuse for their behavior (“I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries”)—calmly state why their apology feels unsatisfactory and reiterate your point.
Have up to 20 hours of battery life and can be used in multiple different listening modes to make you as aware as you want to be of your surroundings.
A genuine apology should feel straightforward and express that person’s responsibility for their actions and a commitment not to make the same mistake in the future. (“I fucked up” is a good start.) And be careful to listen for an explanation that doesn’t absolve them of responsibility. “I always explain when I apologize, how else is my apology supposed to be genuine?” one user on a recent Reddit thread writes. “I want you to understand why I did what I did, what led me to it, and why/how I understand that I was wrong. Intent matters with mistakes.”
You should never experience any doubt about its authenticity, either. Their tone during an apology should convey its sincerity; if it feels robotic, it’s probably not the apology you want. If it feels remorseful and expresses regret, perhaps it’s genuine, but only you can be the judge of that.
Allow them an opportunity to apologize again
Perhaps the person who owes you an apology wasn’t aware of how they hurt or offended you or they didn’t hear everything you expressed. Once you’ve reiterated your point, you’ll have to afford them the chance to actually apologize (and perhaps, better understand how and why you feel unresolved). Of course, some mistakes shouldn’t be that hard for a person to understand (ie. racist jokes), but if someone genuinely seems clueless about what they did wrong, give them a chance to learn, if you’re feeling generous.
On the flip side , keep in mind that you should also be provided time to consider forgiving them; it doesn’t always happen overnight or within a single phone call, so don’t allow someone to pressure you to resolve a dispute immediately.
How to Stop Writing 'I'm Sorry' So Often in Emails
Last week, I sent an email in which “Sorry about that!” was my automatic reply—I had forgotten…
You don’t have to forgive them
Let’s keep in mind one thing: Whether it’s a bad apology or a heartfelt, genuine one, you are not obliged to forgive anyone. If it’s a small accident, however, like a stranger bumped into you and spilled your coffee, a quick, sincere apology should suffice. “If someone goes through the trouble to actually, sincerely apologize, don’t be a douche about it forever and never forgive them,” u/elaphros writes . “Getting pissed off okay. Holding onto a grudge is not.” Forgiveness in this example should be immediate, or if they’re a total dick, a middle finger is effective, too.
On the other hand, you do not have to accept someone’s apology for a larger transgression, like a record of comedic jokes that use racial slurs or mock accents, for example. Y ou’re entitled to decide when something that bothers you crosses the line, particularly when you feel that a person’s apology stops short of real remorse (or that their history doesn’t provide enough evidence that they won’t make a similar mistake in the future). Does this mean they should be scorned from society forever? Probably not, but forgiveness should be earned. And it’s your decision when to give it.
Maybe you were just overly excited, or perhaps you took a funny joke or act too far. Whatever the case, you realize, in hindsight, that you might’ve been annoying to a friend, classmate or family member. Learn how to acknowledge your behavior and apologize in a way that resolves the situation without making things worse.
Apologize in person. A face-to-face apology is much more sincere and meaningful than an impersonal text or email. If you can’t physically be with the person to apologize, give them a call so that you can at least have a two way conversation about the issue and give the other person a chance to respond.
Arrange to have a chat with the person you’ve annoyed and save your apology for the time that works best for you both. The last thing you want to do after having just annoyed someone is pester them further about the issue, especially if they’re preoccupied, in a rush, or busy with something else. Keep it short and sweet, like, “Hey do you have a minute to talk after school? Ok, great! I’ll meet you at your locker.”
Write your apology before you deliver it. It will help you think about what, exactly, you are sorry for, and why. Writing it down can also help you find the right words to say. When you’re ready to deliver the apology, however, don’t read it straight off the paper — it can seem rehearsed, artificial or insincere.
Keep an even, calm temperament when you apologize. If you’re loud, overly energetic, full of excuses or too apologetic, you might make matters worse.
Be direct. Tell the person you’re apologizing to why you are apologizing. Say, for example, “I realize that I was a bit overbearing with my behavior earlier, and I want to apologize for that. I’m sorry I annoyed you. I was really excited and acted immaturely.”
Allow the other person to respond. If your friend wants to talk about why your actions bothered her, listen to her. Tell her that you understand and promise her it won’t happen again.
Do something nice for your friend as part of your apology. If, for example, you distracted her from studying for her test, offer to quiz her on the material to help her review for the exam as a way of making up for what you did.
No matter where you work or what you do, you’re eventually going to have to apologize to someone for something. That’s a fact of life. In a workplace filled with humans, you will invariably run into a variety of situations where feelings get hurt. As it’s not really feasible—or mature—to take a duck-and-cover approach when things get heated at the office, you need to be equipped with the right words to tactfully address less-than-comfortable situations.
In order for an apology to be effective, it needs to be done right. Experts agree that the best ones include acknowledgement and understanding of what happened and the damage done. You should also recognize your role, take responsibility for it, and communicate regret. What you should omit are any justifications and the words “if” or “but.” So, “I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings during the meeting,” or “I’m sorry we made an error but you knew we were short-staffed” is not making up any ground.
Now that you know the basics, here are scripts for the most common workplace apologies:
1. You Made a Mistake That You Can’t Fix Yourself
You’re human, so you screwed up on something complex (think: green-lighting something you didn’t actually have the authority to OK). You realize that you don’t have the skills to fix it on your own, and the only option you have is to admit this to your supervisor and ask her to pull some strings and help you out. This apology should be timely (since you need help fixing the error—fast), and open to accepting responsibility. In addition, it should include an assurance that it won’t happen again.
I made a mistake on the ‘B’ Case. I thought I was taking initiative, but I can see now that I should have run my actions by you first. I’m so sorry and it won’t happen again. However, in order to fix it, I’ll need your help. When’s the best time for us to discuss?
2. You Promised Something Impossible to a Client
You’re always striving to exceed your clients’ expectations. You go above and beyond, promising to give them everything their hearts desire. This works well—until you realize that something you guaranteed them simply cannot be done.
If you’re part of a team—even if you’ve been running lead—share your mistake with your colleagues or your boss. They may not be able to help you, but at the very least, they should know what’s going on. Then, come prepared with a solution for when you break the news. If you’re going to tell a client you can’t do something, you want to be prepared to share what you can do instead.
Unfortunately, I’m unable to provide you with [what I promised you]. I’m sorry for my oversight. I said yes out of enthusiasm and a desire to give you exactly what you wanted, but I should have checked with our resources/budget/bandwidth before saying it could be done. Here’s what I can offer you instead.
3. You Offended Someone
You and your co-worker were having a conversation about something, it got heated, and you said something that offended her. You probably didn’t mean it—or maybe you did—but now you realize in order to keep the peace at the office, you need to smooth things over. Don’t focus on what caused you to speak out (see justification, above), just focus on the fact that you truly regret saying it.
I realize that what I said earlier was offensive. I was wrong to speak to you like that, it was unprofessional, and I am truly sorry. I will work on keeping my cool in tense situations.
Note: The above apology works if you told someone you think his slogan will be as popular as New Coke. It does not apply if you said something racist, sexist, bigoted—the list goes on and on, but I know you know that kind of behavior can’t be fixed with an apology template.
4. You’re the Bearer of Bad News
No one wants to deliver bad news. It can be especially frustrating when it’s something that is completely out of your control, or the result of a difficult call. But if you’re in a leadership position, this will happen—a lot.
I find this type of apology to be a little trickier than the others because it’s not something you are 100% responsible for. But the best thing to do is to get to the point quickly, so as to minimize the pain inflicted on those receiving the (less-than-desirable) update.
Despite my best efforts, I’m sorry to tell you that your promotion/raise/vacation/project was denied. The reason was because of budget cuts/staffing/current priorities. Please don’t let this discourage you. We truly value your contribution to the team and will try to find a way to show you just how much.
5. You Forgot a Task
For whatever reason, you completely blanked on finishing a project by the deadline. To make matters worse, your boss found out before you had a chance to scramble and get it done. He is not happy! So, it’s important that your apology shows you’re not making excuses and you’re providing a concrete time for when you will be finished.
Face the Music With
I’m sorry for missing the deadline on Project X. I realize that my error reflects poorly on the team. I can complete my portion of the work by the end of the day tomorrow. Will that be OK, or would you like to see what I have in draft form?
Having to apologize is never fun, but it’s often necessary in order to forge, repair, and strengthenrelationships in the workplace. So, be authentic, sincere, and discuss what you might do differently the next time, because a good apology can go a long way.
To accept an apology isn’t easy for either person involved. Apologizing can be, if done correctly, a very humbling act. To apologize means guilt has been established and confirmed by the “offending” party. Apologizing encourages the offender to accept responsibility for their role in causing offense. This, however, is hard on pride, and we have to be careful when we accept an apology. Humans, by nature, are prideful. We don’t often like admitting when we are wrong, especially to others. It makes us feel we failed in an area, and forces us to become emotionally attached to the situation.
I recently had to apologize to someone because… well, I was wrong. I made an unintentional comment that was offensive to someone. Upon reflection, I put myself in the shoes of the other person and saw how my comment very well could have offended them. I wrote a sincere apology listing the offence and taking full responsibility for it as the offending party. In essence, I told the person that I had learned a valuable lesson and thanked them for helping me with this blind spot in my life, counseling, and pastoral ministry.
However, the response I received was more lecturing and accusations of intolerance and closed mindedness. There was no acknowledgment or expression of acceptance of the apology.
This got me to thinking about apologies. What is the proper way to apologize and What is the proper response to an apology?
Apologies can also be an expression of sorrow. In other words, the person saying sorry is attempting to be empathetic toward you. In this case, simply accept their apology. They probably are being sincere, and you shouldn’t analyze their intent.
Often, apologies are uttered as a mere afterthought for minor trivialities. For something insignificant, such as bumping into someone or burping, a brief but sincere apology is usually all that is needed.
Of course, then there are those situations that truly merit a more heartfelt apology. Sometimes you are the one who is doing the apologizing, and sometimes you are the recipient.
How do you make the apology?
A sincere apology will include:
– A description of the problem as you understand it
– An explanation of why it happened
– A pronouncement of regret
– A promise not to repeat the offensive action
When you say, “I’m sorry” you are demonstrating respect for the one offended. It says “I care about you, and I want you to understand I made a mistake.” An apology is the same as asking for forgiveness.
How do you respond to an apology?
I think first we need to dig down to the core of what we are talking about. At the core is an “F” word that is hard for all of us to say: FORGIVENESS. At issue is “am I going to forgive this person or not?” Why should I? Just because the “offender” says I’m sorry? No, it goes deeper than that.
In Matthew 18 we get to look through a time warp and see a scene from the first century. The occasion is a man who owes more money than he could pay off in two lifetimes is being called upon to pay his debt. His inability to “pay up” is about to cost him and his family their freedom. To the surprise of all present, the man holding the mortgage tears it up and forgives the debt. Can you imagine the relief!
Then the scene changes to another person who owes a few dollars to the man who has just been forgiven millions. The man who owes a few dollars is shown no mercy from a man that we all would think should be the one person on earth to show mercy and forgiveness.
So I would think the first step in responding to an apology would be to do a self-appraisal. Am I perfect or have I ever needed forgiveness? Am I going to be like mortgage holder one or mortgage holder two?
Step two is to respond honestly. Be honest with the other person about how you are feeling. If you are struggling with forgiveness, tell them. Thank them for their apology and continue to talk through the problem. This can be very important in the growth of a relationship.
Step three is to forgive and move on. A person who has not learned to forgive is a person who carries a lot of pain through an already tough world. I think the most misunderstood fact about forgiveness is the belief that forgiveness is a gift I somehow give to the other person. In one sense it is, but in a more important sense, forgiveness is a gift I give myself.
A friend told me that every offense I have not forgiven is like a meat hook in my soul that is tethered to the offense. Every time move I have to drag that offense with me. Imagine a lifetime of hooks that we drag around. Not a pretty picture! If we want to be free of the pain of the past we have to unhook and move on.
Spell To Make Someone Apologize To You
Spell To Make Someone Apologize To You or to make someone realize your importance can be use to make someone cry for you. Use our spell to make someone regret hurting you and make happy life.
Have you ever been hurt by someone? Are they angry on you that you have hurt them? How many times did you apologize for something that you may or may not have don Whenever we make a mistake which is hurting someone, then you must first apologize them. The value of an apology is tough to measure, but its presence can be felt.
But it allows both the people to move forward as it recreates the relationship and strengthens the relationship. The best way to apologize is a face-to-face conversation. This is because a direct discussion leads to a proper settlement.
Spell To Make Someone Apologize To You
It also creates a genuine faith in you as well as the other person .if you’re facing it difficult to meet the person then you may make a phone call and settle the issue.
We, as human, make many mistakes, but nobody is ready to apologize. We all have to learn how to apologize as nobody is perfect in the world. It is not easy to apologize to the person whom you have hurt .the most important thing in a relationship is trust.
Once if you have lost faith, it is tough to gain it back again. An apology is the best medicine to rebuild trust and restore the relationship.
The spell to make someone apologize you for their mistake is that make them feel the importance of your presence. All you have to do is live the moment and enjoy your life and make your enemies regret their mistake. Automatically they will start realizing their own mistakes and start thinking on how to apologize you.
Spell To Make Someone Realize Your Importance
Spell To Make Someone Realize Your Importance, Have you ever been heartbroken by someone whom you have trusted? Have they ever felt the importance of your presence in their life?
Trust is very rare to find nowadays.trust is a positive belief in something or someone very blindly. Making someone important in our life is the most challenging job as no one is trustworthy .once a trust on someone gets destroyed then is it very not easy to rebuild it again.as it takes a year to build trust but a second to destroy it.
The first mistake we make is that we give importance to some person who does not even tend to care for us. It is best for you to either get out of the relationship or make them try to understand your importance. Soo tries making the correct choice and tries to get as many numbers of benefits.
Misunderstanding this the leading route cause for breaking trust as it tries to create a negative image of another person. Try to have a positive and clear mindset .dont fight with the person until and unless you know the truth.
Try to make a proper investigation of the issue and try to solve the problems with a healthy conversation. In these ways, you can make someone realize your importance.
Spells To Make Someone Cry For You
Spells To Make Someone Cry For You, Whenever a person has hurt you all you have to do is walk away .if you don’t move on then you will go into depression .this depression may lead you to sadness both mentally and physically.
if you don’t lead with it then grief may become a permanent component in your life forever. Where there is no respect, then there is no requirement of you .this because life has to move on and face challenges.
And through this you should be able to take a correct decision in life .whenever you are in depression don’t stay still in one place .get dressed well, listen to music, talk to someone, practice meditation, etc. as this thing may help you to come of depression.
The time someone regrets their mistake and the way they have hurt you. They will start realizing the truth and start crying for you. And later they will begin searching for your company when they start losing the entire fake people and understanding how you played a vital role in their life.
A spell to make someone cry for you will make the other person understand what they have done. In this situation, they will start crying for you as to how much they needed you in their life .
as soon this occurs they will come back to you. In case you try not to solve the problems, then you’re free to consult our experts and get a proper solution.
Spells To Make Someone Regret Hurting You
Spells To Make Someone Regret Hurting You, Nowadays most of the people due to their busy life stop realizing the value of their parents.
They start leaving their parents in nursing homes as they get angry when they get advice from elders. But no one is ready to correct their mistakes. They think all know everything and they are perfect.
The fact is that they stop asking sorry for their mistakes. As there are not giving importance to other person but they only need their self-respect.
People change when they meet new people nowadays has become a universal sentence. But they don’t realize how you were there for them in their difficulties. Whenever there is an absence of you, then they will start regretting their mistakes.
Problems in a relationship are quite common, but it should not destroy the life of other people .when never a misunderstanding arises both the people must try to convince each other and solve the problems on the spot.
These spells will help a person to realize what mistake they have done. They will start taking possible efforts to correct the situation and regret their mistakes.
Contact us if you are in search of solutions. We will guide you through a fantastic path to solve all your problems in life. Once after following the suggestion, then you will give beautiful results out of it. A day without laughter is a day wasted. Keep smiling forever.
You have to be in a relationship for long enough to understand what your girl is feeling at certain times. If you know her well, you will also know the signs suggesting that there is something bothering her or she is mad at you for some reason. Whatever the case, it is important to proceed carefully when a girl is mad at you because any rash step can hit your relationship hard. Trying to reason with her when she is in no mood to listen to you is never a good strategy. You have to take your time, understand the situation well, and then talk to your girlfriend to make things better. Let's find out more about it.
Why Is a Girl Mad at You? Does It Matter?
When she is cold towards you, it usually means that she is angry because you have done or said something bad. It is natural for a girl to lash out with anger when she is hurt and feels powerless at the same time. She does it unconsciously because every girl wants to feel that you care for her and are mentally strong enough to bring her back to a place of love.
She may be feeling bad because your words or actions have made her feel rejected, and that rejection often makes her feel insecure. She will push you away when she feel insecure, and that is when you have to decide how to bring her back to you, if, of course you still want her back in your life.
When a Girl Is Mad at You, What Should You Do?
Start with an Apology
Most people have no idea how apologies can make things better. Just make sure that you really mean what you say. You need to realize that you have done something wrong and it is perfectly fine to accept your fault. Just tell that you feel sorry for your actions and understand that your behavior was totally inappropriate. Be sure to tell her that you will not let anything like this happen again.
If you do not seem to have the courage to confront her, you can even write an apology letter. Do not forget to tell her how much you love and appreciate her. In case you have hurt someone she knows, it is equally important to apologize to them as well. You can send an apology letter to them and accept your mistake.
Do Not Overdo It
What it means is that you should apologize for what you have done wrong, but you should not overdo it. If you keep saying sorry, this is only going to irritate her and may make things worse. Say what you want to say and then excuse yourself. You can then go out of the room or even house to give her some time alone to think about your words. You should not do anything else until things cool off a bit.
Talk to Her the Next Day
Once you have said your piece, it is important to check in with her again the very next day. A short text message to start a small talk would really help you get an idea where things are going. Things will improve if you could get the conversation started on the right track.
And Remember Nerve Say the Following Words
"I do not understand why you are so mad at me, what have I done?"
Really, this is not the right way to calm things down. You are blaming her for getting mad at you, which is not the right thing to do. This can make things worse, especially if you have certainly done or said something hurtful.
"I am very sorry for what I have done, so please tell me how I can make things right. I can do anything for you."
When you really love your girl and she is mad at you, it is only natural to go the extra mile to make her realize how sorry you are. You need to keep in mind that a groveling apology is not going to fix the issue; instead, you will put her in charge by taking a weak position, which she will not like as well.
"Why are you ignoring my messages and calls?"
Do not try to handle the situation by making you look innocent. You know you have done something wrong and that is why she is mad at you, so it is only going to annoy and irritate her when you ask why she is not answering your messages. Even if she is mad for no reason, she still needs some time alone to get to a conclusion and realize that she should not react so aggressively. While she is thinking about all this, do not try to confront her by asking about the reason she is not answering your calls.
"Please forget about what happened and let's go shopping to buy that dress you've always wanted."
Taking things too lightly can have repercussions. If you try to brush over what happened, you might make her feel even worse. When a girl is mad at you, know that you cannot make things right by distracting her with gifts, surprises, or promises. You have to address the real issue first.
When we royally screw up, in life or in business, it’s important to admit it and take responsibility. How do you do that, especially when your screw up is embarrassingly public and you have a lot of people to apologize to?
While the following best practices fall under “PR and Crisis Management”, these lessons can apply at a personal level as well.
Recently, HubSpot issued a press release and email to customers with an update about a series of unfortunate events. There was an outage in service which affected many of their customers. It was inconvenient, to say the least. HubSpot’s response is a case study in “How to Apologize To Your Customers.”
Here’s what they did, and what you should do if you need to make a big public apology.
Don’t save the apology for later. Don’t mumble it under your breath.
Lead with “I’m sorry.”
In the example, HubSpot says in the first paragraph — “We’re sorry we let you down.” It helps to hear a clear apology right up front. They also end the letter with another full-throated apology, ” This week, we failed to deliver that — and we are truly sorry.”
2. Admit your mistake and take responsibility for it.
Don’t try to get away with deflecting, or explaining what went wrong, or pinning the blame on someone else. You may not be completely to blame. Maybe it was an honest mistake or an unforeseen disaster. Still, admit your part in the snafu and accept responsibility for making it right.
3. Empathize with your customer.
You know your customer or client is frustrated, angry, hurt, or feeling some other emotion connected to your mistake.
Reflect that feeling and let your customer know that YOU know how they feel.
In the example, HubSpot did this throughout the letter:
“It’s been a tough week here at HubSpot, but even a tougher week for you, our customers.”
“. leading to significant downtime and frustrating outages for many of you, for much of the week.”
4. Explain in detail what went wrong.
This is probably the easiest part of the apology. Once you’ve apologized, taken responsibility, reflected the emotions of you audience, then you can go into the details of how it happened.
I say this is the “easy part” because at least now you have a chance to explain the mistake, how it was either an accident or lapse of foresight or a rogue employee. Whatever the problem, here’s your chance to explain yourself. Try not to sound defensive, though. If you strike the right tone in your intro, the explanation will go down easier.
Perhaps you feel a lengthy explanation is unnecessary, and it may be. If there are extenuating circumstances that might help your customers understand your situation better, details are good. If it feels like you’re just digging the hole deeper, you might choose to leave it at a sincere short apology.
5. Show how you will prevent it from happening again.
Reassure your customer that you have the situation under control. Outline the steps you are taking to make sure this doesn’t happen again. What have you, as a company, learned from this experience? Don’t try to paint a rosier picture than you should, but a positive tone is good. It isn’t the end of the world. You aren’t letting this get you down and you’ll do better in the future!
“I’m sorry” won’t make all your headaches go away. But, a thorough apology with the proper tone will go a long way to maintaining a healthy relationship with your customers.
Have you ever had to admit to a big mistake? How did it go? Share your story in the comments below.
Steph leads our client delivery team and is obsessed with delivering quality work, creating an efficiency machine, and mastering the tools and disciplines to achieve success for our heroes. At home, she loves listening to true crime podcasts, playing with her daughters and two pugs, and singing in a local rock band with her husband.
Ah, adulthood. Along with taxes, weird morning pain, garbage metabolisms, and sudden changes in hair texture, we also have to figure out how to fully and completely take responsibility for our behavior when we act wretchedly towards other people.
And that usually comes in some form of an apology.
Many of us struggle with this. Why? Because throwing yourself on someone’s mercy takes an incredible sense of self. We’ve heard this song before – it’s actually STRONG to be vulnerable! But it doesn’t feel strong. It feels bad. It feels like we might disintegrate right there in the moment. Because fully and completely admitting you were thoughtless or careless or insensitive or mean implies that the shiny persona you polish each night, might just be developing some light patina. And patina, for most of us, just feels like failure.
But there is only one failure in the apology game, and that’s not knowing how to apologize.
Apologizing poorly, especially as an adult, kind of makes you…less of an adult. The key to apologizing, as is the key to perhaps most things, is actually feeling the thing. Actually being sorry. Not just saying you’re sorry. So here’s some easy, chunked out sections, cuz chunked out sections are what perform better on the internet.
It takes maturity and humility to own up to your mistakes and apologize. It also takes maturity and humility to accept an apology after you’ve been wronged.
Accepting an apology and forgiving someone often doesn’t come easily, but there are ways to go handle such situations with sincerity, mindfulness and grace.
HuffPost spoke to two etiquette experts about the process. Here are five things to keep in mind when someone is offering you an apology.
When someone is apologizing to you, it’s important to give your full attention and try to really hear what the person is saying.
“Let the person speak without interruption,” said Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert, the author of Modern Etiquette for a Better Life and the founder of the Protocol School of Texas. Interrupting or criticizing the other person can be tempting, especially if the wounds still feel fresh, but a big first step can be hearing the person out and acknowledging the apology.
“Listening and showing forgiveness does not mean it’s OK. Showing appreciation for the effort doesn’t mean all is forgotten,” she said. “You can say, ‘I appreciate your effort to acknowledge your mistake, but I need some time. I hope you will understand.’”
Take The Time You Need
If you need time, it’s best to be honest about that. But you can also give it a positive spin, said Lizzie Post, a co-host of the Emily Post Institute’s “Awesome Etiquette” podcast.
“Sincerely say, ‘I really appreciate hearing that. This is something that hit me hard’ or “It really felt awkward between us. I’m still going to need a little time to process, but I’m looking forward to when this is behind us,’” she recommended. “Give them that positive hope for the future.”
The “I need more time to process” aspect is personal. “It is your own thing. The other person has recognized their faults and taken responsibility and apologized to you for that,” said Post. “So now, however long it takes for you to get over it, it’s something you are working through and need to figure out.”
During this time, you can still participate in the friendship or take a break from the everyday interactions for a bit ― whatever works best for you.
Pay Attention To Body Language
When you’re hearing someone’s apology, take note of the person’s body language and tone of voice.
“Body language speaks volumes,” said Gottsman. “Watch carefully to decide if the words are sincere. Your intuition will generally tell you if the apology is well intentioned.”
Put simply, apologizing requires effort, and if someone seems apathetic, you probably want to take note.
Try To Let It Go
“Try to get it behind you. Don’t let it fester,” Post said. “There are so many things we’ve all done in our lives that we just pray people don’t hold over us. Give your friends breaks when you can.”
If it’s truly the end of a friendship, it’s best to simply say something along the lines of, “I don’t think I can move beyond this. It’s over.” Still, from an etiquette standpoint, it’s best to give people the benefit of the doubt and offer them a second chance, Post said.
Gottsman granted that if something really egregious happened, you don’t have to forgive. “I think it’s a choice, and it’s not always appropriate to accept an apology,” she said.
“But for yourself and your own piece of mind, you have to move on,” she added. “Don’t continue to dwell on it, because if it’s eating you up, it’s toxic.” Moving on is an important part of self-care and may require counseling from a friend or professional or some other kind of help.
“It’s not being selfish. It’s about living your best life, which can’t happen when you’re filled with anger or hate,” Gottsman said. “It doesn’t mean you have to be friends again, but you can accept the effort and go on with your life.”
Be Mindful Of Repeat Offenders
“Don’t trust a repeat offender,” said Gottsman. “Let them know you don’t have any intention of sharing another confidence but you will let it go” — for example, for the sake of a family or business relationship.
Mistakes can be forgiven, but multiple offenses call for cautiousness.
“If there’s a history and they continue to do it, then at some point in time you become part of the problem because you allow it to continue to happen,” she said. “So you have to draw some clear boundaries.”
You can be honest with the other person and say, “This has become a pattern, and it’s hurtful and uncomfortable. I’m having a trust issue,” Gottsman recommended.
Establishing boundaries and keeping your distance doesn’t have to lead to sarcasm or a falling out, especially if it’s someone in your larger circle of friends. “You can just be pleasant but distant,” Gottsman said.
Recently, someone shared with me feelings of anger, about negative words they heard through the grapevine, someone allegedly said about them. They had not overheard the information first-hand, but if these words really were spoken, it was justifiable my friend felt wounded by the words. It hurts when we find out someone has said something unpleasant about us.
So how do we respond when someone hurts us in our family, workplace, faith group, friend circle or a community organization?
Often we assume that we are the victim and the one who needs to forgive, but sometimes when someone hurts us, we try to find catharsis by venting to others. The height of all irony is that we often end up victimizing the person who hurt us. And then the venomous cycle of hate-filled words continues. We point the finger towards them and share our rage with others about what they supposedly said about us. When we vent about others like this, we can demonize them to the point that we too are in need of forgiveness.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? In recent years, I have witnessed the growing tendency of people to react in this way. So, I’d like to offer some advice about how to respond in an emotionally intelligent way, when someone hurts us.
1. Give Others The Benefit of the Doubt
I remember someone telling me they were no longer speaking to their dad, because of something her brother had told her that her dad had said about her. What if her brother had misunderstood their dad, lied, or just told the story through his own lens?
It is important to remember the telephone game we played as children. We can’t assume everything we are told is %100 percent accurate.
And even if we are mad at someone for something we have experienced first-hand, our anger towards them is usually connected to our own sadness and pain in life, and not necessarily just the actions or words of the person who has hurt us.
It is easier to stay angry at someone who has let us down than it is to see what we can learn about our self from the situation. We demonize others because it is safer to attack them, than to face our own demons. But the real growth happens when we start to process why we are feeling such vitriol towards someone.
Often we are inclined to avoid the person who has hurt us, but it is better to find a non-threatening way to talk with them. Sometimes when we communicate with our offender, we realize there was a misunderstanding, we see the situation from their perspective, we find out they are going through a stressful time or we recognize we have blown things way out of proportion.
When we are brave enough to be vulnerable with a loved one or colleague about how we experienced what they said or did, it can allows us to work things out with them and surprisingly we might even become closer with the person than we were before the incident.
2. Vent To People Outside of the System
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”
Now does this sage and humorous advice mean we can never share frustrations? Of course this is not the case. In fact, it can be healthy to share feelings of hurt and betrayal, but we need to do this with someone outside of the system. A system is a group you belong to and it can be your family, friends, religious assembly, workplace, or community group.
If something painful has happened at work, we either need to go and talk directly to the person who has hurt us or we can vent with a friend, but I advise you not to vent to another work colleague. They are in the same system and this is just creating triangles that can cause more problems and anxiety in the system.
Almost every time I have vented to someone about another party within the system, I have regretted my words. But when I have gone to someone trustworthy outside the system, it usually is a safe space to share my pain.
It also means I am not disparaging someone to others in their system. This is truly not fair to them and it can create a toxic environment, where gossip starts to thrive.
3. Be Mindful We ALL Make Mistakes
I want to start by owning the fact that I have said things I regret about others. I also have been hurt by others who have spoken harsh words about me. And the truth is; we are all in need of forgiveness and grace.
We put ourselves on a totem pole of self-righteousness, when we assume other people are in the wrong and we are in the right.
If someone close to you at work has hurt you with their words, you might want to ask yourself if you have ever said anything negative about them, or at the very least, spoken unloving words regarding someone in the workplace. If your answer is ‘no’, I commend you and you are a much better person than I am, and maybe even on the road to canonization as a saint!
But in truth, we know we have all said unkind things about someone or done something to hurt others.
We all have the capacity to be both kind and callous. There is good and evil in all people.
When we are mean to others, it is usually because of jealousy, personality differences, difficulties in our own lives, feelings of inadequacy and other reasons.
4. Wish the Best for our Offender
When someone hurts us, we don’t have to be best friends with them, but one way to find healing from hurt, is to send joy and love to those who wound us.
Please consider participating in the following meditation:
I then invite you to imagine a spark of divine light within your offender and surrounding them. Set an intention to nurture the candle in your heart and also in their heart. Take a moment to remember the person who hurt you, has people they love and who love them. Visualize the light within and around them getting bigger. Bring both of your hands to heart center.
Offer a prayer of blessing for the future and life of the person who hurt you. Be thankful for their presence in your life. Open your hands up towards the sky and send love and light to them.
Whether you realize it or not, this type of meditation, has the power to nurture both you and the one who has wounded you. If you are still feeling angry, simply try this meditation again.
Also be mindful, if you started the meditation in a place of self-righteousness, and see yourself as more enlightened and self-aware than your offender, then the meditation probably won’t work. Being able to forgive and let go of hurt, is more likely to happen when we recognize our shortcomings and our own need for grace.
Why are people so easily irritated at one another these days?
I believe the polarization in our country between democrats and republicans has a trickle-down result; affecting the way we see one another and speak about one another. And similarly, growing divisions between countries, races and religions in the world, also inform our increasing animosity towards one another.
If the tide doesn’t change soon, we are on our way to becoming a reactive and mean-spirited country and world. But I believe, we can change the tide and it will make a dramatic difference in this world, if we learn to give people the benefit of the doubt, vent with people outside of the system, be mindful we all make mistakes, and wish the best for our offender.
When someone hurts you, will you choose to respond in an emotionally intelligent way? These loving ways of responding can change our reactive world.
It’s okay when someone gets angry at you for doing something wrong. But what if someone is just silently holding grudges?
If you think it’s hard to deal with an angry person who lashes out and throws tantrums, think again. It’s much worse if you get the silent treatment. Don’t believe me?
The toxic reality of holding grudges
Although most people who get angry tend to express it openly, there are those few who use another tactic altogether.
I have experienced this many times in a former marriage, where my spouse made a habit of utilizing the silent treatment to get his point across. What made it much harder to deal with was the fact that half the time, I had no idea why he was angry. One moment things were going great, the next, he wasn’t speaking to me, except maybe in short statements. It was unnerving for years and I felt as though I had to walk on pins and needles to keep the peace.
Boy, am I glad that’s over!
Holding grudges is one of the most manipulating acts of all. It may not seem so, but it can raise the blood pressure and cause stress to its intended recipient. There are ways, however, to deal with people who hold grudges. Pay attention, I know someone out there really needs help with this.
Confront the Issue
If you know that you did something wrong, apologize. It is your responsibility to make amends when you are the one who made the mistake. If you don’t know what you did, then ask them.
If you don’t think you did something wrong, but they do, then apologize for doing something that bothered them and work toward a solution or compromise. If you apologize, you are no longer on the hook for how they feel. You have done your part.
Sometimes it helps to ask friends and family how they dealt with similar situations, especially with the person in question. For instance, you need to know how long they generally hold the grudge and if it’s better to apologize or just let it ride out. Sometimes those with grudges, get worse when you apologize.
This is mainly because they wish to prolong their hold on you and garner attention to themselves. You cannot deal with someone in this state and apologies will not help. Therefore, you need someone else’s knowledge of experience with the person.
Always keep in mind that those holding grudges are sometimes at war with themselves or their past. It’s not always just about you. To them, you might seem like an abusive person from the past, a sister, brother or parent for that matter. They may be feeling emotions from all over the place, triggered by one incident with you! Be patient and feel your way through this one.
Give them some space
Sometimes it’s best not to apologize at all and just let them have some time alone. In most cases, people who hold grudges will come around, needing someone to talk to. A little silence can be beneficial to gathering thoughts and calming nerves. Grudges don’t always last long and sometimes the angry person will end up acting like nothing ever happened when left to their own thoughts of regretful actions.
Always be there in case they wish to talk, and when they do, ask what you can do to make it better. It is a logical question and should not be seen as an attack. Offer comfort if comfort is needed, but only for a little while. Offer to spend time with them doing an activity or going somewhere. Being helpful may just be what they need to cool down.
If none of this works, and the grudge holder refuses to accept any reparations, you must move on. On rare occasions, friendships end with grudgery. There is nothing you can do about it.
No, it’s not easy to deal with an angry person, but it’s a blessing compared to those who have the habit of holding grudges. Unfortunately, this is the only way some people can deal with problems, pushing others away until they get what they want. They may be deeply scarred from past events or even projecting old feelings onto new people.
Whatever the case, it is up to you to protect your own sanity. IF you can’t fix it, then you may have to walk away.
Always remember, there is a healthy way to get angry, and this is not it! Spread the love instead.