Two of the most powerful words in the English language are, “I’m sorry.” Just a simple apology. It may seem simple, but it’s becomes oh so complicated when the words are never uttered.
What not to say in apology:
- “I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.” While this may be true, it is not a real apology. If it follows an “I’m sorry” then it’s acceptable.
- ”You misunderstood me.” This is placing blame on the other person. They may have misunderstood, but you are no closer to reconciliation with this announcement.
- “I’m sorry you were hurt by what I said.” Drop the qualifier. Just say you are sorry!
A gift is not an apology
A gift may express you are willing to make amends, but it pales in comparison to a heartfelt apology. Just say it! An apology gift sets a pattern – all subsequent gifts will become suspect.
What if it wasn’t my fault?
You don’t have to be at fault to apologize. You might try something like this, “I’m sorry. I hate that we’re fighting. Let’s put this behind us.” Once you make the first move, the other party will likely reciprocate. Hours into weeks of frustrations are over.
When an apology is not enough
Some offenses are so grievous, as in abuse or betrayal, that a mere apology is not enough. However, it is a good first step. Many victims never hear those words from their abuser. It may also be appropriate to pay retribution or cover counseling.
Say it with sincerity
Don’t say it with sarcasm or flippantly. Look the other person in the eye and speak with sincerity.
Do you have an unspoken apology you need to deliver? Do it now. It’s never too late.