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Thursday, September 10

Saying “Sorry”

day after vet 033a

This post is part 3 of a 3-part series on fighting fair. Part 1 covered the 5 things you should never do in a fight. Part 2 covered how to be persuasive. And part 3, “Saying Sorry,” is for when you screw up part 1 and 2. ;)

Admit it. You’re not perfect {but I am*}. Sometimes you lose your cool, or fight dirty, or otherwise mess up. It can be hard to admit when it happens (especially to ourselves). But being willing to admit our mistakes and say “I’m sorry” can save a relationship. So here’s the how and why of apologizing:

HOW to Apologize

  • Be Sincere. If you’re not ready to offer a true apology, wait a while until you’ve cooled down. A false apology leaves the offended party feeling dissatisfied and you feeling resentful.
  • Validate Their Feelings. Acknowledge that they’re upset and that you screwed up. Apologies that include qualifiers such as “I’m sorry, but…” are not apologies. They’re poorly disguised attempts to appear to be the nice guy while laying the blame elsewhere.
  • Be Specific. Say what it is you’re apologizing for. It shows that you actually understand what you did wrong and why the other party is upset.
  • Make Amends. If you broke it, fix it. If there are actions that ought to accompany your apology your words will be empty without them.

{See http://www.theperfectapology.com/index.html for more ideas on how to apologize.}

WHY to Apologize

  • Preserve Relationships. A good apology can smooth over some pretty big offenses. They keep relationships strong by demonstrating your commitment. People intuitively recognize that a person who will say “sorry” to them is a person who cares {cares enough to eat crow}!
  • Model Good Behavior. Your children won’t learn nearly as much about apologies from being forced to say “I’m sorry” to their friends of siblings as they will from seeing you say it to your spouse, friends, and yes, even to them. It’s especially important for them to see apologies if they see their parents fighting. It shows them that mom and dad still love each other and get along, as well as showing them the proper way to end a fight.
  • It’s Good for You. Ultimately apologies aren’t about you. They’re about others. But a nice perk to apologies is that they can make you feel better about yourself and help you grow.

And remember, when it’s you on the receiving end of the apology…

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” -Mahatma Gandhi

Was there ever a time that saying {or hearing} “I’m Sorry” made everything better? Tell me about it in the comments!


*Just kidding!

1 Stubborn Stains:

KK said...

I hate conflict and always feel relief after I say I'm sorry, It just feels like I can breathe again!

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