Apologizing is not as easy as it seems at first glance. Sometimes a simple “I’m sorry” does the trick. But sometimes, when you’re hurting someone from the bottom of your heart, you must do more.
If you want your apology to impact, you must make an effort to get it right. And no, contrary to popular opinion, this does not mean that the apology is fake.
A well-crafted apology is no more or less sincere than other apologies. A simple apology can be the fakest thing possible. A planned apology, however, can be as honest as it gets.
But knowing the steps you need to take to apologize can make all the difference. You are less likely to be forgiven when you offer a fake apology.
Even if you sincerely regret it, you should know what to say to people. If you want to forgive, you must know how to do it correctly. Because of how intense and emotional these situations are, it also helps to plan. Guidance can help you when you stumble or choke on words.
According to psychology, seven steps to a powerful apology
Apologies are tricky because you want to ensure you’re concise and clear. But on the other hand, the last thing you want to do is cause more problems because you don’t know how to communicate.
So, if you want to know how to handle an apology better, psychologists recommend these seven steps.
1. Admit your mistake when you apologize
There’s nothing worse than apologizing to someone who never admits they’re wrong. Right off the bat, you can feel how fake this apology is. It doesn’t mean much if you say “I’m sorry” to get out of trouble. Even if you’re temporarily off the hook, problems will return.
So, to apologize well, you must first realize your mistake. Then listen to the person you hurt and see where they are coming from. They will tell you what the problem is and why they are mad. And you have to keep an open mind and understand that what you are doing is wrong.
Once you do this, you can show compassion to the person you hurt. This way, you can make a better and more sincere apology.
2. Be honest and authentic in your apology
A sincere apology is offered in the presentation. Our words, body language, and how we deliver an apology affect its sincerity. The best apology is offered in person whenever possible. But sometimes, a bug needs to be communicated to the broader community and can be challenging to get to in person.
It is important to note that every word used in such an apology is sincere and genuine. We can provide a sincere apology by looking at the person face to face.
Whatever we say, we must include “I’m sorry” or “I’m sorry.” The people we hurt need to hear these words. Avoid the terms “if” and “but” because they tend to shift the blame.
3. Apologize as soon as possible
If you want to make the best apology possible, one of the best things you can do is to do it as soon as possible. The longer you delay it, the less sincere it may seem. Of course, people have time to forgive them.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t stop apologizing. After apologizing, they can spend all their time on the process.
Just because apologies are hard to come by doesn’t mean they should be brushed aside. You will feel lighter as soon as you do this. If you do it quickly, you’ll prove you’re sincere.
This will show that you care more about the other person’s feelings than yours. It will also confirm that there is nothing you want more than to make things right.
If you keep being late, the other person will think you don’t care about them. This will help them feel neglected and hurt their feelings more. Therefore, try to apologize to avoid all these potential issues.
4. Show that you are sorry for what you did
There is not much you can do to make someone refuse to forgive you. You will always have the opportunity to make amends, let alone the most serious crimes against humanity.
But the other person won’t take your apology seriously if you don’t show that you’re sorry for what happened.
No one likes feeling sorry. But if you want to move forward, you have to do it. Feeling remorse shows you understand what you did and how it affected others. It shows that you are compassionate and want to make things right. Regret comes from knowing that what you did was wrong and wanting to take it back.
And when you sincerely regret something, it shows. People can hear it in your voice and see it in your actions. Therefore, show your regret by apologizing. Take responsibility for your actions and show your pain to someone you understand.
When you apologize, you’re not talking to a wall. You are communicating with a natural person who has the right to speak. And you should know that apologies are more than words. There should be no monologue. Instead, it should be a conversation.
An apology can start by talking about something, only to discover that the real issue is something else. But you can only learn this by listening. If you sincerely want to solve problems, you should allow your interlocutor to talk.
But listening isn’t just good because it allows the other person to say exactly what’s bothering them. It is also excellent and spiritual work. Whenever you apologize, ask the other person how they feel. This discussion will make them feel heard and cared about. Sometimes the loudest message you can send is silence.
Let them break their feelings. Allow yourself to remove all negative things. Once they have had a chance to talk, it will be easier for you to fix things.
5. Correct the behavior
Our apology should include steps we will take to prevent future mistakes. The situation will dictate what we should do. For chronic lateness, we can start using an alarm or reminder on our calendar.
If we have spoken hurtful words in anger, we may need to adopt new techniques for dealing with stressful situations or even seek treatment. Correcting behavior in the business world can be a change in policy or training.
7. Don’t expect an apology in return
In most cases, both parties are at fault. Sometimes it is even. One of you was crueler than the other. Perhaps there are those among you who indulge in sin.
However, guilt or hurt is not something that can or should be defined. So as long as you got involved, you need to apologize and make things right. And one thing you should never do is expect something in return.
Even if it hurts you, you should never apologize because you are trying to apologize to the other person. Your apology should be sincere and selfless. Your intention should be to make the other person feel better and make things right.
Of course, if the other person doesn’t own up to their mistakes, you won’t be able to move forward. But whether they apologize or not is their choice. You must be honest and sincere and own your mistakes to do all this.
Final thoughts on the seven steps to apologizing
Apologizing is never easy. You can never be sure that you are doing it right or that it will be effective. Still, you must be brave and ask for forgiveness when you mess up. And you should not apologize in the hope that the other person will forgive you.
If you want your apology to be powerful, it needs to be selfless and sincere. You should do this not just because you like their forgiveness but because you are genuinely sorry.
You need to understand what you did wrong. Make peace with your mistakes and understand how your actions affect others. The person you are apologizing to will feel this empathy.
This will make your apology genuine and believable. Be honest and apologize as soon as possible. Don’t let things boil over and get worse. You should also say that you are sorry for what you have done.
This works exceptionally well when you’re trying to become a better person. A good apology also involves listening and seeking the other person’s point of view.
Finally, remember not to apologize in return. If they regret it, they will apologize when they are ready. If you try to force them out, things will backfire.