Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The art of the apology

Saying we're sorry is one of the most difficult things that some of us will ever encounter (thank goodness) and for you, I have some suggestions on how to get through it. It's never easy to apologize when we feel we've been wronged or offended in some way, we like to hold on tight to that wrong, like a hundred dollar bill in a wind storm. But sometimes, it's just so freeing to let go.

There are many approaches we can take, we can write a note and send it in the mail, we can make that all important phone call and apologize over the wire (as long as you have a moment to talk where you won't be distracted), or you can choose to talk to them in person. Any of these methods is acceptable and correct, it's just a matter of what feels most comfortable to you.

Unfortunately we are not in control of what the other person does when we choose to say we're sorry. The most important thing is that no matter what the other person says, that we accept it, and not try and justify our position. It's in our nature to want to defend ourselves, but when we've made the effort to put ourselves out there to say we're sorry, it's best to keep ourselves humble and not ruffle feathers again, even if you feel that the other person wronged you in some way.

That's the beauty of letting go and saying we're sorry, after that, we don't have to care anymore. We can let go of the friendship if we choose, take a break for a while, or pick up where we left things off (hopefully- if it's worth it), and you've done your part.

Try it sometime, you'll find yourself pleasantly surprised by the results of what saying "I'm sorry" can do.


O_o said...


You are so right, apologizing is very freeing! Great post, as usual.


Passarinho said...


I just found your blog today and I just wanted to say you are a big inspiration to live a happy, stress-free and relaxed life.
Thank you :)

Anonymous said...

It's great!!.............................................

Becky said...

Most of the time, my apologies are accepted. However, four years ago, I said something offensive about a classmate's father (a professor at the university we were attending). I didn't know that it would hurt my classmate's feelings, but apparently it did. At the time, when this conversation occurred, we were studying abroad in Germany. I made great efforts to apologize both in person and by leaving a note and a piece of candy in his mailbox. Both to no avail. From the end of April to the end of July there was only silence between us, but in August when we were getting ready to leave Germany, he did talk to me.

Today, I have no contact with him, but really it says more about him not accepting my apology than about me. Some people hold a grudge over an innocent comment (yes, the comment in retrospect wasn't nice toward his dad, but I didn't intend it to be offensive either). Sometimes holding a grudge and pleading for forgiveness can really ruin your day, week, summer, life, etc. What I learned from this experience is to remove myself from these personalities and surround myself with more forgiving, positive people.

lorrwill said...

I was recently complimented for owning up to a mistake I made. I have never been thanked for apologizing before. The person said that I admitted fault and took responsibility for my action was all that mattered.

Pleasantly surprised doesn't being to explain it.

So the adage that you apologize not for yourself, but for the other person can work out quite nicely if you are genuinely sincere about it.