Nothing could be further from the truth. It takes great strength to step forward and admit when one is wrong.
For those who find it difficult to apologize, the following seven simple tips may help.
1. Take responsibility and apologize as soon as possible. Delaying your apology may appear less sincere or that you are just doing so because you got caught. However, never avoid saying you are sorry for something just because you think too much time has passed. A late apology is better than no apology at all.
2. Before you offer an apology, try to organize your thoughts. Think about what you are apologizing for, as well as how the other person might have been affected. If you don't, then your apology may appear disingenuous.
3. Try to offer an apology face to face. Look the person in the eye and speak candidly. An apology sent via mail (or email) may lose much in translation and not appear authentic.
4. State what you did wrong, as well as the pain and suffering your actions might have caused. This helps the person to whom you are apologizing understand that you are sincere and that you understand that your actions were hurtful.
5. Avoid making disclaimers such as, "I am sorry, but ... ." This sounds more like a justification than an apology. Also, avoid using phrases such as, "I am sorry you feel that way," or "I am sorry, you must have misheard me." These phrases appear as if you are blaming the very person to whom you are apologizing.
6. Try to repair the damage. Don't be afraid to ask what you can do to correct your mistake or to help right the wrong that you have done. Often, there is nothing you can do, but you should still make a heartfelt offer.
7. Be tolerant of those who might not be ready to accept your apology. For some, hurt feelings die hard and patience must be exercised until that person is ready to accept your reconciliation. Some might be so upset with your actions that they need time before they will be able to listen to you. Be prepared to accept the consequences.
Pam Harvit, M.S., is a certified corporate etiquette and protocol consultant. She is employed by Merck and Co. and lives in Charleston. Reach her at phar...@suddenlink.net.