Do you know someone who is unable to admit they are wrong or made a mistake? What about a person who cannot forgive and holds grudges? They are very difficult to be around, are they not?

The ability to make and accept an apology is a sign of strength, compassion, and humility.  It is a very important communication skill worth mastering, my friend.

Today at Launch-lead we are exploring:

  • Do’s and don’ts of apologizing
  • Reframe the situation: how would you feel?
  • How to gracefully accept an apology

Perhaps the easiest way to break down an effective apology is to look at a simple chart of do’s and don’ts:

Look at the person directlyWrite it in a text, say it in person
Identify exactly what you are sorry forJust say “sorry” and that be the end
Say WHY you are sorryReflect back “sorry you feel that way”
Offer to make it up to them if you canNeglect to make it right if you can
Say it with a sincere voiceSpeak fast, too quietly, or sarcastically
Ask their forgivenessAct like it was no big deal
Tell them it will not happen again Do it again

Reframe the situation: Too often people do not put themselves in the other person’s place and think about how they would feel if what they did was done to them. It is easy to think WE wouldn’t be upset…they are overreacting and need to get over it.

 Perhaps it is true that YOU would not be upset, but this is where compassion and humility come in.  Show the other person you value how they feel with a well-designed apology.  It will pay off in a stronger, healthier relationship, trust me.

The other side to consider is how to gracefully accept an apology.

If someone has offended you and is sincerely apologizing and making effort to make the situation right, a tactful acceptance of the apology is in order to mend the relationship.  It takes a humble person with compassion to not want to make the offender “pay” for their actions.

Here are some hints for humbly accepting an apology:

  • Listen to the whole apology without interrupting or portraying negative body language
  • Put yourself in their place, objectively, and try to understand their side
  • When they are finished, explain your feelings if it helps
  • If you care about this relationship, and believe they are sincere, accept their apology
  • Move on and do not hold it against them in the future

Everyone at times finds themselves in need of making or accepting an apology, whether with family members, friends, at work, or in any other group setting. Be the mature, humble person who values relationships enough to take the time to craft apologies well and kindly accept sincere apologies. Your relationships will be richer for it.

-Jan Jones

For more on how to make an effective apology: