“I’m sorry.” They’re two of the most powerful words when used appropriately. Too often these words aren’t used, or worse, they’re thrown around without any real thought or intent behind them. So, then, how do we apologize with sincerity?
Sorry is a great start. It’s 20%. What comes after we apologize is 80%.
For some, their first line of defense against any mistake or offense is immediate “I’m sorry.” Well, it doesn’t mean a thing when there is another offense five minutes later. As we learned how to say thank you, so much of it is about realizing and saying what we are sorry for, not only that we are sorry. There’s a huge difference between “I’m sorry” and “I’m sorry that I called you a cotton headed ninny muggins.” The first is a lazy way out while the second actually involves admitting and acknowledging what wrong we have done. Hopefully, the admission helps us realize what we shouldn’t do again.
It’s often better to not apologize than to give a blank apology. As with a blank thank you, some people have grown inclined to hearing these statements that way. They’ll accept both as is because, in today’s world, manners are fleeting more and more. What’ll separate us from the rest is the way we handle these two phrases.
More important, when we apologize, we must focus on what comes after. “I’m sorry I lied to you” means nothing if we turn around and lie again the next day or next sentence. Too many of those and our words fall ineffective. We must apologize, say for what, and then work to not commit the same act twice. Otherwise, we must stop apologizing and face that we don’t care about others as much as we like to pretend.
Apologies can be bad, okay, or good. Make yours awesome.