How to Apologize

Posted by Nancy Mueller on Monday, December 6th, 2010
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Have you ever made a mistake but found it hard to apologize afterwards? You’re not alone. Elton John had it right when he sang: “Sorry seems to be the hardest word.” Ego and pride can get in the way, preventing us from using the opportunity to learn from our mistakes, make amends and restore trust with the person we’ve hurt or offended.

A genuine apology requires each of the following five components to be believed and accepted:

1. Admit you made a mistake.
2. Apologize with sincerity.
3. Acknowledge the inconvenience, frustration, or other negative impact on the other person.
4. Ask what you can do to resolve the situation.
5. Act to resolve the problem and ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

When done well, an apology restores trust and dignity, allowing the relationship between the abuser and the aggrieved to move forward in a positive direction.

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