“Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”
When an apology is made it is to show remorse for actions and acknowledge the hurt a person caused someone else. The benefits of an apology to the person is to help rebuild trust, reopen communication, and re-establish a relationship and restore integrity in the eyes of other. It can also begin the healing process and provide opportunity to discuss what happened. This will lead to better understanding between both parties in the future.
An apology is an important step although it does take courage. The consequences of not apologising can have a significant impact. Not only will it cause irreparable damage to the relationship but also can cause rifts in associated relationships.
Occasionally they may be insincere which are equally damaging. This is as the offencive act is often repeated. The cycle of hurt followed by insicere apology can be very painful. Overtime it can impact someone’s mental wellbeing.
In this post I am going to take a detailed look into what true apologies look like. This is both in terms of actions and some key spoken indicators to look out for.
An apology doesn’t negate the existence of the original action only corrective actions can do this. Therefore, an important part of an apology is the corrective action. If someone apologises for taking a top that doesn’t belong to them then they should return it. Just like if you complain to a store for over charging you then you would expect them to refund the difference as well as say sorry.
If the same behaviour is repeated after someone apologises then their apology is empty. The person most likely doesn’t understand the issues with their actions/words. In this case, it is important to remember that it is not your responsibility to make someone else change. You can only respond accordingly with your own wellbeing as the priority.
To feel like a good person
In some circumstances you may need to find an alternative method to heal as the offended doesn’t wish to hear from you. An apology isn’t solely to make you feel like a nicer or to prove you are the “bigger” person.
There are also some key indicators in apologies which can be heard. These words imply insincerity and therefore are not apologies at all. Below are a few:
“sorry you were hurt by…”
This is in fact a non-apology which is more tacticle than actual. This could also mean that the behaviour is not understood and therefore likely to happen again.
A meaningful apology accepts a level of accountability if someone includes “but” in their apology, they are about to excuse themselves. There is no excusing if someone is hurt by the words you have said, for example, their feeling is correct, and your words did cause this. This is where the apology needs to come from irrespective as to whether when you intended to cause the offence or not. In one of my previous posts I discussed those who try to point blame at others for their actions.
“you said/did…. first”
Irrespective as to who is to blame, an apology is regarding your part. Like the above, this isn’t accepting any form of fault and is reversing it on to you.
It is your choice whether you accept an apology or not equalily whether you feel you require one. That said, a remorseful person would seek to apologise where you have been hurt. This is also without the expection that this should be accepted by you. Although hurtful, an insincere or complete absence of an apology implies a low concern for the relationship or a threat to their self image. These are particularly important to remember no matter what direction you decide to move forward with them.
Are there any you feel I missed out? Would love to hear your thoughts below.
- 12 Rules Of Basic Etiquette [Londoners perspective]
- Why we interrupt (and how to stop)
- Signs Of Emotional Immaturity You Need To Know
- This Is How Much SPF You Need To Use
- How You Know If Their Apology Is Sincere