So let’s go over the steps of an actual apology, shall we? Because apologizing like a BOSS is a sign of growth and shit. It’s something to do when you’re about good karma and being a better person and shit.
1. Say you’re sorry.
This seems self-explanatory, but just in case – literally say the words, “I’m sorry.”
2. Acknowledge the other person’s feelings.
Show some empathy…or at least comprehension of their side of the matter. “I understand you were in pain when I dropped that sledgehammer on your foot.”
3. Take ownership and explain how you’re going to avoid the action in the future.
This lets them know you see your part and you’re willing to take steps for them to feel safe around you again. “I was careless with the sledgehammer, and in the future, I will be far more cautious about how I handle it!”
4. Ask for forgiveness.
No one owes you forgiveness; it’s an act of grace for them to forgive you. Treat it that way. “Can you forgive me?” (Don’t overthink it, man.)
That’s it. Nowhere in there is “justify/explain why what you did wasn’t your fault/so awful/whatever.” Your intent does not negate the impact of your actions. If I accidentally hit your foot with a sledgehammer, your foot is still as broken as if I’d done it on purpose, and I’m still responsible for that. It’s alright to offer an explanation if you are asked for one or if that explanation also still acknowledges your responsibility for what happened.
Here’s a blank form for you to use:
I’m so sorry I ____________. I understand you felt ______________. I was wrong, and in the future, I will _______________. I really hope you can forgive me.
In writing this, I am assuming you actually want to offer a sincere apology to the person you’ve hurt. If that’s NOT the case, then carry on with a cruddy, no-good apology, my friend. You do you.
Wife to Bill.
Mother of Matt, Lenna, and Tricia.
Managing Editor of Audaciously Fat.
Mammalian servant to an avian despot, Courtney Lovebird.
Deliriously happy about all of it.