There are times in life when we need to apologize, but there’s more to it than just casually saying, “I’m sorry.” To make sure your apology comes off the right way and conveys how you feel, avoid these common apology mistakes.
- You Say, “I’m sorry, but…”- Adding that “but” to the end of an apology undermines the sincerity of what you just said. The most successful apologies are short, genuine and include three parts: acknowledging how your action affected the person, the actual “I’m sorry,” and the plan for what you’re going to do to make sure it never happens again.
- You Say, “I’m sorry you felt…”- Lots of us make this mistake, but it pretty much invalidates the feelings of the person you’re apologizing to and puts the blame on them. Saying you’re sorry they felt hurt or sad or whatever they felt means you’re sorry they felt that way but not sorry you did it. If forgiveness is your goal, be sincere and humble.
- You’re over-explaining- A lot of explaining can start to sound like an excuse, so if you’re trying to give a reason why you treated someone a certain way, keep it short and simple.
- Your timing is off- If you say sorry too soon, people might not be ready to hear it yet and need time to cool down first. And on the flip side, if you wait too long to apologize, it may look like you don’t really care. So try to find the sweet spot in the middle, but also remember, better late than never.