Growing up, I was taught that there are 5 magic words that can help you have successful relationships with people. The magic words are “Please”, “Excuse Me”, “Sorry”, “Thank you” and “Pardon me”. Apologizing is a great way to mend relationships because the truth is, offence is unavoidable. I have met people who told me they took offence just by hearing something someone said to her friend. But I believe that relationships should be intentional, and if people approach relationships with as much intentionality as they would the other things that they consider to be important to them, then the world would be a better place.
Now, do not say “I do not want to sound proud, but I rarely offend people!” First, that is pride! Secondly, even if you do not offend people (which is next to impossible), then people will definitely offend you.
So, I have had people ask me to teach them how to apologize when one or both parties are offended. Before I go ahead into how to apologize, I would like to give a few tips on how to handle relationships in such a way that apologizing comes easily;
Tips on How to Apologize or say sorry
Treat the other person the way you would want to be treated:
This is one of the most important tips for handling relationships, both platonic and romantic. I would definitely like to be respected, valued and loved in any relationship I am in (again, this could be platonic as well). Therefore, it is important that I treat the “other person” the same way I want to be treated. This mentality will translate into gentler actions and more appreciative words.
Do not be quick to blame
I believe that an apology is a heartfelt statement acknowledging that you hurt somebody’s feelings and the reason why you did it and why you would not repeat such an action again. Now, if you are apologizing and the person starts to tell you what you did, it is easy to throw blame. As easy as it is to do this, it makes you look insensitive towards the other person’s feelings. This renders your apology useless. A quick tip to do this is to start your sentence with “I want to apologize because I felt that…” This shifts the blame from the person and puts it on the offence, making the person feel valued.
Sorry messages example
With these tips, let me give you some examples of how to apologize or say sorry;
“Hi [Name], I know I made you get upset when I mentioned how ugly your dress was. I realize, in retrospect that I should not have said that. I realize that I would have gotten upset too and even reacted in a worse manner than you did. It would not happen again. I am sorry”.
“It’s easier to hurt other people’s feelings when one is not the one in the midst of the heat. I should not have thrown you under the bus, especially in front of the supervisor. I’m sorry”.
“I know I cannot undo the pain I’ve caused you, but I can make amends. You would have been there for me and I was not there for you. I am so sorry. Can we please fix a time to meet?”
Most people prefer hearing “I am sorry” than “I’m sorry” because it is more heartfelt, according to them. Remember, be honest, yet caring even when the person is at fault. Remember, your relationship should be worth more than your ego!