I'm sorry. Two simple words that can seem like a loaded gun when you know you must say it or when you feel you deserve it. I'm sorry. Simple, to the point and easily understood. But how many "I'm sorry's" can one person forgive?
I've been reading a lot about this lately - it seems the new year is the perfect time to mend fences and attempt to make amends for the missteps, the thoughtlessness and the insensitivity of the past year. What's difficult, however, is to find the appropriate way to say the words especially if time has passed and parties have moved on. Because even if you have "gotten past it", even if you have swept it under the rug, chances are it's not forgotten. And although it's hard to fess up and say the words, it's even more difficult wait around hoping to hear them.
I came across a blog post just this morning about the essential elements of a true apology. I found it interesting and actually insightful that the author outlined 8 elements for getting it right. Most of us will find that these are not rocket science, they are not aha! moments or even that original. I re-post them here as a mere reminder - I'm sorry is only as good as the sentiment and delivery that goes along with it.
8 Elements of a Sincere Apology
- own it
- don't make excuses
- keep it simple
- be specific
- make it heartfelt
- put yourself in the shoes of the person you hurt
- think - what could you have done differently?
- take action
Reprinted from Jonathan Alpert How to Apologize and Get it Right Huffington Post blog post 1/14/2015