Apologizing is challenging not only because it is sometimes hard to do, but because it is difficult to know what to say. After listening to the most recent two-part podcast of Brené Brown’s Unlocking Us with Harriet Lerner I learned a few tips on how not to apologize.
Your apology should be about owning where you went wrong. This does not invalidate what would come after your “but”, it just means that your “but” should be saved for another conversation. Otherwise, there your apology does not feel sincere. For example, if you were tired and hungry and snapped at your partner, say “I’m so sorry I snapped at you.” At a later date, at least a week later, discuss that you are always short when you are tired and hungry and next time you will let your loved one know that you need space to minimize the likelihood of snapping—and ask that they respect your boundary and request.
No “I’m Sorry You Feel That Way”
This is not an apology. Period. If there is someone whose relationship you value and want to maintain, these 6 words can degrade your relationship. Yes, the words “I’m sorry” are part of the sentence, but the remaining 6 words remove your accountability. They may even make the person you are “apologizing” to feel invalidated. At the very least, they don’t feel heard and if you can’t hear someone you can’t see them.
Remove these two common mistakes from your apologies and you may find hurt feelings heal faster. Listen to the full podcast for tips on how to apologize.