How to apologise like you mean it

For starters, stop saying ‘I’m sorry if you feel…’


KARACHI: People make mistakes. You’ve made them, we’ve made them. And it’s okay to, in fact, it’s important to express remorse for them. 

Here are some tips on how to apologise and actually mean it, and what not to do:

Read: Dalai Lama issues apology for ‘sexist’ remarks

1. Express remorse

It’s never too late to say you’re sorry, and repair relationships or rectify mistakes. It takes a simple, “I’m sorry” or “I apologise”. Of course, just these two words aren’t enough at times (most of the time). What follows is more important.

2. Don’t make excuses

Try to avoid explaining reasons behind what you did because these can come across as excuses. For example, these are excuses: “I’m sorry I’m late for this meeting, but I was caught up with some other work.” or “I’m sorry for being rude to you last night, I was having a bad day.” These are apologies: “I’m sorry I’m late for this meeting. I realise I’m taking up your valuable time and it will not happen again.” or “I’m sorry for being rude to you last night, you did not deserve that behaviour and I will do better.”

3. Don’t apologise for other people’s feelings

“Sorry if you feel like I was rude”. 

“Sorry if you were hurt”

“Sorry if I made you wait”

These are passive aggressive non-apologies which minimise the other person’s feelings and experience. If you do want to talk about the other person’s feelings, try “I can see you’re upset and that was not my intention” instead.

Read: Things Pakistani men need to stop saying to women

4. If possible, find a solution

Sometimes you can rectify the situation. If you’ve ruined a shirt you borrowed from a friend, apologise and offer to replace or compensate it; if you messed up an assignment, re-do it. 

5. Move on

After apologising, it’s important that you respect the other person. If they do not accept your apology, don’t fight it. If you are forgiven, learn from your mistake and try not to do it again. 

In conclusion, if you leave an insensitive or racially charged tweet and decide to apologise for it, do it like you mean it and not like someone forced you to do it. 

Thanks for coming to our Ted talk. 

 

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