An apology can go a long way in conflict. Sometimes taking responsibility for the hurt we cause can be a powerful tool in repair. However, I find that we make some very common mistakes when trying to say we are sorry. Follow these tips to improve your apology skills.

  1. DON’T apologize for someone’s feelings.  This can start a whole new fight. It won’t feel genuine to the other person. It doesn’t say you are sorry for what you did. It says I am sorry you had feelings about what I did.
  2. DO apologize for your specific wrong doing. Make sure you know what you are apologizing for. It can go a long way when you can take responsibility for the specific hurt you caused someone else.
  3. DON’T make excuses. I am sorry but… is not an apology. It is more of a way to explain your behavior and that won’t feel soothing to the other person.
  4. DON’T expect an apology back. Hey, remember your only goal is to make sure the other person knows that you know you have made a mistake. If you are only apologizing to get one in return then your apology will appear to have another agenda.
  5. DO ask what you can do to make it better. Actively repair. An apology can go a long way but to seal the deal ask if there is anything they need.