When you’re in a spot of conflict, it can be extremely stressful and upsetting. More than likely, you want to end the situation as soon as possible, and know that what’s going to solve it is an apology. However, what kind of apology is best?
Did you know that the way you apologise can be a sign you are emotionally immature? If you’re saying sorry, but coming off as defensive, or insincere, you could actually be making the situation much worse.
Whether arguing with a partner, colleague, friend or family member, it’s important to address and frame your apologies in the correct way to ensure you get the correct message across. This is because a fake apology is what someone does when they feel socially obligated to apologise, but they’re not really sorry. Basically, if you can’t apologise from the heart – don’t bother!
Here are 6 emotionally immature apology messages to remember (not to say!) the next time you’re in a spot of bother…
#1 I’m sorry but…
You’re saying sorry, but you’re already raising a counterpoint – which means that your apology is irrelevant. This is often called a non-apology apology or a backhanded apology, because it is a form of saying sorry that does not express remorse. Until you’re ready to say sorry without the ‘but’, don’t say it.
#2 Sorry you feel that way
This is a way of blaming the other person for your actions. It does not admit there was anything wrong with YOUR remarks or actions and implies the person took offense for hypersensitive or irrational reasons. You are likely to make the situation much worse by saying this.
#3 Sorry, no offence
This is a ‘catch-all’ apology by way of being able to say anything you like, no matter how rude – and then say “no offence” to stop the other person being upset. Of course, you may not have meant offence, but this set of words is mostly used by the people who want to hurt and then make out they didn’t mean it.
#4 Sorry. Let’s forget it.
What does this achieve? Not a whole lot. You’ve said sorry, and you want to move on – but is that issue actually resolved? Why not have a proper conversation after you apologise, before moving on so quickly. This aversion to speaking about issues in depth really shows emotional immaturity.
#5 Sorry but I’m just being honest!
This one is a hybrid of ‘no offence’ and ‘I’m sorry, but’. You’ve got the apology in there, and the justification but does it actually stand up as an apology? Not really. This is used when someone is attacking another. Sometimes people need others to be honest with them, and in that case you don’t really need to apologise at all. Save the sorrys for when you really need them.
#6 Okay, it’s all my fault
Now you’re being defeatist! Is it really all your fault? Take a beat and see if you’re actually conceding fault, or if you just want to move on from the situation quickly. Don’t take on undue blame!
What Does A Good Apology Look Like?
Real apologies should be honest and heartfelt. I’m not talking about the little ‘sorry’ you might say if you accidentally bump someone, but more about when you’ve done something wrong and want to right it, instead of brushing it off or trying to share the blame. A good apology should consist of:
- Freely admitting fault
- Fully accepting responsibility
- Humbly asking forgiveness
- Changing your behaviour and keeping to it
- Actively rebuilding the trust you lost
“I am really sorry that I made you feel the way you did. It was wrong of me and I take full responsibility for my actions. I would be honoured if you could find it in yourself to forgive me. I’m aware my behaviour was wrong and have been working on ways that I can react differently next time. I hope that in time, I can show this change in behaviour so that you can begin to trust me again.”
Looks a little bit more advanced than a simple ‘sorry’, right? It is, and honestly, it’s difficult to say sorry – no one wants to be in the wrong. But trust me, your relationships and the person receiving the apology will definitely thank you for it!