Apologize or Not?

Fonzie -"Ralph, look, I was wrrrr."

The Fonz found it impossible to say, “I’m sorry” or “I was wrong.”
Politicians insult each other and are unwilling to apologize for their attacks. 

Parents scream at their children and are unwilling to apologize for their outbursts. 

Husbands and wives say hurtful words and are not apologizing for the hurt they caused. 

Some people find it very difficult to offer an apology - in any area of their lives, including marriage.

Pride stands between apologies and healing.

Why not apologize?

For most people, the unwillingness to apologize is defiance fueled by pride. See our next post for more on that topic!

Why apologize?

Apologizing means that I value our relationship more than my ego. 

Offering an apology is a giant step towards reconciliation in a relationship. Hurts can build a wall between two people. An apology takes a brick off the wall.

Most people think that saying, “I’m sorry” is enough of an apology.

For an effective apology, the person has to communicate a sincere heart.

Apology Helps
Credits to Cuppacocoa blog for these four simple points.
  1. I’m sorry for ……
    Be specific. Show that you really understand what they are upset about.
    • Wrong: I’m sorry for being mean.
    • Right: I’m sorry for saying that you are lazy.
  2. This is wrong because….  This is one of the most important parts. Until you understand why it was wrong or how it hurt someone’s feelings, it’s unlikely you will change. This is also important to show the person you hurt that you really understand how they feel.
    • Wrong: This is wrong because I got in trouble.
    • Right: This is wrong because it hurt your feelings and made you feel bad about yourself.
  3. In the future, I will…
    Use positive language, and tell me what you WILL do, not what you won’t do.
    • Wrong: In the future, I won’t get mad.
    • Right: In the future, I will be more patient and try to listen.
  4. Will you forgive me?
    You can’t make another person forgive you. Forgiveness is their part.
Apology Harms

Ways to ruin the effect of an apology:
  • Being insincere or angry when offering the apology. 
  • Blaming the other person for your actions. 
  • Making an excuse for what you did. 
  • Following your apology with “But…” 
  • Not looking at the person while you are apologizing. 
  • Not changing your behavior or attitude. 
Ways to insure that you probably won't get another apology:
  • Demanding an apology from the person who hurt you. (This is different from making your child apologize to another person.) 
  • Berating a person when he offers an apology. 
  • Being unwilling to accept the apology and forgive.

See our next post on Defiance, Pride, and Humility.