How to Apologizebymoonstormer©
In the last few years, it has come to my attention that some people are really bad at apologizing. I'm not entirely sure why this is, but has become increasingly obvious to me. Apologies can easily seem half-assed and meaningless, but a real apology is priceless. It's not about groveling for forgiveness; it's about showing remorse and trying to make the situation better.
Below, you will find some key points of how to apologize to a woman. Men usually don't comment on the quality of an apology, nor do they seem to criticize an apology when they receive one; therefore, it is safe to assume that this form works for both genders, although I would be happy to hear if any men contradict this.
1) The first step is to actually utter the words "I'm sorry". Now, this may sound rather simple, but it's almost scary how many people have a hard time with those words. Of course, the words themselves are not enough. If you scream them, or say them in a way that sound devoid of emotion, these words will be meaningless. They only have power when they are uttered with a tone of remorse.
2) Next, you must acknowledge what you did. This can be a range of things, but should always include the action/words that caused this apology to be necessary, as well as whatever pain and suffering came along with that. It is not enough to just apologize for some vague thing -- this step is necessary for making the person who has been hurt (sometimes both parties) feel that their concerns have been heard.
3) Beyond that, you must admit that your actions were wrong. Sometimes just using that word can make all the difference. If you skip that part, the other person will assume that you feel justified in your actions, and the apology will be nullified. Of course, there are situations where you do not think all your actions were wrong. In this case, state those actions you do believe were wrong, and clarify your others in the next step.
4) Now, it is necessary to explain your intent. Usually, when people do something that necessitates an apology, they were trying to do something else and something went wrong. As such, it is important to explain what you were trying to do when things went awry. Of course, it is important to explain that this is NOT AN EXCUSE! You are not trying to get away with what you did, but just make it clear that it was not your intention to upset the other person. You can even say outright, "This is not an excuse. I want to explain why I did what I did, but I am not trying to say that what I did was the right thing to do."
5) This is the part that most people forget to do. This when it is important to explain what the person means to you, and how much you want to make amends. This makes any apology go above and beyond, to the point of actually helping to move towards reconciliation. You wouldn't apologize if you didn't want the other person to accept your apology, so make sure they know what your relationship (working, friendship or otherwise) means to you, to let them know that it has some value to you and is worth fixing. If appropriate, this can be a good time to give the person a compliment (that is in some way connected to the precipitating incident) and explain the importance they have in your life; you have hurt this person, it's time to try to make them feel better.
6) Repeat these steps until your apology is accepted and you are able to make peace with the person.
7) Be open to letting them say what hurt/bothered them. Even if they've already told you before. Sometimes they will need to say again why they are upset. PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT THEY SAY! This is what you must mention again in steps two and three. If they feel the need to repeat it, it is probably because they do not feel that you have heard them/understood. If, after repeating step two twice or more, ask them if you have covered everything or left anything out. Remember, you want to make sure they know that they've been heard, and sometimes just checking will make them know that this is important to you and that you really want to make sure you understand why they are upset.
8) At the beginning of the next conversation, it is helpful to just make sure the person is feeling okay. Sometimes, new things bubble up after an apology, and if you want to move forward in peace with that person, just make sure that everything is still as you left it at the end of your apologetic conversation.
Of course, every person has their own style, and specific things that may be more or less important to them. However, if you follow these steps, your apology is more likely to be successful. Now remember, if it is insincere, the other person will know! These steps will only work if you truly feel remorse, and are just unsure of how to express it.