Tendering a genuine apology when an apology is due can go a long way to repair a disconnection following a fight. Here's how to apologize wisely and well.
The next time you offer an apology--or, you're on the receiving end of an apology that doesn't cut it-- remember this:
1. A true apology needs to be sincere.It should not be a quick way to get out of a predicament or a fight.
2. A true apology does not include the word “but” (“I’m sorry, but …”). “But” automatically cancels out an apology, and nearly always introduces a criticism or excuse.
3. A true apology keeps the focus on your actions—and not on the other person’s response. For example, “I’m sorry that you felt hurt by what I said at the party last night” is not an apology. Try instead, “I’m sorry about what I said at the party last night. It was insensitive and uncalled for.” Own your behavior and apologize for it—period.
4. A true apology doesn’t get caught up in who is to blame and who started it. Maybe you’re only 14% to blame and the other person provoked you. It can still help to simply say, “I’m sorry for my part in this.”