How to craft the ‘perfect’ apology 1



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Ok, the first thing that you need to do is admit that you made a mistake. You may have said something wrong, something factually incorrect, or just had a “bad form” moment. It happens. The biggest thing you can do is at least make the apology just brilliant.

There are some no-go phrases that you need to avoid when making an apology. The use of one of these no-go phrases could make the situation worse, or could start the argument all over again.

Sarcastic apology. For example, “Soooooooorrrrrry!” or “Sorry, I guess I can’t do anything.”
Just because you said, the word doesn’t mean that it counts. Sarcasm has no place in an apology and will only make things worse.

“Sorry but you deserved it.”
This will not achieve anything. Essentially it says “I know I acted wrong but was justified.” You are never justified in acting poorly.

“I’ll apologise if you apologise.”
An apology with a condition is not an apology. Reverse the roles; if it’s not satisfactory to you, it won’t be to them.

“I’m sorry you feel that way.”
Don’t trivialise the feelings of the person you’ve done wrong. It’s the best way to make the dog house your permanent address

The actual apology has to be about the person you are apologising to and should not be about your feelings or opinions.

Be specific
“I’m sorry for…” just saying sorry is not going to be enough you need to detail the reasons that you are apologising. If you unsure about the reasons, that happens, then you might need to start with “I must have done or said something to upset you, I’m sorry and would like to discuss it.”

Acknowledge their feelings
“I understand that my words or actions caused you to feel…” This is going to go always to heal the temporary rift between you.

Actions speak louder than words
“I can’t change what has happened, but I can do something about it…” While, yes, these are words, it does point out that you are prepared to work hard and prove to them that you won’t cross the line again.

What you’ve learned
“I understand now that…” Show them that you learned something from the ordeal. That you understand completely what was wrong about the situation and that you will do your best to not do it again.

Even after the apology, there may be a need for some reflection time. So it’s best not to assume after the apology is accepted that it’s business as usual. Experts suggest that you say your peace and then give them space. Let them come to you and let you know that it’s all back to normal.

What are some of the best apologies you’ve done or heard? What types do you have for the perfect apology?

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The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. What a crappy, empty article….ooops…sorry..

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