Is it ever too late to apologize?

Apologizing for Mistakes: 10 Tips for Apologizing

I would like to begin by apologizing for the following sentence. As compensation, I promise you 10 supportive things that you can smear into your pride's hair so that you can get the following off your lips better and faster:

"I am sorry."

Four words. And one of the most difficult sentences to pronounce. Even so, it is one of the most important in human relationships. To see why we are at the crucial moments Not apologizing and how to learn is essential to any relationship.

We offer apologies in many situations that do not require us to be. If someone speaks too softly (“Sorry, I didn't understand you.”), If someone bumps into us (“Oops, sorry!”) Or if we just hit someone no To be able to light one's cigarette (“I'm sorry, I don't smoke.”).

In situations that are important to us with people who are important to us, we repeatedly do not bring it to our lips, this sentence (not even the English version of "Sorry", which is so much easier for us otherwise). And the more important these people are to us, the more bitterly we fight for our rights - and thus make it worse. We prefer to swallow the apology down than our pride.
Despite knowing how damaging not speaking can be to a personal or professional relationship.

But what reasons are there, against better knowledge, to commit such stupid things?

Why don't we apologize?

Shame. When we've masterfully screwed up something even though we knew better beforehand - or at least during the time - it can be difficult to approach the person concerned about it. It's easier to pretend it never happened.

Proud. Apologizing is often difficult, especially for men. We don't like to admit mistakes (even if learning from mistakes is not really difficult). It's awkward to admit that we made mistakes. That we were wrong.

Anger. It is usually not the fault of a single person asking for an apology (more on that in a moment). Situations rock up, one word leads to another and no one pulls the brakes. Sometimes the anger at the way the other person hurt or attacked us is so great that we don't apologize for just that.

The realization: humanity

Naturally you are not always right. Naturally you don't always know everything better. But the belief in it is deeply anchored in us, so that in those critical moments we think it is so.

That is human, because it gives us security, self-confidence and the strength to even tackle a discussion and not to avoid it.

It is difficult to accept this crystal clear fact, but we do are not perfect. It's part of life. Not a new one, but an essential one.
Denying them isolates us from other people.
Accepting them makes us grow.

And forgive more easily.

When should we apologize?

Even if you are not alone to blame. Sometimes I don't want to apologize because I'm scared of being left alone with my apology. I wait for the point where the other person also apologizes for something.

I often wait in vain. “But he is also Guilt, why does he ask in such a Ton funny tone! " or If she hadn't said that, I would never have got angry! " are then my train of thought.

This is a sure way no Sorry to hear, because of course my negative thoughts also show up externally based on my mood.

It is never 100% the (unintentionally) faulty behavior of a single person. If the wife serves dinner with a grim expression and adds an edgy "Well-being!" can that is, she's tired of cooking after a hard day of her own.

But it is much more likely that she is worried about her husband's health because he works too hard. And that she wants to spend more time with him. But that's often difficult to put into good words if you don't feel valued.

Relationships are complex systems. Who started a quarrel is not only a childish question, but also a question that cannot be clarified, because you can always go one step further into the past and say the sentence "Yes, but ..." and a reason why you only reacted and therefore didn't really start.

However, it would be new to me if my counterpart had admitted a mistake at some point after such a "yes-but-chain" ...

Be right or be happy

It is nowhere near as important to prove to the other why you are not completely guilty. It is much more important (e.g. for the long-term wellbeing) to have healthy relationships, even if that means apologizing first. Feeling right but having irrevocably hurt your partner's feelings is not a good deal.
Being right doesn't keep you warm at night and isn't cozy either.

The chance that the upward spiral will begin and the other will also apologize is much greater if you take the first step and get the ball rolling.

Even if you haven't been caught. As a child, I once stole a plastic woodpecker from a savings bank. It was open house and the funny little critters to pin on the window pane were too fascinating for me to be Not pocketed one of them.

At home I put the woodpecker behind the sofa because my guilty conscience was unbearable. When the wind-up plastic animal had been lying there unused for a week, I went to my mother and confessed what I had done to her. I cried bitterly and sobbed my apologies to her.

When she laughed and hugged me and said that the woodpeckers were gifts from the bank to advertise, the world was all right again for me.

Even as an adult, a guilty conscience can be unbearable. It is great to apologize for something that might not have been found out. But it is precisely for this reason that it makes the apology so meaningful and powerful.

Timely. The longer you wait to apologize, the deeper the anger of the other person digs into it, the more difficult it becomes for him to forgive and accept the apology without letting go of frustration again. Perfectionism is not the order of the day here, so the perfect sorry poem must be there after 4 weeks. Time heals wounds. But letting too much of it pass also creates wounds.

Immediately admitting your mistake and saying that it was just stupid, rude, hurtful, or wrong shows that you are self-aware and self-reflective. You can no longer undo what has been said (and done). But one can ask for forgiveness and learn from it.

That one should apologize is clear. Just how?

How to apologize

One should not apologize for the things that are really not to be blamed for. That would be dishonest and would miss the point of debt relief. There would be nothing from which one can take the blame (or other, as in the old days, with a “please excuse me”).

Here are 10 tipsthat facilitate the path of apology and make apology effective.

1. Be honest

Since it is the most important rule for me to apologize, it is at the beginning. A dishonest "I'm sorry" is worse than no apology. It would be an attempt to find the easy way out of an argument. Especially people who are close to us notice this quickly.

Dishonest apologies easily come up with the question “What exactly are you sorry about?”, Because a muttered apology for apologizing is superficial.

You can always find things (no matter how small they are) that could have gone better. And for the bigger ones, for which one has not yet apologized want, one can ask for an explanation of what was hurtful or wrong about it.

If the other person is human enough to follow up on this request and not answer it with a “If you the don't know, then it doesn't matter anyway! ", then it is much easier for the" guilty party "to say" I'm sorry "in an understanding.

2. Write it down instead of saying it

For many, it is easier to write down an apology. Maybe because you are not interrupted. Possibly because pride or shame are less important when writing than when addressing them directly. Maybe because you have the time to find the right words or not to forget them in excitement.

While a face-to-face apology is the optimal solution (in my opinion, at least), a written apology is better than none and can greatly slow or even stop the other person's anger from digging in.

3. Humor about yourself

Humor in the right place can often dissolve a stuck situation. Those who can laugh at themselves find it easier to apologize and experience has shown that they can make others laugh.

4. Take responsibility without "but"

Saying "Yes, but ..." is just as critical as an apology that is not meant seriously. An excuse in the same sentence as the apology completely ruins the apology and undermines honesty and sincerity. Everything that gets stuck with the other person is a new reproach.

So: swallow "but", make a point and thus take responsibility. After that there is more space for the said upward spiral. (As in "You're right. I admit, I was also unfair to you ...")

5. To apologize means to show understanding

Saying (or writing down) that you understand why the other is angry or disappointed shows that you have thought about the effects and consequences of your own actions. That is sympathy.

Nobody wants to hear an apology from someone just because they think it's their duty.

6. Offer to make it up to you

You cannot undo what has happened, but you can try to compensate for it. This soothes the other and also takes away the guilty conscience of still being indebted to the other person.

However, this assumes that the error is actually ticked after a reparation has been made. Nobody will apologize more often or faster if the mistakes are still smeared on the bread in the future.

7. Vow to do better in the future

“Promise” does not immediately mean that you “promise” something. While it could be argued that you don't make mistakes twice that you feel sorry for, we - and I cannot stress it enough - are only human.

As much as I try, I will still lose my patience out of tiredness and say something wrong. But it will happen less often. And less often. And that is worth striving for.

But how easily a patient time without arguments and the hard work behind it can be ruined if one has promised that it “will never happen again” and then does happen.

However, some things shouldn't happen twice. And then it certainly makes sense to make a promise.

8. Take it in your arms

When the relationship allows, a hug to an apology is gold. Often there is still a bit of defiance or anger left. However, physical contact is so important to us humans that it often makes forgiveness possible and easier on its own.

9. Don't “just” excuse: Put words into action

In the end, every apology is measured by whether something has improved. After the apology is before the apology. The behavior in between should show that you were really sorry for what you apologized for.

10. Don't apologize too much

Following the deeds does not mean that you stand at the door with flowers for your partner every other day and make remorseful kippers. It means that you take what happened to heart and turn a mistake into a helper.

Once you've apologized, that should be enough. Even a second time is often still good for the person concerned, at least. Continuing to apologize for the same mistake no longer has anything to do with a healthy and equal relationship.

Someone who demands apologies over and over again and cannot forgive should consider why this is and whether there are more fundamental things wrong.

Either someone accepts an apology or they don't. To say that a mistake is forgiven and later to bring it back as evidence of a past weakness is nothing more than a dishonest apology.

Whichever path you choose - in the end it is more important that You apologize. The How is then the freestyle.


Practical, Needs, Learning, Change, RandomAuthenticity, Apologize, Apology, Failure, Humanity, Shame, Guilt, Apologize, Pride, Quarrel, Deeds, Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Pardon, Anger