When to Apologize and When Not To

Who among us hasn’t had to apologize for something? Everyone has reason to express genuine regret for behavior. If you’ve never felt the need to say you’re sorry, that’s another – probably larger – problem to address. (That thinking is likely related to this.)

But here’s the thing. When it’s time to apologize you have to be very certain your intentions are in the right place. If they’re not, it’s not the time to say you are sorry – yet. Here’s how you can tell.

  • If you want to apologize and also share why your behavior was justified, you’re not ready to say you’re sorry.  The underlying reason you’re apologizing is to get them to realize you were right — at least partially. And the best possible outcome for you here would be for them to admit to you that you were kind of right. Then you get to be a good person and right at the same time. Good luck with that.
  • You want the other person to think better of you than they may now as a result of what you did or said. This apology is only given in order for you to feel absolved of your poor choice. There’s no regret for the behavior, just regret because you look like a jerk.
  • You want to let them know you’re sorry they “feel that way.” That, buckaroo, is not an apology. That is wishing they felt differently but takes no ownership of the role you played creating that bad feeling.
  • You want to say the words and get it over with but you don’t mean it. People can see right through that and it backfires. Better to not say anything than to utter phony, insincere sentiments.

I’ve had to say I’m sorry plenty and sometimes it takes awhile. I have to get my head straight about my intentions and truly be sorry. Only then can the only kind of apology that matters be delivered – a selfless, sincere one.

I’ve got more tips like this that only take 60 seconds or less to read. You can get them here. You won’t be sorry.

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