How To Make An Apology

Apology on Van

Press Association/Associated Press

This week a man in the UK demonstrated a new and creative way of making an apology to his lover. He parked a van, labeled with a confession, at the intersection of a major thouroughfare.

While we’ll probably never know the outcome of his apology you really do have to give him style points for trying.

The hard thing about apologies is often in knowing whether or not you’ve made a good one.

You’ve probably seen a bad apology before.

Like that time the Baseball player apologized for nothing in particular, and who could forget the “apology” Chris Brown made to Good Morning America?

Here’s something I’ve learned over the years: If you ever end up having to make an apology for the apology that you just made, then you are probably also, like me, a man.

You’ve probably also been on the recieving end of a bad apology before.

Like that time somebody blamed circumstances or another person.

Or that other time when somebody apologized for “if what I did offended you”.

Maybe they apologized to you by text, email, or twitter.

Sometimes a person’s apology features a giant ” but…” somewhere along the way

Some people think that just saying “sorry”, and then sighing, counts for something.

The fact that you know just what I’m talking about suggests that the state of the American apology is in disarray.

So what does a good apology look like?

Having apologized and failed many times has taught me a good deal about how to make an apology that means something to the offended person.

Follow these 5 tips and you’ll never have to wonder if you simply made a mistake, or you are an actual jerk.

1.) A good apology takes responsibility for what happened.
Real apologies announce that the buck stops with me. Any blame dodging or shifting nullifies an apology.

2.) A good apology includes an expression of regret.
Just so we’re clear, “Wishing it never happened” isn’t the same as “Wishing you’d never done it.” Making regret personal goes an awful long way.

3.) A good apology includes asking for forgiveness.
This means putting the power over the relationship in the hands of the person you’ve hurt. This is something that most of us are unwilling to do, but it is also the truest demonstration of sincereity.

An apology isn’t an apology unless it’s sincere.

4.) A good apology doesn’t make demands of the person who is being apologized to.
Pressuring the person that you’ve hurt is actually just telling them, “This apology isn’t about making you feel better, it’s about helping me feel less bad.”

5.) A good apology offers to make restitution.
Offering to make things right, or to patch things up with other people, demonstrates a willingness to go above and beyond in the area of personal responsibility. It’s a willingness to look bad in front of others so that nothing lies between the you and the injured party.

—- —-

So how did our car park apologist do? The true answer lies with the wounded party but if I’m being frank, it really sounds like the last gasp of a man who believes that his public self-shaming will earn him one last shot.

The most important lesson to be learned here is that getting good apologies begins only after we start making a good apologies.

Don’t expect something from someone else that you aren’t willing to give yourself.

“Sorry” is no longer cutting it.

4 Responses to “How To Make An Apology”

  1. Evan Batch September 23, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    Wow!!! This is fantastic! I’m going to re-read this another 40 times, as well as read it to my kids and explain It to them as best as I can.

    • Jon September 23, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

      Thanks Evan, hope you are well!

  2. Karen Batchelor September 25, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

    Evan told me to read this blog post and I have since encouraged all my friends to read it.

    I look forward to reading your future posts.

  3. Jon September 25, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    Thanks Karen, hope you guys are well!

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