Few words mean as much or as little as "I'm sorry."
On the surface, the phrase is an admittance that you were in the wrong, and you want to set the record straight, move on and let the argument or disagreement end after those two words are uttered.
But what if "I'm sorry" isn't good enough, more specifically if your apology falls on deaf ears because it truly comes across as insincere or ubiquitous in tone, delivery and meaningfulness.
The art of crafting the perfect apology typically goes far beyond simply saying you're sorry and hoping the issue falls by the wayside rather quickly.
Sure, if you buy the wrong toilet paper or show up late for dinner, the rudimentary and customary "I'm sorry" might get you through something minor, but what if your apology needs to pull at the heart strings, save a relationship or repair emotional damage done that isn't easily reversed?
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Piecing together the perfect apology is less about what you say and more about how you say, your body language and subsequent non verbal communication. Looking someone in the eyes, showing emotion and actually stating what you're sorry for goes a long way toward making your apology one that isn't formulaic and lacks specificity and character behind it.
Saying you are sorry says something, but sometimes not enough. You have to also admit that you're wrong, which often is left off the so called apology. The whole idea behind saying you're sorry is continuing that sentiment one step further and saying you're the one at fault.
An apology should also be introspective and detail exactly how your behavior and actions made the other person feel. Doing so shows empathy and allows the person you've hurt to understand that you're not saying you're sorry just because you feel like you have to but actually assessed the situation beyond mere words.
Furthermore, apologies should end with telling the person that you won't do it again. Now, that line often is just as questionable as the bland "I'm sorry," but that is where details come into play. You must muster up the "I'm sorry," but add "That behavior is unacceptable and insensitive, and won't happen again."
Those adjectives add the kind of power and presence behind the apology that will make it stick. Otherwise, it falls terribly flat upon delivery, even if you meant it initially.
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