Whether you’ve pissed off your girlfriend, the girl you just met online, or a customer at work, here’s three steps to an apology that works every time.
1. Acknowledge The Problem
Restate the problem in a neutral way to assure your girlfriend that you’ve heard and understood her complaint. You may find out if that what you think you need to apologize for is not the actual problem.
I know that you’re upset because I missed your birthday party.
2. Align Yourself With Them
Tell your girlfriend that you can understand how they feel and that you would also be upset if that happened to you. This may hard, but be humble and realize that most unhappiness is caused by fear. Although you can’t understand why she sent you 90 text messages on Saturday night, you can relate to her being scared of losing you.
I would miss you terribly if I had a birthday party and you couldn’t come.
3. Assure Them It’ll Never Happen Again
This may not always be possible with every issue but the best tactic is to assure them the problem won’t happen again because you’ve solved the issue in some way.
I’ll make sure to save a vacation day for your birthday party now that I know how important it is to you.
Remember It Doesn’t Matter Who Is Right
Your time to argue for your cause was during the argument. Apologies are not about who is right, they are about making the other person feel better. Don’t try to “win” the argument during the apology.
Tell Us Your Apology Story
Leave a comment about your most difficult apology situation and how you did or didn’t succeed in wining the other person back.
Photo Source: Stephan Koo