by Janie and Luis Santiago
Saying I’m sorry isn’t always easy.
Many of us are unaware of how to properly deliver an apology. For the most part, men have a harder time with this than women. That’s because empathy comes more natural to women since it’s a feminine trait. We are literally wired to be more in tune with our feelings which makes it easier for us to empathize. That doesn’t mean men don’t have the capability.
Men also don’t typically admit when they’ve “messed up,” especially if it involves hurting someone’s feelings. It makes them uncomfortable, so they don’t say anything at all. In turn, women feel the men in their lives don’t care, when in actuality they just don’t know what to say. This drives most women crazy.
Still, when in a relationship, it is next to impossible for you and your partner to always say and do the right thing. If you are uncomfortable with owning your mistakes, you better start stepping out of your comfort zone. If you plan on having healthy relationships, you must learn how to properly apologize.
Being able to apologize creates more room for love and makes both of you feel better. Stubbornness never earns you brownie points and it certainly doesn’t ease tension. Some of us don’t have issues with saying sorry.
But if you keep saying sorry for the same things it can be equally damaging. It shows a lack of respect and creates trust problems in the relationship.
So, how do you start mending fences with that five-letter word? Here are some tips to remember on how to properly apologize in relationships.
BE SINCERE. An apology should always be sincere and genuine. The best way to convey that is by taking the following into consideration: timing, be specific, tone and eye contact.
TIMING. Own your mistake immediately. Waiting only creates more resentment and disappointment. The longer it takes for a man to say sorry the more hurt women usually are. They think, she’s upset so I better stay away, which is usually not what we want. Men, on the other hand, usually need alone time when they are hurt, mad, and disappointed.
So, ladies, if you go to apologize and they need more “cave time,” be respectful. Give them space without giving an attitude. They will come around when they are ready.
BE SPECIFIC. Saying “I’m sorry for ____” let’s the other person know you understand exactly what caused their discomfort. It leaves no room for confusion, and hopefully they remember so it doesn’t happen again. However, if someone repeatedly commits the same “offense” and is always apologizing it’s a sign they aren’t truly remorseful and don’t respect your feelings.
TONE: When you are genuinely remorseful there shouldn’t be any attitude in your delivery. If there is the person will easily detect it and won’t “feel” your apology is sincere. This is usually more damaging than not saying your sorry at all. Also, any defensiveness or justification of your actions only diminishes the apology. No excuses!
EYE CONTACT: An apology is always best when done in person. If you must apologize via a call, email or text, it’s always best to say it again in person. A hug is always a nice touch.
You’ve apologized, now what? Realize things may not go “back to normal” soon after an apology. This goes both ways. Ladies, if your man says sorry before you have finished processing your feelings, that’s ok. Just be sure to say. “Thank you for saying you’re sorry. It means a lot to me but I need more alone time.”
Being able to own your mistakes and apologize is an admirable quality. So is being able to accept an apology and move on. If someone sincerely apologizes you shouldn’t drag them through the mud again and again. If you choose to accept it, let it go; otherwise they feel “punished” for doing the right thing. Be especially careful of doing this to men. Always show appreciation and gratitude when they apologize properly; it’s encouraging. And don’t ever let pride or fear keep you from apologizing, or accepting an apology. It takes strength and humility to admit when we’ve made a mistake. Next time, instead of hoping the other person will just “get over it,” do the right thing. Be compassionate and apologize.
What’s the best apology you’ve ever heard? Share your story!
Luis Santiago and his wife Janie Terrazas-Santiago work as relationship and life coaches. To learn more about them, their services or to schedule a free coaching session visit their website at http://www.yourlovecoaches.com/.