Why You’ll Never Hear Me Say, “I’m Sorry”
How many times a day do you apologize simply for apologizing? Do you mean it?
You’ll almost never catch me say, “I’m sorry.”
It’s not because I am cold and heartless, or because my pride is too much to bear… but because I don’t mean it.
I’m Sorry Is A Bad Habit
It’s probably happened to you – you’ve grown accustomed to apologizing for the sake of apologizing.
You’ve found yourself apologizing for bumping into someone in the grocery store, even though they walked into you. Perhaps out-of-the-blue traffic made you a few minutes late to work, so you apologize to your boss. Maybe you’ve served your guests a store-prepared meal and they got ill. Do you see a common denominator?
None of those incidents are your fault, so what are you sorry for?
If you’ve fallen into this guilty trap, it’s important to recognize how many times a day you utter the words, “I’m sorry.”
It may even seem as effortless to you as saying “God Bless You” after a friend or colleague sneezes.
Apologizing without great thought and heartfelt hesitation should not be effortless. Showing someone that you are truly sorry needs to come from the heart. It needs to have meaning. It needs to have value.
Think About It
How many times can you cry wolf before those around you consider yourself easy to take advantage of?
What do you think of a business that constantly apologizes for poor service but never offers a refund or discount. Do you stay with that company?
When is the last time you truly meant that you were sorry, and when is the last time you said sorry as a default response?
Add Value To Your Apology
This time you are sincerely sorry. You want to do right by your family, friend, colleague, or customer. Show them with heartfelt actions how sorry you are. Forget the text, the generic email or Facebook message. Do something extra-ordinary. Always try to apologize in person, or go out of your way to call or skype them when they least expect it. Express that you are genuinely apologetic, and you want to do right by them.
Always go the extra mile. Apology actions are highly valuable steps you will take to surprise them and make them feel as if you’ve given your apology great thought. Deliver them fresh flowers from their favorite florist, make a donation in their name to their favorite charity, treat them to Amazon Prime, or treat them to coffee or dinner at your place. Re-organize your schedule for their convenience when possible, as putting them first will really impress them. (It’s not often these days that someone takes time out of their busy day to commit to something for someone else.)
Maintain The Value
Never repeat the same “apology action” twice. Repeating a trip to their coffee shop to let them know you are sorry decreases value (unless they specifically ask for this). They’ll learn to expect it, and they will no longer feel that you went out of your way or gave your apology great thought. This would put you back at apologizing out of habit.
Instead, be mindful of your actions in the first place. Try not to put yourself in a position where you might regret a decision. (Yes, sometimes this is not possible, but do make a conscious effort to try.)
When someone bumps into you because they are too busy to look up from their phone, hold back from automatically apologizing. If you have the urge to say something, don’t be nasty. When in doubt, compliment them. If a compliment doesn’t roll off the tongue naturally, don’t say anything at all. Calmly continue about your way.
Consciously performing these small exercises will help you realize how often you apologize as a default response, and will prevent you from over-apologizing.
By apologizing only in true times of true sincerity, you’ll find those around you will value your words and apology actions, and in turn, value you.
Less is truly more.
What are ways you’ve gone out of your way to apologize to someone?