Dr. Fredric Neuman author of Worried Sick? the Exaggerated Fear of Physical Illness gives the following advice.
Elements of A True Apology: What’s the point?
At the very least, an apology says, “I care.” It says, ”I acknowledge that you exist, you count as a person.” It brings the relationship into focus and reintroduces respect to the interaction. Apologies remind us to be basically polite, generally civil, and decently sympathetic. There is value in that.
Apologetic Pretense: What is your “sorry” saying?
At their worst, and most annoying, apologies are manipulative or self-serving. Most of us are familiar the following types:
- The Peace Keeper apology: Aimed at smoothing things over, this apology tends to be divorced from the relationship realities. It just ends up feeling patronizing and unconvincing.
- The “Under Orders” apology: A true power play, the offender’s needs go unmet until he or she caves to demands for an apology by the injured party. Any true feelings of regret are usually overridden by resentment.
- The Postponed apology: Previous hurt or rejection keeps this apology from coming and exacerbates the injury between parties. Disappointment and distance result.
- The Perpetual apology: The apology that never ends. The apology is usually part of an ongoing series that, after a while, doesn’t amount to much for the receiver.
- The Un-apology: An attempt to shut down interaction, this apology usually follows repetitive, unrepentant behavior. The injured party may want to reevaluate the relationship.
- The MIA apology: Never to be seen or heard, this apology is not forthcoming and may indicate excessive pride or some other character weakness.
- The Political apology: A catchall admission that sounds contrite, but stops short of accepting any lasting consequence for wrongdoing.
Most people are looking for more than the mumbled “sorry” compelled on playgrounds or the sheepish shoulder shrug of someone caught in the act. What do we want “I’m sorry” to mean?
Real Regret: Are you really sorry?
Sincerity is paramount. Can the offender see and care about the injured person enough to focus there and freely make amends? It doesn’t have to be difficult. Any relationship, even the happiest couple, will experience its share of hurt feelings Apologizing inspires tolerance, trust, and closer connection.
So say you’re sorry. And mean it.
Read the full article here: Demanding An Apology
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