Being in conflict with someone is always distressing. Conflicts are counter-productive and may even destroy personal relationships. One way to dissolve conflict is through an apology. A sincere apology can help you resolve conflicts and reach a better understanding with the other person.
The problem is that not everyone is comfortable with the act of asking for forgiveness. They may see apologizing as a sign of weakness, or an admission of their own faults.
An apology doesn’t have to mean that you are recanting all that you have said or that you necessarily agree with all the other person has said or done. But it might be appropriate to apologize for anything you have said or done that may have worsened the conflict, including any inappropriate, or inappropriately delivered responses.
Even though apologizing may not be easy to do all the time, several positive things can come out from admitting any mistake. First of all, apologizing can restore the order that may have caused the conflict. An apology can also reinstate your trust or loyalty. They may have perceived that you overstepped a boundary.
Another positive outcome of an apology is that you can re-establish the dignity of the person whom you may have hurt or had a conflict with. A sincere apology from you can affirm to them that you care about how they feel and that you did not intentionally want to hurt their feelings.
An apology can repair the relationship between you and the other person and it can make them feel emotionally safe with you once again. It will show your relationship with them is more important to you than your pride.
Lastly, an apology offers relief from the stress that you and the other person might be feeling because of the disagreement.
However, saying sorry should not just be done for the sake of ending the conflict. An insincere apology can do more harm than good. It can make the other person feel that you are not taking them seriously or that you are patronizing them. This could lead to more arguments and resentment in the future.
A sincere apology, simple as it may sound, carries a lot of weight, however, crafting the perfect apology may not be a simple task for you. A heartfelt apology, delivered at the right place and time, is a powerful tool that we all can use amid a disagreement.
Here are some steps you can take to help you provide an apology with all the right intentions.
Tell Them How You Feel
Admitting to others how you feel might be awkward but it can help you communicate clearly to the other person that you have committed a mistake and that you are not happy about it. It also makes them feel that you are humble enough to admit that what you did also affected you and that you take full responsibility for how you feel. Being open and vulnerable also builds connection and rapport with the other person and it signals that you are ready to rebuild the relationship.
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Acknowledge The Problem and Take Responsibility
Identify the behavior that caused or contributed to the conflict by carefully articulating it and without rationalizing or being defensive. Make sure that you fully understand what you are apologizing for and that you also understand where the other person is coming from.
Take responsibility by admitting how you contributed to the argument and how your actions may have hurt the other person.
By taking responsibility, you can develop a more positive relationship with them, which builds trust and respect.
Validate The Other Person
Empathize with them, and tell them you understand their reaction. You can ask them if they are ready to accept your apology or if they need more time. If the person is not yet ready to move on from what happened, give them more time as they may still have issues that need to resolve.
It takes a lot for a person to offer a sincere apology. It takes humility, self-respect, and empathy to acknowledge a mistake. It doesn’t matter who started the conflict. It’s not only about being right, it’s all about being kind and decent.