When you really need to apologize to your partner, you should understand the actual steps of apologizing to express your sincerity and avoid causing more conflict.
According to Roy Lewicki, professor of human resource management at the Fisher College of Business (Ohio State University, USA), there is a good apology structure that everyone should follow.
As an expert negotiator, Mr. Lewicki has spent years researching what constitutes an apology. Like any story, he believes apologizing must stick to a certain structure, including the following six steps.
1. Expression of regret
To start, simply tell the other person that you’re sorry for what you did. It is important that you do this part correctly, as it is the basis for the next steps. Intonation is very important. If you speak insincerely, in a sarcastic or annoyed tone, your words don’t make any sense.
“Try to express how sorry you are for the mistake. You can say ‘I’m really, really sorry’ and express a pang of remorse in it. In a sarcastic tone, saying, ‘I’m sorry if I offended you,’ reduces the listener’s confidence that you mean it,” Lewicki said.
If you do step one well, you will have a chance to explain to the other side that there is a reason behind the mistake made. If your partner thinks you made a mistake out of thoughtlessness or disinterest, talking about the actual reason later can calm them down.
This is hard to say for some people because it requires letting go of ego and being defensive. However, when you do something wrong, admit it.
The other party knows you have sincerity, knows where you are wrong and courageously accepts it. Blame only makes things worse.
Promise not to repeat
This is where sincerity comes into play. You have to promise not to let anything like that happen again. “In our study, we found that this step turned out to be the most important,” the expert said.
But Lewicki also notes that, once a promise is made, it must be taken seriously. If you promise and then make a mistake and apologize, no one will believe you anymore.
Let your partner know that you are not only apologizing, but also have a plan to correct the mistake. This action will in the long run make repentance words much easier to accept.
“If there is damage in your actions, offer to pay or repair that damage. If there is emotional damage, a bouquet of roses or a box of chocolates can help,” Lewicki said.
6. Please forgive
Interestingly, Lewicki’s research found this to be the least important element of an apology. If you’ve done the above five steps well, this step is just a formality.
“However, it also depends on the extent of the mistake. For example, forgetting to bring home pizza for dinner as promised is different from her finding out you are seeing a woman. But if the mistake can be corrected and the person making the error. shows that there will be no recidivism, it is likely that the basic desire to be rebuilt, but it will take time,” Professor Lewicki analyzed.
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