Giving a sincere appology can be one of the most difficult steps we can take when it comes to mending a damaged relationship. I’m not talking about simply saying “I’m sorry” and then going about your daily business. I’m talking about really looking in to how your actions affected your wife, partner, friend or whatever the case may be, even if it is your teenage child. Sometimes we really get caught up in the blame game, or we focus on how much the other person affected us, then fail to recognize that we too may have been in the wrong. Here are a few tips that I have found to be helpful when running in to this problem on a regular basis and the suspected outcome.
First tip is to take a break. Whatever happened to cause the argument, or caused either party to become upset is not the end of the world. Things could be worse. Taking a break allows your body to come down from the excited, adrenaline fueled fight or flight syndrome(and I’m guessing it was in fight mode if you are in this situation) and allows you to begin thinking in a rational rather than a retalitory manner.
Next, examine the situation with as little bias as you can. This may requre you to put on your creative hat and look at the situation from the other person’s perspective. This is helpful in a number of ways. By looking at your own faults from another’s perspective you may gain some insight as to why that person is so upset. This can lead to a discussion in which the other person feels that you are at least trying to understand their position in the first place. As humans we don’t always seek just to be heard, but also understood.
Now comes one of the tough parts. Where did you go wrong. Likely you have already thought of a number of areas in which your partner, loved one, etc. went wrong, this isn’t important, where did YOU go wrong. It is safe to say that there was probably at least one area you could have done better. Start with this. If you are a humble person, and can see multiple areas, pick the most important. Once you have done this, put some thought in to how it could be done better next time. Now you have what you need to begin the process of getting back in track.
This will likely be the most difficult part of mending this relationship. Go to the other person and appologize. This is the best time because you have already taken the time to cool off, really think about your part in the matter and you are armed with an appology that is based on sincerity. Even if you are right in your position, appologize for what you have done wrong and you have just opened the door to mending your relationship and made it that much easier for the other party to do the same.