Monday, January 20, 2014

Manners Monday: How to Apologize

Today's post is short and to the point, the way an apology should be. If you've ever found yourself in a situation where you need to say "I'm sorry" and wondered if you said enough or not enough, given the circumstances, here are some quick tips on how to apologize and say I'm sorry with class. The suggestions below are for a more formal apology, which is a bit different than apologizing to your husband, child or best friend.

1. Apologize in a Timely Manner- Even though a lady always strives to be pleasant, kind, cordial and considerate of others, she is only human and makes mistakes on occasion. It is important that an apology be made immediately upon realizing the error of her ways and not allow time to create further upset.

2. Make Eye Contact- As with all conversations, especially with an apology and to show sincerity, it is important to make direct eye contact (when speaking to someone in person vs. over the phone) and humbly apologize for what has taken place. Perhaps you were a guest at a dinner party and spilled a bit of wine on the sofa while relaxing in a conversational area. Keep your apology short and to the point. Here is an example: "Linda, I am so sorry for spilling wine on your gorgeous sofa, I feel just awful."

3. Be Sincere & Take Accountability- Only make an apology if you sincerely mean it. Too often, people make an apology off the cuff as if it isn't really a big deal and comes off insincere and in some cases they continue to make the same mistake again and again proving that insincerity. When a classy woman makes an apology she says she is sorry and doesn't ever attempt to downplay her mistake or place blame elsewhere or use the word "but" in her apology. She takes full ownership and accountability for her words and/or actions.

4. Once is Enough- An apology need not be uttered over and over again every time you run into or meet up with the person in question. Take the time to make one sincere apology, keep on point and that is all that is required. Constantly bringing up the same event or offense is exhausting and unnecessary. Learn what you must from the experience and move on, there is no sense re-hashing it over and over.

5. Offering to Make it Right- In the case of ruining someone's personal property or other circumstances where more than one person is involved, you may want to offer to make things right. For instance, if you did in fact spill wine on a friend or neighbor's sofa, and you have the wherewithal to do it, offer to pay for the upholstery cleaning bill. In the case of entertaining, technically you are a guest in someone's home and that goes with the hosting territory, everyone has an accident from time to time and according to proper etiquette you are not required to replace an item or pay for its cleaning but it is indeed a kind gesture to show goodwill. I know for myself, personally, unless it's more than an inexpensive glass that is broken where the hostess shrugs it off, I attempt to do whatever I can to clean an item myself or have it replaced. In the case of saying something that offended someone which extends to their family or others, ask what you can do to make things right. Ask them if they are okay with you contacting the other person/people in question before doing so. After you apologize, leave it at that, it is not to be discussed again. At that point hopefully they will see your sincerity and forgive you for  what took place.

Are there any other considerations you take into account when you are apologizing to someone?

Thanks for Reading!


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