Tonight marks the start of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, The Day of Atonement.
Let’s face facts. None of us is perfect. Everyone has done something she doesn’t feel great about, so maybe now is as good a time as any to actually apologize.
With that in mind, here are our top 7 pieces of advice for you as you get ready to make (or accept) an apology:
1. No Excuses – This is not the time to justify your behavior. Lines like “That was locker room talk,” or “I was so much younger then” only undercut your actual apology and make it feel less sincere.
2. Don’t Throw Shade – It’s so tempting to help the other person to understand how their bad behavior caused you to behave as you did. That is NOT an apology and is highly likely to make things worse.
3. Principles, Schminciples – You honestly believe you did nothing wrong, but your former bestie is beyond furious and is barely speaking to you. You refuse to apologize “on principle,” for something you did not do. Ok, but are you sorry for how you made her feel? Maybe, you are sorry that your words or actions put your friendship at risk. Those are great places to start, and (word to the wise), will lead to a heck of a lot better conversation than “I have no idea what I did to you to make you behave this way toward me.”
4. Do Not Demand Forgiveness – Stole a boyfriend? Told your roommate’s parents something about her that you had promised not to reveal (and not because you believed that her health or well being were in danger either)? “I forgive you” might not be coming – not now and maybe not ever. We say apologize anyway. You were wrong. Acknowledging that is frankly the only hope you have of ever repairing that relationship.
5. Do Not Expect To Be Apologized To…Usually, it does take two to tango, but be that as it may, just because you apologize doesn’t mean you are going to get the apology in return that you feel entitled to. Do it anyway.
6. But If You Are, Be Gracious – Apologies are hard. No one likes being wrong, and acknowledging it is even harder. How hard was it for you to choke out your apology? Remember that when the other person is apologizing, and don’t pick over whether the apology you get is exactly the one that you wanted.
7. Just Do It! – Negative energy! Carrying it around sucks. It’s that simple. And the answer to the Biebs question…It’s never too late. So, what are you waiting for?