As I’ve grown older I’ve realized that there are many ways someone can say sorry. Growing up I often thought of an apology as an outright admission of guilt and wrongdoing but I’ve learnt that there are many shades of grey. Of course you can say an outright apology and accept complete blame but it’s also possible to honestly assess the role you had to play in the conflict and apologize for your part.
Did you speak insensitively or in anger? Were you sarcastic or passive aggressive? Did you intentionally hurt them when you were upset? Did you ignore them?
According to Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas there are five different types of apology we can offer and often when we don’t offer all five the recipient of the apology may not value or recognize the sincerity behind the ‘I’m sorry’. The five different types of apology are:
So the next time you feel wronged take a second to assess whether you could have done anything differently once things have calmed down and then consider offering a heartfelt apology for the part you had to play.
Have you ever reflected on the part you had to play in conflicts? Do you find it easy to say sorry? Which of the five types of apology do you most frequently use? Would you consider using all five types in future? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.