Most of us avoid apologizing because we feel ashamed of something we’ve done and we’d really rather it was water under the bridge and we don’t ever have to think about it again. But, you know, apologizing is one of the best things you can do to maintain good relationships because it proves to the other person that you’re not perfect and you’re willing to go towards them and solve things and that you recognize when you’ve hurt people.
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What’s the formula for apologizing? Well, I get lots of practice at this. First step is say what happened. Say why it was bad. Say what shouldn’t have happened and then express regret.
Now, I’ve recently had practice doing this. I was looking at somebody’s Monday morning blog and it came in and I thought they had handled their topic in a completely superficial manner. So it being a Monday morning and I was procrastinating (you should listen to my other Shelle’s Top Tips on procrastination), I sent off a little message that I thought was just a little message and saying that I thought the blog was a bit simplistic and should have been handled another way. And this was a very famous person who then thunderously attacked me on email and I thought, well he’s a bit, I don’t know, hypersensitive. And so I wrote back and explained what I meant a bit further and then he attacked me again and I thought, why is he saying I’m so judgmental and negative and all these sorts of things?
So I went back and looked at my original email and to my shock and horror, he was completely right. So, I thought this email correspondence isn’t going to work so I phoned him. I picked up the phone and I said, “Listen, I reread my email, I realized that you were quite correct. I did attack you and it was very judgmental and my email didn’t give enough information. I’m really sorry for that and I shouldn’t have handled it that way, and I hope that you’ll understand and accept my apology. I’m really sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.” And he phoned me back and he said he accepted my apology and he thought it was a very classy thing to do. And now, I’m going to go practice apologizing with my family.
Check out www.ShellesTopTips.com If you want some tips on communicating and solving some of the problems, check out my new book, “The Customer is Bothering Me,” lots of hints on communication.