Tales from the Single Relationship Expert: Learn your Apology Language.
Sorry not Sorry, Learn how to apologize for real!
“I’m sorry you feel that way” has to be the most unapologetic show of remorse in the history of apologies. How many times have you heard it? Even better, how many times have you said it? I’ve never had a problem apologizing when I have hurt someone unintentionally. I do have a problem apologizing if I don’t mean it. Worst case I will apologize for my approach but, I meant what I said. As I get older the phrase “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it” really resonates with me so, I try to be mindful. Unfortunately, many people don’t practice being mindful so they will say “sorry” to get back in your good graces or just plain move on. What they don’t realize is an apology is not always easy to accept especially if, 1) it’s not genuine and 2) it’s not in the person’s apology language. Oh yeah there’s level to this shit.
Gary Chapman, the man that discovered the 5 Love Languages has now discovered that we also have 5 Apology Languages. Whaaaaaat? I know, I know, I was like there is no way these communications tools just keep getting better and better. The Five Apology Languages are:
Now just like with love languages remember this. Just because you have a certain way you apologize doesn’t mean the person will just accept it. Your style may not be the way they receive the message and vice versa. Aahhh don’t you just love the art of communication? Me too, let’s dig a little deeper.
Accepting Responsibility is taking ownership for what you have done. This is my apology language. Saying “I was wrong” says to me that you truly know how I felt and you won’t make that mistake again. It is hard to admit when you are wrong. It can make you feel less than if you don’t overcome your ego. Swallowing your pride to me is genuine and heartfelt. It takes a lot for someone to do that, so owning your part can really mend a relationship.
Expressing Regret for some is more than enough. Saying “I’m sorry” is sometimes all a person needs to hear. This type of apology focuses on the emotion of it all and usually is followed by some form of body language. For example, if you’ve been thinking of that slice of cookie dough cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory all day and you get home only to find your s/o licking the plate clean… you would be livid until they say “OMG I’m so sorry” while reaching for a hug. You may forgive and forget…if this is your language. I’d be freaking pissed and slap those hugging arms away all while trying to convince myself I didn’t need the calories.
Genuinely Repent is when someone apologizes and basically says “I’ll do better next time” or “I’ll try not to do that again” This kind of apology implies that there will be some type of change in the future. If you’ve read my last post I talked about the “nice guy” getting away with a lot of crap. This is NOT his kind of apology. Changed behavior is a true apology. If your actions don’t match your words guess what? IT’S NOT GENUINE!! Someone needed to read that… you’re welcome.
Make Restitution is actually my strong 2nd apology language. “What can I do to make it up to you?’ Which totally makes sense because my Love Language is acts of service. Now don’t misunderstand, not every “crime” deserves some kind of monetary restitution. Sometimes just leaving me alone for a while will do just fine however, if we revisit that cheesecake incident, a simple “I’m going to buy you another one” or even better would be putting some action behind it and surprising me with a new slice of cheesecake like a magic act. “Taadaaa”, hey you want to move on or not?
Last but not least…Requesting Forgiveness. “I’m so sorry will you please forgive me.” In a way it’s kind of like a surrender. Leaving the fate of the relationship in the other persons hands. It’s admitting you’ve made a mistake and now you’re basically asking the person to not treat you different and repair the relationship. You know Regina Belle “Make it like it was.” Shout out to anyone who sang a little. When I took this quiz, I had zero points in the category. There’s a thin line between asking someone to forgive you and demanding it. “When I hungered for your grub constantly”…or whatever Regina Belle says.
The moral of the post is, there are many ways to apologize successfully. It all starts with meaning it. Any apology that starts with the following “I’m sorry if…, I’m sorry that you…I’m sorry but…or I will apologize if…” are all FAKE APOLOGIES. You are wasting every one’s time by not taking ownership and being genuine. Saying “Sorry Not Sorry” is cute when you’re being playfully sassy, but when you have hurt someone, you may want to consider your approach before you end up ruining a good thing. I personally would start with cheesecake.
To learn your apology language, check out: