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How to apologize properly?

The apology is for the person who is apologizing

This post is a consequence of my vlog about why I shadow-ban people. Actually, a lot of the times the people that are shadow-banned or whom I remind that they transgressed some clearly defined limits I have communicated, are tempted to apologize — but very often they don't know how to do it.

People have forgotten how to apologize

What comes from that is a sort of bizarre tapping on their own back instead of really apologizing and showing that they want to save the relationship. So I wanted to help them, because I think that social media and the tech landscape make it very easy to ghost people, very easy to stop contacting someone, and therefore people have forgotten how to apologize properly, how to nurture a relationship, how to repair something that interpersonally was broken.

#1 - You want to repair the relationship

The number one thing for apologizing is that you have to really want to repair the relationship.

A side note is that the people that are your real friends, for whom you are important, they will actually not wait for an apology before they forgive you. They will forgive you instantly just after you made something stupid, just after you acted in a bad way. If the relationship you are trying to repair is something valuable in your life and something strong, the mere action of apologizing is just a formality. It's not something that is needed in order for the relationship to survive.

#2 - The apology is socially needed

What I wrote in the paragraph above is quite important, because it sets the stage — and the stage is that most of the time, you will apologize on a more unstable, moving ground. You will do it in those relationships in which you are not 100% sure that they are strong. In situations in which what you did could actually damage the relationship. So, for example, at work with your boss. You will want to apologize to your boss from fear of your boss retaliating to you. You’ll want to do it because you suspect that it's something your boss actually wants from you.

#3 - The relationship is not strong

So, if you are a real minimalist, you'll pretty much come to a conclusion that if you need to apologize, then it means that the relationship is not very strong — and it's true. So, think for a moment whether you want to apologize or not — it's the first thing to do. You can come to the conclusion that:

No, you don't want to apologize.

A lot of bad bosses at work — bad managers, actually — come to this conclusion. They think:

Yeah, those employees are not important for me, because if they were not my employees, I would actually not entertain any relationships with them. So, even if I'm acting as an asshole, I will not apologize.

This is how you can very easily spot a bad manager. A bad manager will instantly trade your relationship for your utility.

#4 - You are forced to apologize

Another point to reflect upon is to determine whether you seem forced to apologize or not. Because if you seem forced to apologize, it can be a form of passive aggression. The best way to do this is to see whether the need to apologize is something you really feel from inside of you, or whether it is something social. Whether you think you should apologize, because if not someone will judge you (or you will appear as a lesser human being in the eyes of someone). And this “someone” can be your spouse. It can also be your boss. Maybe your mother? It can be a lot of people actually.

If you don't feel the need for apologizing inside of you, it's a very good indicator that you should not apologize.

But let’s assume that you feel it from inside and you take the decision to apologize.

#5 - How to apologize properly?

It's very easy, and at the same time it's very tough.

You will have to be vulnerable.

Today, people don't like to be vulnerable because they have been sold a stupid story of how everyone should be tough and everyone should not be emotional.

Everyone should be ideal in all the circumstances, at all the levels, in all the moments of their lives.

It’s crazy stupid. But most of the world is actually gulping on this stupidity. If you feel the need to apologize, you have to be vulnerable. The best way is to actually say it:

I'm sorry for what I did. I understand that I hurt you. Please accept my apologies.

That's it. You rarely hear this kind of apologies, especially in the media, are you?

Stay away from bogus apologies

The bogus apologies in the media sound usually like this:

I am sorry that you are feeling bad right now.

You cannot be sorry for someone feeling bad! You can be sorry for something you have done that made them feel bad, but you cannot be sorry for their reaction. You don’t own their reaction. You own your actions, that’s pretty much it.

This is actually a kind of apology that is not an apology. This is something that is wasting everyone's time, because it's not showing good intent, it's not repairing the relationship, nor it’s even logical. It's just empty media time.

Don’t pair apologies with verbal aggression

A lot of the times the people who feel bad and want to apologize will actually try to turn the apologies around to make them feel as if they wanted to repair the relationship, but at the same time they also wanted to point the finger at you to show you that there were times when you also were an asshole. One day. Earlier on.

This is pure manipulation. It’s made uniquely with the goal to lessen the bad feelings they feel. It’s purely selfish.

The apology is for the person who is apologizing

The apologies are not really for the person you are apologizing to. As I wrote before, if the relationship is strong enough, you don't have to apologize. The relationship will survive because you will be forgiven way before you actually make the apology.

The apology is actually for the person who is apologizing. This is something that very few people understand. If you decide to apologize, the sooner you do it, the better will it be for you. The faster you will tame remorse and sadness.

If you decide to turn this situation around to point the finger at the other person, you will actually not feel better about this situation. You will delay the resolution of the situation — the resolution that would be good for you.

So, how to apologize properly?

Be vulnerable and do it fast.

That's it.


Because you will feel better.