Do Your Apologies Fall Short?

I was driving across the Napier-Taupo road recently, on my way to compete in the NZ 10km Kayak Champs. The stretch across the Rangataiki Plains gave me time to sit back, listen to some music, and do some reflecting. The stereo was playing k.d.lang, hymns of the 49th parallel, and a line from Leonard Cohen’s song Bird on a Wire caught my attention; “If I, if I have been unkind, I hope you can just let it go by.” Here we have Leonard wanting someone to let him off the hook without him having to take responsibility or do anything redeeming, and this got me thinking about the ineffective apologies I have heard over time.  A couple of my favourites are “I am sorry you feel that way” and “I didn’t mean to upset you”.  In both cases the implication is that the hurt party shouldn’t feel upset and should forgive and forget without the offending party having to do anything.

I have a process for giving an effective apology that I teach to my clients, and it’s one that they find very useful and at times has provided a crucial breakthrough in their relationship struggles. So I decided to write this up in the form of a guide titled “Three Steps to an Effective Apology.” You can get your free copy here

Cheers, Ben

P.S. Once you have read the report, come back to this blog and leave a comment by clicking the Leave a reply button at the top of the post, I would love to hear from you.

4 thoughts on “Do Your Apologies Fall Short?

  1. Almarie

    I thought your comments on effective apologies are really awesome and very helpful and I will try to remember to point struggling couples to your blog, thanks Ben. This is such an important issue in relationships. I would just add one thing to it because I find most people struggle to admit that they did anything wrong in the first place and to understand why their loved one is upset at all. Why apologise? When someone is upset with you, you have a choice between being right and restoring the relationship- it is so important to realise that if you do NOT make it right, YOU stand to lose so much more that the simple words of a sincere apology can achieve for you. Love is more important than being right

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