Let me apologize in advance. This post is a rant and a bit soap-boxish.
Over the past month, there were three separate instances where I received an apology. The first was from a co-worker not carrying their weight causing other members of our team to suffer. The second was from a manager at a fast food restaurant after I submitted a complaint about repeated instances of horrible customer service. The final, and most recent, from a friend and a family member who both forgot my birthday.
All completely unrelated in different facets of my life, but they all had one thing in common: lack of sincerity! What makes a sincere apology? Glad you asked!
- I am sorry – I recognize you were adversely affected
- It is my fault – I acknowledge and accept responsibility for my behavior
- What can I do to make it right? – I will correct the behavior going forward
Seems simple enough. Just three little things. In my experience, there is one three-letter word that negates any apology: BUT. “I am sorry but…” What follows, in my opinion, is nothing but an excuse.
- I’m sorry I haven’t been doing my job but my personal life is a mess right now. (Really? Whose isn’t?)
- I’m sorry you had to wait over thirty minutes for your food on two separate occasions but we were busy. (It’s a FAST food restaurant!)
- I’m sorry I forgot your birthday/anniversary/our lunch date but my kid/parent/dog/right earlobe was sick/paralyzed/dead/dying. (Wait, the same thing happened yesterday, last week, last month, and last year, didn’t it?)
Sorry, these are not apologies. These are excuses in which you take no responsibility for your actions and make no effort to correct behavior. My point is this, whatever you did or failed to do, own it! If you aren’t remorseful and willing to change, then don’t apologize. It’s really that simple.
Rant over. I’m off my soap box. Sorry if this post offended you, but not really.