You Offended!- How to Recover

Hurt Feelings

“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.”                Ben Franklin

“Sorry, “is enough if you accidentally bump someone on a crowded street, but won’t likely satisfy if you do or say something that causes embarrassment, hurt or jostles someone’s self-esteem. Making a well thought out, sensitive apology may be needed to heal such wounds. Here’s how you do it:

1. Meet face-to-face. The sincerity of your regret will be best seen and felt when you’re looking into the eyes of the person you’ve offended. Add to the power of your apology by suggesting a meeting place that you expect will feel comfortable and safe for each of you.

2. Affirm your relationship. Open the conversation by affirming the importance of your connection with this person and how much you value the relationship.

3. Take personal responsibility. Focus on your responsibility for the incident. This is not the time to point out your hurt or the other person‘s fault in the situation. Your personal contrition may prompt them to share some blame, but that’s their call.

4. Say “I am sorry...” When these magic words are followed by a specific description your regrettable comment or behavior, you’ve sent a message that this is a sincere apology. Note that “My apologies.” or “I apologize.” lack power. As well, avoid the weak expression, “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings. “

5. Make no excuses. In fact, consider saying “There is no excuse for my behavior. “ Also consider saying something like, “I’m not sure why I said what I did, but I am sure that I don’t want to respond that way again.”

6. Commit to change. Particularly if the incident relates to any continuing behavior. Identify how you’ll be working to change your behavior in the future. The more specific you can be the better.

7. Ask to be forgiven. Offer them time to consider this possibility. This can help bring closure and assure that they don’t have any unresolved related issues or reservations.

8. Consider restitution or a gift.  If there was any personal loss or damage involved then compensation should be made. In some cases, a token gift will add meaning to your apology. This can be sent after the apology to reinforce your sincerity.

When sincerely done, following each of these steps may result in a stronger relationship than you’ve ever had before. Click here for video clip on what this process can look like.