Languages of apology

November 12, 2008

Because I’m such a hopelessly flawed individual, I’ve needed to learn to apologize for misbehavior.  Some helpful advice from Gary Chapman

We discovered five distinct languages of apology.

  1. Expressing Regret: “I am sorry.” “I feel badly that my behavior has hurt you so deeply.” This language identifies with the emotions of the offended party.
  2. Accepting Responsibility: “I was wrong.” Name your mistake and accept fault. “I should not have done that. There’s no excuse. What I did was wrong.”
  3. Making Restitution: “What could I do to make this right? How can I make amends to you? How could I restore your confidence in me?”
  4. Genuine Repentance: “I’ll try not to do that again.” Repentance doesn’t make rash promises, such as “I promise I’ll never do it again if you’ll forgive me.” However, repentance does express the desire to change one’s behavior. “I don’t want this to continue happening. Help me think of ways I can change my behavior.”
  5. Requesting Forgiveness: “Will you please forgive me?” This language expresses humility. “I realize I can’t restore this relationship alone. It will require mercy on your part, but my sincere desire is that you will forgive me and we can continue our relationship.”

That said, the goal is to improve behavior so that apologies aren’t necessary.


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