January 14, 2017

I’m Sorry – Apology Etiquette

I’m Sorry – Apology Etiquette

*Sorry Sight… Super Eagles players face the agony of defeat after falling to Ghana’s Black Stars on 4-1 penalties. But today they are ready to make amends with the third place match against Zimbabwe.

By Janet Adetu
How many times have you scolded a child and immediately expected that child to apologize, knowing fully well that it was indeed the correct thing to do.

Are you a victim of do as I say and not as I do?

I find that apologue as easy as they sound appear to be a difficult task for many, It simply does not come naturally, as some people feel so entitled that even when they are wrong they feel they are rightfully right.

Many times it is surprising to see the way some people actually apologize, they say it in annoyance or as if it is being forced on them, “Sorry!” That’s it, no “I’m sorry” or “I’m really sorry for upsetting you or hurting you”

There are cases of people saying sorry without saying sorry, literally talking with their noses held up high. It is not surprising that when you hear some apologies they sound ruder than the polite apology.


Is your apology genuine or stage managed?

Do you apologize to please the other person or to satisfy your own conscience? Do you considerer the way you are going to say your apology?

Is it polite? Does it leave the receiver feeling good, better or relieved?

Consider the following when it comes to saying “Sorry”

Say it now

A genuine apology needs to be said immediately for instant impact. Do not wait to be told that an apology is required, it should come naturally if you are self -aware. It is better to get the issue off your chest to avoid regrets the following day

Say it from the heart

It is quite easy to detect an apology that did not come from the heart. If you did not really mean to apologize then don’t bother saying it at all, especially when a third party is involved. Avoid apologizing to please the intermediary, say it from the heart. You owe it to yourself to be true to yourself without feeling guilty about anything.

Take responsibility

Many apologies appear difficult to say simply because ownership of mistakes is missing. It is important to admit when at fault, take responsibility for misconceptions and mistakes and act accordingly. A leader knows when to accept mistakes and learns from them. Lead by example in all situations.

You and only you

The apology is not effective if you decide to send it through someone else on your behalf. This will be considered pride or having a chip on your shoulder. Your apology must be sent by you and you alone in person not in writing or otherwise.

It is not about you

At times an apology is said under the will to disagree to agree. Deep down under the feeling of guilt or cheating. Avoid being on the defensive or giving excuses why there should be a “but” to the apology. Focus on the person you apologizing to not yourself. Many people prefer to defend themselves without thinking of the other person or identifying the possibility of being wrong. Try to be subjective and view from all angles to get the bigger picture.

Let time be healer

Apologies do not wave away the issue or the problem. The apology sets the tone for reconciliation. It is not an instant act of behaviour that makes everything right. Time is healer for all situations. Forgiveness is the next step to healing but may not come naturally to some people. Say the apology first then leave the rest

Just say it, don’t avoid it

Ultimately it is easy to walk away from situations to cool off from the heat. Sometimes it may take sleeping over the situation. By morning take it upon yourself to say the apology from the heart. Never feel too big or important to apologize you run the risk of tarnishing your person. People will remember what you said not what you did.

Good luck as you venture into becoming a better person in life!