a regretful acknowledgment of an offense or failure.
A simple apology of “I’m sorry” all to often is simply not enough to prompt the recipient of the sentiment to let go of their pain. So simple may appear to be more of a meaningless platitude.
a remark or statement, especially one with a moral content, that has been used too often to be interesting or thoughtful.
How then do we offer a meaningful apology?
If you surf the intertubes, you’ll find all kinds of recipes, from three to eight steps. Generally, the more you include, the more readily the recipient will identify your apology as sincere.
Short list of the barest minimum of ingredients in an apology:
It was my fault.
How can I make it up to you?
Here’s a longer list of possible ingredients for a sincere, and effective apology
a detailed account of what happened
acknowledgement of the hurt or damage done (to ALL parties including yourself)
taking responsibility for the situation
recognition of your role in the event/ how you contributed to it
a statement of regret/remorse (for both what was done initially and the indirect effects on others because of it)
asking for forgiveness
a promise that it won’t happen again
a form of restitution (whenever possible)
In my personal opinion, palpable remorse/regret and meaningful reparations in the event of an egregious offense are key to earning my forgiveness, rather than asking for it. The greater the offense, typically the more detailed of an apology is required to lessen my pain, otherwise all I hear are meaning less platitudes.
What would you add to the list? What elements of an apology are most important for you to hear? Share your thoughts in the comments.