How to Accept an Apology Making an apology is one thing, but do you know how to accept one? Here are 10 tips to do it right. BY DIANE GOTTSMAN
Accepting an apology takes as much skill and grace as giving one, and doing it right can help both parties move forward.
“ Just because you receive an apology doesnít mean you are automatically ready to forgive and forget.”
In my last article, I discussed how to graciously deliver an apology. This article will go over some tips on how to graciously accept an apology. As a reminder, an apology should contain some key components such as sincerity, remorse and the acceptance of responsibility, as well as an action plan for the future. Although there is no guarantee that the person apologizing may not offend you again, there is value and healing in forgiveness; and accepting an apology is a critical step in moving forward in your relationship.
1. It wonít happen overnight. Just because you receive an apology doesnít mean you are automatically ready to forgive and forget. You can acknowledge the apology as an outward attempt of goodwill even though you are aware that there is much work to be done to reconcile the issue.
2. Be aware of your body language. When listening to the apology avoid crossing your arms, rolling your eyes and mumbling "You bet youíre @#* your sorry!" under your breadth.
3. If you are not yet ready to accept an apology, a better option might be to say, "I appreciate your effort to acknowledge your mistake. It is going to take some time for me to process what has transpired." Honesty, without the sting.
4. Allow the person making the apology adequate time to speak without challenging, interrupting or criticizing what the person is saying.
5. Listen and watch carefully. Your intuition generally tells you if the apology is sincere. If you sense the other person is just going through the motions donít disregard you own feelings and overlook your own good judgment.
6. If the person is a repeat offender and you have no intention of forgiving or forgetting, tell them and give them the reason. "I canít accept an apology from you based on your past track record." If you are, however, still hopeful that the relationship could be worked out with some counseling or other help, give the person specific steps you would require in order for them to gain back your trust. Be firm and specific with your demands.
7. Donít accept an apology that contains the words "but" or "if you would have only" in the content. This type of an apology is not an apology at all, but an excuse without remorse and an attempt to justify a wrong-doing.
8. Quit rehearsing the past. If you have decided to accept an apology, time has passed and the offense has not been repeated, stop bringing up the offense every time you get in an argument. It is damaging to yourself and your marriage to continue to harbor ill will and hurt feelings over a mistake that is behind you. Focus on the present and future rather than the past.
9. Keep your business to yourself. Although friends and family mean well and are more than willing to give you advice, you are the only one that can make a decision whether or not to accept an apology and forgive.
10. Learn to apologize yourself. The time will undoubtedly come when you have to say, "Iím sorry." Remember to accept responsibility for your mistake, be sincere, show remorse, offer a genuine apology and take steps to right your wrong.
Diane Gottsman, a nationally recognized etiquette expert, is the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in etiquette training for corporations, universities and individuals, striving to polish their interpersonal skills. You can reach Diane at 877-490-1077 or www.protocolschooloftexas.com.