Words of the Week

“The mechanics of good apologies aren’t difficult. The 12th-century sage Maimonides said that true repentance requires humility, remorse, forbearance , and reparation. Not much has changed since then. Basically, you have to take ownership of the offense, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Name your sin, even if it makes you squirm. Use the first person, and avoid passive voice (‘I’m sorry I kicked your Pomeranian,’ not ‘I’m sorry your dog got hurt,’ or worse, ‘I’m sorry it was impossible to ignore the incessant yapping of your undersocialized little hellbeast’). Acknowledge the impact of what you did. (‘My lateness was disrespectful of your time and inconvenienced you on what I know was a busy day.’) Be real, open and non-defensive. (‘What I said was moronic and mean, and I’m ashamed of myself.’) Offer a teeny bit of explanation if it’s relevant, but keep it short and—this is key—don’t use it as justification for your actions. (‘I was tired and crabby because I had to work late, but that’s no excuse for taking it out on you.’)”

Source: Marjorie Ingall, “How to Say You’re Sorry,” Tablet magazine