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How to Apologize Like a Baller

How To’s designed to get you unstuck and pull you into alignment with your highest self.

As humans, we try to put our best selves forward and to keep from doing damage to our relationships.

But ruptures in relationships are absolutely inevitable, which means that learning to repair a rupture in connection is just as important as building a relationship in the first place!

According to recent studies of 755 participants, the best apologies contain six elements.

Let’s walk through each one together!

#1: Expression of Regret

Expressing regret is the “I’m sorry” part of an apology.

It can also be stated a little differently. For example, “I wish I’d handled this differently,” or simply “I regret the way I acted.”

#2: Explanation of What Went Wrong

Keep this one short, sweet, and to the point because MAN! This is where we typically like to spend most of our time in an apology.

The explanation of what went wrong is to provide clarity and to land on the same page as the other person or people.

#3: Acknowledgement of Responsibility

Last week, we touched on how important taking responsibility is.

And in fact, it is THE most crucial part of an apology even though it’s arguably the hardest part for the apologizer.

The aforementioned studies performed recently showed that even if all we do is take full responsibility for our mistakes, that can stand on its own as an effective apology.

#4: Declaration of Repentance

Repentance means we’re turning away from something.

So, in this part of an apology, we want to make a statement that what we did was wrong and we won’t do it again.

#5: Offer of a Repair

Now that we’ve cleaned the cut, so to speak, we can start to bandage it by suggesting a way to make things right.

When in doubt, ask the person you’re apologizing to what they would need from you to restore your connection and trust.

#6: Request of Forgiveness

Surprisingly, the actual request for forgiveness is the least important part of an apology.

When participants in the study merely asked for forgiveness, it was found to be the least effective method on its own.

But it’s still a valuable piece, particularly with the people we’re the closest to.

Putting it All Together

Let’s say we have a couple named Bernard and Thelma.

Bernard and Thelma are saving up to go on a special trip to Europe for their 20th wedding anniversary.

But one day Bernard talks to a guy at work who’s selling his pool table for cheap.

With so many other coworkers interested, he jumps at the chance, hoping Thelma will understand.

She doesn’t.

In fact, she’s extremely upset and feels like Bernard didn’t prioritize her or consider her feelings when he bought the pool table, reducing their hard-earned vacation fund.

Luckily, Bernard is well-versed in the components of an apology! He says,

“Thelma, I’m so sorry. I really regret buying that table without talking to you about it. You and I had talked about getting one a few years ago and when my coworker said he had other people interested in it, I panicked and agreed without thinking about how it would affect you. I should have at least called you and talked about it with you and I didn’t. That was the wrong decision and I won’t make that mistake again. If it helps, I’ll tell my coworker tomorrow he needs to find someone else to buy the table. Can you forgive me?”

BOOM! Bernard smashes it and the crowd goes wild!

Thelma immediately softens.

At this point, Thelma can take Bernard up on his offer to return the table.

Or maybe now that she feels seen and heard, she might even be able to see that keeping the table would save them money in the long run since they had planned on buying one eventually.

By following our Baller apology steps, Bernard sets himself up for success either way.

If you decide to practice these steps, let me know how it goes!

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