What Does a Meaningful Apology Look Like?

I’m a colleague of Nan’s. And, I often post on Current Musings about work, life and the intersection of the two. With so much noise coming towards us every minute of the day and night – from tweets, posts, texts, to phone messages, TV, news media; you get the idea, it’s challenging to have quiet moments to ourselves.

This week, I finally captured two hours to unplug from everyone, everything and just ‘be’. Like you, there are many things grabbing my attention and gnawing at me. So it’s difficult to slow my mind,  jumping from one thought to another but I persisted. Fast-forward: I believe it was time well-spent; I have a healthier perspective, improved focus and increased energy. If you happen to have similar feelings, schedule a couple of hours for YOU!

One of my gnawing thoughts had to do with apologies. Too many I’ve heard lately are forced, empty and lack emotion. It got me thinking, what is a meaningful apology?  I decided to ask a few close friends, do a little research and then I added a couple thoughts of my own.

What IS a Meaningful Apology?ben2

It is one that includes these 5 elements:

  • Regret – I am sorry for  …
  • Acknowledgment –  of a moment or situation, not an explanation or excuse
  • Recognition – that social norms or expectations were violated
  • Empathy – expressing the impact of my actions on another person
  • Forgiveness – a request for understanding

Apologizing is not about you; it is about the other person. It is about relationships. It is about valuing relationships more than your ego.

What do you think? When is an apology meaningful? We would love to hear from you!