Respectfully Yours: Being rude to friend
While I was out with my friend, I said something totally insensitive and rude. I know she’s upset and I feel terrible. What is the best way to apologize and minimize the damage?
Occasionally, depending on our mood, we all say or do something that hurts others. Then we come to our senses and realize an apology is in order. It’s best to apologize promptly when you realize you’ve messed up.
The cardinal rule of a meaningful apology is sincerity. The best way to clear the air and get back on the right track is to sit down with your friend and let her know how truly sorry you are for hurting her feelings.
When you take responsibility for saying something hurtful, you are showing that you know it was your fault and you value the friendship.
If you are too embarrassed and you can’t bring yourself to say it face to face, sometimes a letter is actually a superior medium to talking because it allows you to express your feelings without the risk of setting off another argument.
When you need to offer an apology, don’t let pride get in the way because an insincere apology is in some ways worse than no apology at all.
It will be apparent the sentiment is meaningless and shows that you still don’t feel like you were in the wrong. The last thing you want to do is dig yourself in deeper.
Genuine regret requires humility. Don’t attempt to justify yourself by making excuses and downplaying your words. Everyone makes mistakes. Owning up to them is the only way to move forward.
Once you apologize, be patient. Don’t be discouraged if forgiveness by your friend doesn’t happen instantly. Some people are quick to forgive. Others may have to think about what you said and need time to get over hurt feelings. A sincere apology shows grace. Righting a wrong shows good character.
Respectfully Yours, Jacquelyn
Have a question? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol and is on the board of the National Civility Foundation.
All Rights Reserved © 2019 Jacquelyn Youst