Failing to do so can escalate the matter even further. Author of The Power of Apology Beverly Engel gives us ways to make an apology meaningful.
Ask for permission to apologise
People have their own ways of dealing with hurt, while some prefer that they get an apology immediately after being wronged, others would rather you give them time to cool off before bombarding them with ‘I’m sorry’. Once they’ve given you the go-ahead ensure that you know what you’re apologising for as opposed to just saying ‘please forgive me’.
Avoiding bringing up old issues
If your partner happened to have hurt you the same way in which you did, chances are they don’t want to be reminded of it right that moment. We all know two wrongs don’t make a right, so regardless of what your partner has done to you in the past it doesn’t in any way justify your faults.
Don’t shift the blame
The one thing you need to stay away from when apologising is shifting the blame to someone else. There’s a reason why your partner is mad at you and not the other person. This can be perceived as though you’re not willing to take responsibility for your actions, therefore making your apology meaningless.
Provide ways to make the situation better
Saying sorry is all good and well but what happens if you repeat the same mistake again? Your apology would have then been useless. If the situation allows, provide ways in which you’ll make the situation better. If not, ask your partner to choose his or her own outcome.
Ask for forgiveness
World-renowned author and keynote speaker Joseph Grenny mentioned on Harvard Business Review, ‘You cannot assume that you’re eventually forgiven just because you have apologised. The best thing to do is to ask for forgiveness. Bear in mind that some people might need time to forgive you depending on the offense, of course.”