The Art of the Apology

The Art of the Apology

We all mess up sometimes. Despite your best intentions, you might end up offending, upsetting, or angering your girlfriend by your words or your actions. At times like this, knowing how to express yourself clearly and honestly is a n incredibly useful skill to have. The apology is one of the subtlest and most complicated tasks to perform, but sometimes a good apology is absolutely necessary to clear things up and keep your relationship going. Here are a few suggestions for the man who need s t o make up with his partner .

1) Show her that you're thinking of her feelings

The kinds of offenses that require apologies are almost always of the emotional sort. It is easy to hurt someone's feelings, whether intentionally or not (although this varies between individuals, depending on how thick their skins are.) Even an offhand comment or a disparaging look can have a serious effect on a person's self-esteem and mood. This may be even more the case when it comes to your partner. Intimate relationships are fraught with opportunities for emotional offense. Like a minefield, you must navigate through it as best you can, but sometimes a mine will go off. When that happens, it's time to make an apology.

The only effective apology is a genuine apology. You might remember a time when you were a child, and your teacher or parents forced you to say you were sorry for doing something wrong to a classmate or a neighbor. That apology probably sounded pretty forced and grudging, because you might not have actually meant what you were saying. When apologizing to your mate, then, you need to really make it count. Unfortunately for the offender, there are still a few ways to make a mess of the situation.

An "automatic" apology, in which you say you're sorry without actually knowing what you did wrong, is just as bad to most women as no apology at all. This is the most tempting course of action, especially for the man who feels he didn't do anything wrong or might not understand what his offense was. Even worse is the loaded apology, in which the actual apology is delivered along with an accusation against the offended party or an implication that the whole thing really wasn't a big deal. If you're thinking about giving either of these kinds of "apologies" to your girlfriend, you're much better off shutting your mouth and thinking of what you did wrong or why she's upset with you. If you genuinely believe that you did nothing wrong and that the whole thing was a misunderstanding, then directly and honestly say so.

2) Deliver your apology face to face if possible

The best way to make your apology is in person. Directness is the key to showing that you are genuine, and a face to face apology is the most direct kind possible. Your girlfriend will hopefully appreciate that fact.

Sometimes, however, a face to face apology just isn't possible. Depending upon the circumstances, your girlfriend might refuse to meet with you. If she's especially miffed, she might not even take your calls. In this case, you can hardly be blamed for simply leaving a message. It's still best not to make your actual apology this way. Rather, you should say that you're sorry and that you want to talk. This is generally enough to get your girlfriend to eventually agree to see you again.

Do not text your apology. You should also try to avoid e-mail in situations like these. Text messages and e-mails are the least personal forms of communication possible and, consequently, the most difficult in which to express your feelings directly and genuinely. Unless you're an amazing writer, you should not rely upon plain text to do that job.

3) Swallow your pride

For some men, this is the hardest step of the apology process. Pride is one of those dangerous human qualities that can remain hidden until it has an opportunity to do some damage. Pride is the cause of most insincere apologies and of almost all the sarcastic or loaded ones. In order to avoid making an even bigger mess of things, subdue your own feelings of pride before apologizing to your girlfriend. Again, if you genuinely think that you're not at fault, say so directly. It is important to realize, however, that pride can skew your own memories of an incident for the purpose of removing all of the blame from yourself. Make completely sure that this is not the case.

4) Don't just buy something for her and assume the problem is fixed

Unless your relationship with your girlfriend is based entirely on material goods, throwing a present at her will not suffice to patch things up. It might be a nice gesture, or a good complement to an actual apology, but that actual apology needs to be there. If it isn't, your girlfriend might come to the probably correct conclusion that you think you can buy her off. D epending on the kind of woman she is, giving her that impression will be ineffective at best and disastrous at worst. Just remember to be genuine, and you should be fine.

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