How to Apologize When You Don’t Think You Were Wrong

Petirrojo_europeo_(Erithacus_rubecula),_Tierpark_Hellabrunn,_Múnich,_Alemania,_2012-06-17,_DD_02_Crop
Photo by Poco a poco.

Recently some new readers have found this blog using phrases like, “a person wants to apologize but doesn’t think they were wrong.”

I wish we had more details about what’s happening in their lives. Since this didn’t happen here’s are a few questions I recommend asking yourself for future readers who find On the Other Hand through this topic:

  • Is this a pattern in their life?
  • Is this a pattern in your life?
  • What do trustworthy friends and family members think about the situation?
  • Have you asked them to explain their point of view? If so, can you understand why they were offended?
  • Would you be offended if someone else had said or done to you what you did to them?

These questions are not foolproof but they’re a good start.

I know I’ve said things that later made me cringe. Sometimes I didn’t realize how terrible they sounded until long after the conversation ended.

Barring an abusive environment I think it’s good to apologize if you’re able to do so genuinely. If you can’t fully apologize don’t give a half-hearted, “I’m sorry if you were offended.” This will only make things worse.

If I was in this situation I’d say, “I’m sorry. I never meant to hurt you.” If they were open to it I may start a conversation about why X is offensive or what I should say instead in the future.

Respond

How have you reacted in this situation? Do you agree or disagree with my advice?

0 Responses to How to Apologize When You Don’t Think You Were Wrong

  1. Apologizing is necessary and can lead to healing between the offender and the wronged party. It won’t change the event but it can give some peace to the one who was hurt. Only apologize if the intent is never to repeat the “crime.”