Sunday, March 22, 2009

WHEN AND HOW TO APOLOGIZE

The President said something off the cuff that was really stupid last week. I've been a big supporter of Special Olympics for years and have done some work with them at the Area 6 Athletic Events. Let's see how President Obama should have handled the apology according to those who should know.

Taken directly from University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension. Emphasis is mine.

One key to getting along well with people is knowing when to say you're sorry. Sometimes little comments or actions can hurt or offend others. Heavy workloads and stress may keep us from seeing how our actions make others feel. The little things can add up. It doesn't take long for someone to hold a grudge and for grudges to grow into conflicts. In most cases, if someone is offended by something you do or say, it's much better to apologize right away. That solves the small problem and keeps it from getting bigger.

It's hard to apologize. Many of us are ashamed or have too much pride. Sometimes we just don't know how to do it. Here are some tips that may make it easier to say you're sorry.

Take responsibility. The first step in apologizing is to admit to yourself that you have offended someone. You may know this right away, or the other person's reaction may let you know you have done something hurtful. But you must admit you have done wrong and accept responsibility for your actions.

Explain. It's important to let the person you hurt know that you didn't mean to do harm. At the same time, you must show that you take your mistake seriously. Recognize that your actions caused a problem for the other person.

Show your regret. The other person needs to see that you have suffered, too. Come right out and say you are sorry or ashamed. I felt bad the minute I told your secret. I'm ashamed of myself.

Repair the damage. To be complete, an apology must correct the injury. If you damaged someones property, offer to fix it. If the damage isn't so obvious, ask What can I do to make it up to you? There may be nothing concrete you can do, but the offer must be sincere. I'll try to keep my mouth shut in the future. Meantime, let me buy you a cup of coffee. Another way to repair the damage is to send a note or a small gift.

Use good timing. Apologize right away for little things. For example, if you bump into someone, say you're sorry right away. Don't wait until the next day to apologize. However, if you have done something more serious, like insult a friend, your apology should be more thoughtful. A quick apology might seem phony. Take the time to sit down, look the person in the eye, and apologize honestly.

It's not about who "won" or who "lost." It's about keeping a strong friendship.


Written material may be reprinted provided no endorsement of a commercial product is stated or implied. Please credit University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension and the Nebraska Health and Human Services System.

5 comments:

Dan said...

Grumps, that has to be the best post written, by either side, on the subject of Special Olympics and Obama.
I only wish obama would follow the the article.
BTW, I also was invlved heavily in Area 6 Special olympics, until I moved. Hopefully, it is still going strong. Still miss getting sunburned in Oregon during the track meet.

grumps said...

There was little danger of sunburn last year. Mildew and frostbite were more likely. Hot chocolate was the order of the day and we were in the Press Boxwith the wind whipping straight in on us.

Tents blew away. Not over. Away.

Apology has been offered and accepted by the parties involved. Your offense and mine are no longer relevant in this case.

I'm still waiting for the admission of mistakes from the prior administration, though.

Dan said...

grumps, sorry to be off the subject, but do you know if Westfield Schools have been compteting the last couple of years?

grumps said...

They didn't have anyone at Oregon last year.

Dan said...

Thanks, I worked hard starting that program and sustaing it with a lot of my own money, but I guess it all went for nothing.