When an apology is necessary, the 4 Part Apology is a great way to help a person look beyond the actual incident to the consequences of behavior. By defining those consequences and choosing a different behavior, both individuals remain thoughtful and supportive rather than angry and resentful.
Acknowledge: Take responsibility for your actions and behaviors. Use “I” statements.
Examples: “I acknowledge that I hurt your feelings when I said those things about you.” … or … “I acknowledge that I borrowed your MP3 player without asking you.”
Apologize: Acknowledge the “cost” to others. If unaware of “cost” then ask.
Examples: “I apologize for hurting you and I realize that I may have ruined our relationship.” … or … “I know that I must have caused some damage, can you help me understand what that damage was? …. I apologize for ________ because it hurt you.”
Make it Right: Deal with the consequences of behavior. Ask the person, “Is there anything I can do to make it right?”
Examples: “What can I do to make it right?” … or … “I want to do something to help maintain our friendship. I would like to spend more time with you.”
Recommit: Make a commitment to appropriate behavior. Commit to not having the same behavior again.
Examples: “I agree to speak with good purpose.” … or … “I agree to ask before I borrow anything from you.”
from Quantum Learning
image: lotus flower, aotaro, creative commons usage