Whether you screw something up with work, miscommunicate timing to a client, lose it with you child or forget to do what you said you would do with a partner – Do you apologize?

Is it a “real apology” or just a quick “sorry about that”?


What’s the difference?

It’s a BIG difference.  Let’s look at the three options and let’s see what you feel is the difference.


You’re supposed to be meeting someone at 3:30pm.  Could be a work meeting, could be an afternoon drink on the patio.  You agreed to 3:30pm.  You arrive at 3:27pm.  The person you’re meeting arrives at 3:55pm.  Yep, 25 minutes late.


Their response options could include:


A – Rushing in acknowledging what made them late (i.e. last meeting went over time or stuck in traffic) and proceed to start conversation with you. Note, no apology made.

How does this make you feel?

B – Rushing in, with a quick “I’m sorry I’m late” and proceed to start conversation with you.

How does this make you feel?

C – Rushing in acknowledging “ __Your name here____.I am sorry. I did a poor job balancing my calendar timing today which left me short on travel time for my meeting.  From here forward in respect of your time, I will give myself an extra 15 minutes to not keep you, or anyone else waiting. Please accept my apology.”

How does this make you feel?



Feel the difference between the three?

Response A sweeps any acknowledgement of respecting you & your time into the garbage.

Response B recognizes the lateness yet, misses acknowledging the potential impact on you/relationship/trust.

And response C well – C is the way I’d teach  you how to apologize to others.


To recap the Four Steps to Apologizing:

  1. I am sorry. Pause here & let it sink in

  2. Here’s what I did that was wrong. Detail it.

  3. In the future I will. Be specific

  4. Will you accept my apology?


We all make mistakes. Owning our actions is MASSIVE.


Both my boys, this week, apologized to me using these steps.

It brought me to blogging about it because it had me reflect on how few people know how to concede or accept an action they aren’t thrilled with.

I told both my boys this.  A proud parenting moment for sure.


You can learn this skill at any time.

How about today…


and in case reading that wasn’t enough, The Popularist site sent this quote to me May 14th:

The Popularist