Developing a good relationship means that partners own their mistakes and missteps and regularly apologize to their partner. Dr. Julie Hanks, licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist Wasatch Family Therapy stopped by GTU with some ways to be more effective in your apologies.
“I’ve heard it said that You can be right or you can be happy. Pick one,” said Hanks. “Developing a good relationship means that partners own their mistakes and missteps and regularly apologize to their partner.”
Here are some of the ways Dr. Hanks states for you to be more effective in your apologies.
- Get specific about your behavior
- Avoid general statements like, “I’m sorry for whatever I did that upset you.” Be more specific like, “I’m so sorry that I swore at you last night. That was not OK.”
- Focus on their feelings
- Identify the emotional impact of your behavior on your partner. Statements like, “I’m guessing that my behavior eroded your trust” or “I bet that hurt a lot” can help your partner feel understood and validated.
- Avoid justifications and reasons
- Giving the reasons for your hurtful behavior at the time of your apology can undermine your efforts. Justifications shift the focus of the conversation onto you instead of focusing them.
- Ask, “What can I do to make it right?”
- Listening to and following through with your partner’s request makes your apology more powerful and sincere. A willingness to change things that hurt or upset our partner (within reason) can help create a closer connection.
Give these tips a try today to make your relationship a successful one! For more help apologizing and improve your relationships visit WasatchFamilyTherapy.com or call 801-944-4555 and schedule an appointment with a trusted therapist.