Two Words to Turn Adversaries into Allies


Why is it so hard to say “I’m sorry?” It’s actually quite cleansing to express regret. You feel better, and the other person can’t help but feel forgiving.

Yet it’s hard for many of us to use this expression: “Oh, sorry.” “Sorry about that.” “I’m sorry.” “Excuse me for that.”

Do we think apologizing is conceding power? Losing control? Implying subservience? Admitting defeat?

Not saying these words contributes to ill will in the workplace and home, and is a serious interpersonal flaw causing untold relationship problems.

The irony is that all the fears that lead us to resist apologizing — the fear of losing, admitting we’re wrong, ceding control — disappear with an apology. When you say you’re sorry, you turn people into allies and partners.

Apologizing is a powerful key to setting a relationship back on its feet. It compels people to move forward into something new.

How should you respond to an apology? A simple “thank you” works quite well. So does “no problem,” and “I appreciate that!”

When’s the last time you said the “S” word to a direct report? A rival? Your spouse or a child? That’s what I mean, sometimes it’s just hard…
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