Thursday, January 1, 2015

Unsolicited Advice #21: How to develop and deliver an apology

When you have done something deeply wrong, for example picked a fight with your boyfriend at four AM, reparations are in order.  It is your responsibility to demonstrate that you have a scheme to avoid future peregrination down the path that led to your reprehensible behavior.

Step-by-step instructions:
  1. Stop it!
  2. Say you're sorry
  3. Set aside some time for self-reflection, either in solitude or in the company of a helpful friend (not the aggrieved party)
    • Identify the pattern of thought or deed that induced you, an otherwise kind and caring person, to comport yourself like a selfish fool
    • Describe that pattern in precise, nonjudgmental human language (i.e. "lack of compassion" not "being dumb as a stump")
    • Draw up a self-improvement plan that directly addresses the pattern in question*
  4. Express your contrition to the injured party again.  Take responsibility by laying out the etiological relationship between your unfortunate pattern and the crummy thing you did.
    • Consider sharing your self improvement plan with the target of your onslaught**

*The Dewey Decimal number for Self Help is 150.  The more enterprising, or less literate, might also look to hermit in a cave.

**User discretion is advised here. It is often unnecessarily self-indulgent to share your plan.

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