“I’m sorry your feelings got hurt.”
“I’m sorry I hurt your feelings.”
Have you ever gotten an apology that didn’t feel like an apology at all?
It didn’t really make you feel better, did it?
Apologies with qualifiers don’t work. Okay, so they kind of work. At bare minimum, they demonstrate an attempt to mend things. But they also come off sounding insincere. It’s a missed opportunity for healing.
An apology that seems to be focused on letting yourself off the hook just doesn’t have much impact. In contrast, an apology that focuses on acknowledging another person’s pain can be profoundly healing.
Men and women talk about their emotional wounds differently in close relationships. Ask a man why he is frustrated and he is likely to say he was “blown off” or “disrespected.”
In contrast, women tend to talk about “feeling hurt” by a partner’s actions. Sadly, the language we use to express our feelings sets us up for apologies that only go halfway.