Bob Dylan demonstrates everything we need to know about a bad apology. He really is not sorry.
One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later), Bob Dylan
“I didn’t mean to treat you so bad. You don’t have to take it so personal. I didn’t mean to make you so sad. You just happened to be there, that’s all.”
The Canadian Prime Minister took a page from Dylan’s sorry songbook when an allegation arose that twenty years earlier, he had inappropriately touched a female reporter.
Trudeau advised us his behaviour was appropriate; it was her perception that was off –
“I think the essence of this is people can experience interactions differently and part of the lesson we need to learn in this moment of collective awakening … people in many cases, women, experience interactions in professional contexts and other contexts differently than men.”
When a child does something wrong and we teach them to apologise to their brother or friend – they will go on to tell you the reason they apologised is they were told too. This is a missed opportunity for growth if we take this attitude into adulthood.
A good apology could show the other party you really care for their interests and help you both to move on.
Don’t be like a child.
and not like Dylan.
5 Elements for an Effective Apology:
- Be really clear you are sorry
- Say what you regret
- Explain how you should’ve behaved
- Demonstrate your empathy by acknowledging the full impact of your actions
- Ask for forgiveness
It can be intimidating to take responsibility with an effective apology. We learned in childhood to “Do the right thing”. I want everyone to remind themselves that doing the right thing is only the tip of the iceberg. An effective apology is extremely empowering for both parties.
Go ahead. Try it. Feel free to provide feedback or examples of really big apologies and whether the sorry was successful or not.