Have you ever been told you did something wrong? Perhaps in a relationship or a friendship or at work? I thought about this today as I overheard a conversation between two people. The basic instinct when told we’ve did something wrong is to defend our position. We aren’t all lawyers, but when faced with this situation, we instantly snap into a well-versed defense attorney. But why? Our reaction is to defend what we did, why we made that choice. Shouldn’t the first reaction be to apologize?
I have been guilty of this too. A good example of this would be running late – I arrive tardy to an event or I was supposed to meet someone. The immediate response is “ugh, there was traffic, I couldn’t find my keys, the dog got sick…” Shouldn’t the first reaction be: “I am so sorry I kept you waiting?” This approach requires a humble nature and for the human ego to take a backseat.
The very first thought should be to consider the impact on the other person. When a co-worker, friend or even a family member mentions your wrongdoing, it’s best just to listen. Heck, we aren’t perfect, we are human! People are going to run late sometimes, or forget to call back, or say something less than nice. We (myself included) have to suppress the need to defend and get right to the “I’m sorry.”
Elton John was right, sometimes “sorry” can be the hardest word! When said genuinely, it can be so very powerful. It’s important to remember, you don’t have to defend your stance when a mistake is made. Get right to the apology, learn from the misstep, and move on!
Agree or disagree? I’d love to hear your thoughts!