Apologizing is good, and this article isn’t to say we should never apologize because sometimes people just need to hear an ‘I’m sorry’… ladies. Sorry, that just slipped out. See how apologizing can have its place? And yes, I put that line in there to prove a point… and that point is a lot of women really do need to apologize to their husbands more… Sorry, I’m on a role with digging myself into a hole. But, fun fact, I’ve met a lot of husbands who claim their wives are really great at apologizing… to everyone else, but rarely, if ever, apologize to them; the women criticize, and criticize rhymes with apologize but it doesn’t have nearly the same sense of love being shared.
So now my point, and thank you for your patience. I’ve recently discovered we often need to switch from apologizing to thanking people… like I just did to start this paragraph. I have found that appreciating someone is often a much stronger connecting tool than apologizing. For instance, I have on occasion forgotten to respond to someone’s email until a while later. I used to start “I’m sorry for the delay,” but now I write “Thank you for your patience.” See the difference? Apologizing lowers yourself while appreciating the other person raises him or her up like a compliment. It’s essentially saying: “You’re so patient; you’re awesome.” As good as apologizing can be, it can feel like a downer and bring an air of negativity to the situation whereas appreciating the other person makes them feel better about themselves. I first came across this concept in the movie You’ve Got Mail. If you just said “What movie is that?” you’re likely under the age of twenty. This is a classic romantic comedy starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan movie. If you’ve just asked who Meg Ryan is, you’re definitely under the age of twenty because she was pretty hot. In the movie, Meg Ryan ends up in the wrong line at the grocery store and Tom Hanks swoops in and persuades the cashier to ring her through with charm and positivity. When he finishes talking the cashier is smiling and happy until Meg Ryan apologizes. There’s a distinct energy switch. Apologizing lowers yourself, which is necessary in big screw ups to show humility, but it can be socially awkward in smaller things. In most situations, remember the adage ‘flattery will get you everywhere’… the real adage is ‘flattery won’t get you anywhere,’ but thank you for understanding my point… see what I did there? I used a thank you. If you didn’t get was I was doing, thank you for not thinking I’m an idiot… and did you see what I did there? If someone reading this thought I was an idiot, I just made him or her feel guilty… that’s just a bonus… if you’re manipulative like I can be sometimes. Other examples of thanking instead of apologizing are:
- Instead of: “I’m sorry for being late,” try: “Thank you for your patience.”
- Instead of: “I’m sorry for being rude,” try: “Thank you for being so understanding.”
- Instead of: “I’m sorry for not calling like I said I would,” just frigg’n call.
- Instead of: “I’m sorry you’re so ugly,” try: “Thank you for helping me feel better about myself.” (if you can’t tell, this is a joke. Please don’t start saying either to people.)
At the gym this week, a lady asked my friend to help move a weight for her and she apologized after for bugging him. I then said “Thank you for giving my friend a chance to help you and think he’s strong for once.” She laughed and then said how that was a good reminder of how to see the positive spin of a situation, and she was left feeling better. Saying thank you is an incredible tool that we all need to be better at using because it’s through gratitude that we end up enjoying life more.
This week may you share appreciation with others.
Rev Chad David, ChadDavid.ca, learning to love dumb people