Apologies are a fundamental part of human interaction. They serve as a way to acknowledge when we have made a mistake, take responsibility for our actions, and show empathy towards those we may have hurt.
However, not everyone is quick to say those three simple words: “I am sorry.” There are some people who rarely, if ever, apologise for their behaviour leaving others feeling frustrated, hurt and confused.
Meet Agnes, a young graduate who recently had an uncomfortable encounter with her colleague, Alex. During a team meeting, Alex dismissed Agnes’s ideas and made a derogatory comment leaving her feeling belittled and disrespected.
However, instead of apologising, Alex simply brushed it off and moved on. Agnes was taken aback by Alex’s lack of remorse and puzzled as to why he did not apologise. She wondered if she was overreacting or if Alex simply did not care about how his words affected her.
Agnes’s experience is not unique. There are people in our lives who rarely apologise and it can be challenging to understand why. There are several reasons why some individuals struggle with apologising. For some, it may stem from their upbringing, where apologising was not emphasised or modelled by their caregivers.
Others may have deep-rooted insecurities or a fear of vulnerability, which makes admitting fault difficult. Additionally, some individuals may have a sense of entitlement or they simply lack empathy, which prevents them from acknowledging the impact of their actions on others.
So what do you do when that apology is not forthcoming? It is important to recognise that not everyone has the same perspective on apologies. While you may value apologies as a way to repair relationships and show accountability, others may have a different approach.
Managing your expectations and understanding that some individuals may not apologise as readily as you do can help you avoid disappointment and frustration.
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And in some instances, you may have to assertively communicate how you feel after a hurtful occurrence. Use “I’’ statements to express how their actions impacted you without attacking or blaming them.
For example, instead of saying “You never apologise,’’ try saying “I felt hurt when you dismissed my ideas and I was hoping for an apology.’’
This approach allows you to express your emotions while giving the other person an opportunity to respond.
If they do not, which is a possible outcome, do not hold on to the resentment and anger towards them. Just let it go as difficult as it may be.