When you realize the words you’ve spoken are hurtful or upsetting, how do you respond? Stop, back off, think it through, then re-approach and start with “I’m sorry”. The most powerful way to engage is to recognize when you’ve made a mistake and acknowledge it.
- I’m sorry. I was trying to help.
- I’m sorry I made you angry.
- I’m sorry. You’re right. I had no right to treat you like a child.
- I’m sorry that happened. That shouldn’t have happened. Let me see what I can do.
- I’m sorry. This is hard. I hate it for you.