Growing Empathy

October 31, 2017 18:59 |

Introducing some solutions if you have hurt someone’s feelings or need to mend a relationship.

students emotional intelligence empathy high school apologies

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Let’s go through this made up scenario and learn some trick on how to mend a hurt relationship. “I think I've really hurt several people's feelings. Yesterday I said something insensitive to Friend A about Friend B and Friend C, and I don't think any of them will like me now. I feel really guilty. What should I do please?”     – Anonymous Student

We have all done things that we aren’t proud of. Sometimes we mess things up and need help finding a solution. Fixing the problem can be intimidating but rewarding if you do it right. My best advice is learning about how to apologize. Apologizing sincerely can help mend hurt feelings.

You could try saying, “What I said the other day was really insensitive of me. I shouldn't have said that. It wasn't fair. I was being judgmental and gossipy — and I don't feel proud of that. I just want to say I'm sorry. I messed up." Make sure your apology comes across sincere or else it might be for nothing. Don’t make your apology about you or excuses, be genuine about how sorry you are for hurting them.

Whatever you do, do NOT include, “I’m sorry BUT…..”. You should also make sure to apologize in person. Your genuine sincerity will be easier to see in person, but if you are super uncomfortable with face to face confrontation, the next best option would be to hand write an apology note.

Another tip when apologizing is to show you mean to change your past behavior. Tell the person you hurt, you will not let it happen again. Your intention to change, might help them forgive you quicker. However, do not be discouraged if your friend doesn’t forgive you right away. We all  process information at difference paces, maybe they need a couple days to cool off, maybe they need longer to rebuild trust. The important thing is that you have tried your best to show them you are sorry. The ball is now in their court.

Last but certainly not least is to forgive yourself as well. We all make mistakes and the important thing is to learn from them. Try to move forward and forgive yourself. Focus your attention on your solutions to make things right and working towards your positive intentions to change.

We all have been there. Remember to give yourself a break and think about if the shoe was on the other foot, how would you like the situation to be handled? Good luck!

For activities based on this topic, go here.