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Killer Barriers to Apologizing in Communication

Aug 17, 2007
You know how important apologizing is but you just can not bring yourself to doing it. Maybe you are experiencing excessive workloads and stress. Maybe you do not have the guts to confront the person face-to-face. If this is the case, I encourage you to build your confidence and throw away your pride. You will be glad you did.

We often do not apologize because of fear. Why are you scared? Do you even know what you are afraid of? Our fears possess extreme amounts of power that many times we do not even know why we are afraid. The fear completely irrationalizes our minds blurring our thoughts as to what we actually fear. By consciously challenging your fears and knowing exactly what you are afraid of you will be far more self-aware and be prepared for interpersonal communication success.

The primary fear I would say people are afraid of when apologizing is the idea that apologizing puts down your protective shield leaving you vulnerable for an attack by the other person. You fear the ramifications of your actions. They think the problem is best left in the dark and apologizing will bring it to light and worsen the problem.

A part of this fear may actually be real because the topic you are discussing could be bottled-up inside of you and the other person. By apologizing you could be "opening up a bottle of softdrink" and depending how shaken the two of you are, a lot of "fizz" could come out. Anger, confrontation, and frustration will shoot-out when either of you are shaken up and have not opened up too the other person.

Being humble, calm, and losing a self-centered approach will ensure this controlling fear does not prevent you from apologizing. If the fear is minor, you just simply need to tell the person your fear and why you have it before apologizing. That itself is truly powerful and opens communication right up.

You must remember that being scared of facing the person is coming from the desire to protect yourself. You have a fear of responsibility for your own actions. Do not expect the person to treat you like an angel. After all, you did screw up otherwise you would not be apologizing in the first place. If you do not own up now, it will come back at you harder and at a worse time. You will later on learn more about timing your apology.

Another likely barrier to you apologizing is that you are scared apologizing is a sign of weakness. With this train of thought you think the other person receives a superior power over you. "Bahaha. I'm better than you. You apologized!" Yeah right. By not apologizing you are weak because you have an extreme imbalance between your courage to apologize and your big headed ego. When asking for forgiveness, your self-centeredness lowers, your courage rises, and balance exists with you and the other person.

Your goal in apologizing is not to keep what pride you have alive or to let the other person 'win'. You should be aiming to keep and develop a good relationship. There are no winners or losers. The two of you are on the same team and need to work together. Each of you are 50% in the relationship.
About the Author
Joshua Uebergang has written for you a complete course on apologizing to communicate effectively and provides other conflict management techniques. Joshua teaches effective communication skills where you can signup to his free newsletter and get a free 4000+ word report on communication skills.
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