Here’s the thing about apologizing like a man – you can’t actually apologize like a man, you have to apologize like a woman.
The way men and women view apologizing is totally different, and the way men view it is, frankly, pretty antiquated. Writes Sam Margulies on Psychology Today’s blog:
Men tend to view apologies as humiliating and a loss of face. Scholars of gender communication have observed that for men, verbal communication is tied up with their concern for the way their status is perceived by others. Men are more conscious of the impact of what they say on how others perceive their power position or lack of power. So for a man to acknowledge that he has done something wrong often means that he feels diminished in the eyes of those who hear the apology.
That makes sense, right fellas? Another, less wordy way to say it is that men are too proud to apologize. But as soon as you realize that you’re not losing face, but rather, you’re establishing yourself as a confident and socially graceful man, apologizing like a
man woman, makes it a whole lot easier to apologize like a man.
1. Acknowledge the wrongful act
You have to actually say to her, “I was wrong,” before you do anything else. You can’t dance around it or say that you didn’t know something was wrong so you can’t take responsibility. Say you were wrong, and move on. She will. Remember, this is how women heal relationships, not how they jockey for power.
2. Acknowledge you hurt her feelings
At this point, you’re connecting yourself to the wrongful act. Something bad happened, it hurt her feelings, and it was your fault. You’re the jerk. The thing to avoid is saying, “Sorry you’re feelings were hurt,” as opposed to the active, “Sorry I hurt your feelings.”
3. Express remorse
Now, you’re doing the actual apologizing. You need, here, to say something more about how the event made you feel. You already said you’re sorry you hurt her feelings, but so what? Tell her how it makes you feel to know you hurt her (hint: you feel terrible).
4. Vow to not repeat offend
Now that we’ve established that something bad happened and it made everybody involved feel bad, make a vow to not ever repeat said actions. This should be a fairly intuitive act, but you might want to take a page from the office playbook and decide on specific ‘next steps.’ Say something you’re specifically going to do, and ask something specific from her to avoid the situation in the future.
5. Make amends
This one is easy because it’s mostly on her. Just ask: “What do you want me to do to make this up to you.” Either she’ll say nothing, or she’ll say something relatively trivial. If you’ve been fair and understanding up to this point (you have if you’ve been following our advice), then so shall she be.
6. Seek forgiveness
The event has been acknowledged, penance has been paid, and now it’s time to move on. Here, ask her to straight-up for forgiveness. If/when she acknowledges that she formally forgives you, you should both feel noticeable relief, and you’ll be able to more forward amicably (probably to make-up sex).