The 4-Part Apology

The 4-Part Apology


When an apology is necessary, the 4 Part Apology is a great way to help a person look beyond the actual incident to the consequences of behavior. By defining those consequences and choosing a different behavior, both individuals remain thoughtful and supportive rather than angry and resentful.

Acknowledge: Take responsibility for your actions and behaviors. Use “I” statements.
Examples: “I acknowledge that I hurt your feelings when I said those things about you.” … or … “I acknowledge that I borrowed your MP3 player without asking you.”

Apologize: Acknowledge the “cost” to others. If unaware of “cost” then ask.
“I apologize for hurting you and I realize that I may have ruined our relationship.” … or … “I know that I must have caused some damage, can you help me understand what that damage was? …. I apologize for ________ because it hurt you.”

Make it Right: Deal with the consequences of behavior. Ask the person, “Is there anything I can do to make it right?”
“What can I do to make it right?” … or … “I want to do something to help maintain our friendship. I would like to spend more time with you.”

Recommit: Make a commitment to appropriate behavior. Commit to not having the same behavior again.
“I agree to speak with good purpose.” … or … “I agree to ask before I borrow anything from you.”

from Quantum Learning

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

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image: lotus flower, aotaro, creative commons usage

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