Santa Clarita Life Coach Alex Urbina is talking about what it means to say, “I’m sorry,” and when it may be appropriate not to apologize.
Using the words “I’m sorry” can communicate several different things to the recipient — the first being that you didn’t mean to do something that hurt another person, which Urbina noted is helpful to say during an apology.
“Some apologies comes with, “Hey, I’m sorry that that’s what happened — I didn’t intend to do that,’” he said. “I think that helps for somebody hearing an apology. (It’s) you taking responsibility for saying something, being a part of it, creating it or co-creating the misery that they’re feeling. So it’s taking ownership of it.”
In the case of a person being hurt by your actions, choosing not to apologize can lead the other person to think that either you’re unaware you hurt them, or you’re “callous” and just don’t care, according to Urbina.
“That’s why the words ‘I’m sorry’ and apologizing is letting someone know, ‘I do care, I am compassionate, I do feel that you’re hurting and that does matter to me,’” Urbina said. “So by you apologizing and using the words ‘I’m sorry,’ it’s communicating a lot more than just the words.”
However, there may be times when someone expects an apology from you when you may not feel it is warranted.
For instance, Ellen Tunick, Urbina’s co-host on “The Alex Urbina Radio Show” on KHTS, recalled a time when she was driving with her husband recently and they disagreed on the location of the restaurant they were looking for.
“I told him that the restaurant we were going to was in the front part of this place and he said, ‘No, it’s in the back,’” Tunick said. “I said, ‘No, it’s in the front,’ so he said, ‘Fine, we’ll go to the front.’”
When the couple arrived at the front, it turned out that her husband was correct and the restaurant was actually in the back, so Tunick’s husband turned to her and asked if she was ready to say she was sorry, according to Tunick.
“I said, ‘No, I will tell you I was wrong and that you were absolutely right, the restaurant was in the back,’ but I didn’t see the need to apologize for that,” Tunick said.
Urbina first asked if Tunick’s husband was really looking for a formal apology, and she replied yes, that her acknowledging he was right was not enough.
“When he asked you to apologize, I’m wondering why you didn’t ask him if his feelings were hurt, because that’s the missing puzzle piece for me,” Urbina told Tunick. “How come you didn’t say, ‘Well I’ll apologize, honey, if your feelings were hurt. Were your feelings hurt?’”
If Tunick had responded this way, her husband could have “checked in with himself” and realized that his feelings were probably not hurt, according to Urbina.
Similarly, Tunick could have continued by asking if her husband was offended by the situation, to which he also probably would have replied, ‘No,’ according to Urbina.
“Okay then, what would be the purpose of an apology?” Urbina continued.
To hear more of Urbina’s conversation with Tunick about saying, “I’m sorry,” watch the video above or click here for the full podcast.
Ed. Note: This article is a KHTS Community Spotlight based on the latest “The Alex Urbina Radio Show” on KHTS.
Santa Clarita Life Coach Alex Urbina is one of the leading experts on teen, parent and family relationships. Specializing in personal transformation, Urbina has more than 20 years of experience as a life coach Santa Clarita residents can depend on. His Life Leadership Training programs have been implemented in schools, youth organizations and transformational centers across the country. Urbina is also the author of “The Inspirational Parent: The Magical Ingredients for Effective Parenting” and host of “The Alex Urbina Radio Show: Helping You Reach Your Full Potential” on KHTS, which airs Fridays at noon.
Alex Urbina, Santa Clarita
Alex Urbina, Santa Clarita Life Coach, Life Coach Santa Clarita, Personal Transformation, Parenting, Parenting Books, The Inspirational Parent