Why can't apologizing be just that easy any more? When we were kids and we fought with friends it was simple. You say your sorry. They say they're sorry. Then you go play Hot Lava on the playground. Bing bang boom. Done.
Now, it's all about who should apologize first (if at all), who did who more wrong, and how an apology is accepted.
The perfect way to apologize is pretty much nonexistent. Goodness knows I've apologized enough to figure that out (I tend to be hot headed and a little quick on the social trigger). But what I've discovered is that simple is powerful when it comes to apologizing.
I've thought about this for a while and I've kinda narrowed things down to 3 simple child-like steps.
1. Avoid placing the blame. The whole point of apologizing is that you are acknowledging that you did something wrong. The sincerity of your apology kinda goes to the wind when you say things, "I'm sorry you feel that way." Be real. You said or did something to hurt that person and that is on you. Granted, no one can MAKE anyone feel a certain way, but emotions aren't the simple. So buck up. "I'm sorry I made you feel that way." Own it.
2. When being apologized to, just try saying "I'm sorry too." We all know that when we fight with friend we say things we don't mean. In the heat of the moment your only goal is to cut the other person deeper than they are cutting you. So regardless if you started the whole crap storm or not, the other person feels violated in some sort of way. Just apologize (like when we were kids). Sometimes it's a better way to accept an apology than actually saying the words, "I accept your apology." It helps with closure. Trust me.
3. Go play Hot Lava on the playground. And by that I mean, let it go and forget it ever happened. Chances are, neither of you is really sure how the whole thing came about anyway. You both apologized, is there really anything else left to say? Just both be over it and be done with it.
Let's take the art of apologizing back to when we were kids.