A is for Apology

A is for Apology

At the playground Triton cried because Xerxes bit him. Mothers became involved and the following direction was giving to Xerxes:

“Tell Triton you’re sorry you bit him, but that you don’t like him to push you.”

Observers found this a familiar form of quasi-apology, similar to

“I’m sorry others were offended by what I said.”

In such statements there is enough of a hint that the offendee was partly responsible for whatever happened.  And, further, that the offensive action was justified by the behavior of the offendee.  Sort of a ‘look what you made me do.’ defense.

Saying that you’re sorry for hurting someone, and explaining how you feel about the actions of others are two separate things and deserve two separate conversations.

“I’m sorry I bit you,” should happen now.  If pushing occurs in the future, “I don’t want you to push me,” should happen then.

We frequently have two- or more! – messages we try to cram into one delivery.  Sometimes we’re sliding an unwelcome secondary message into what seems like a benign main message.  Sometimes we’re just throwing out thoughts as they come to us.

Clarity rarely ensues.  Faced with multiple messages, a listener gets to choose which one to hear, and to decide what to do about the others.  You can imagine where this can lead.

Sometimes good communication just requires a little thought before speaking.  Sometimes a refresher class can help with that.

A is for August- a good time to plan some fall training.

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Need some ideas for a refresher class?  Check our Communication Skills courses.

We are offering our Quick Guide to Managing Difficult Communication Situations to  our blog subscribers.  If you’d like to receive the Quick Guide, just send us an email at: contactus@languageatwork.com.

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