What’s the right way to apologize?

Mia, 14, lives in Sindelfingen and is interested in astrology. Your zodiac sign is Taurus.

Column: The Ways of Age: undefined
(Photo: Private)

“Oh, I’ve apologized a lot. To my parents, to friends, to teachers. No big deal really. Same with my parents. My parents are very fair. That’s why my apologies are never forced, I pretty much always know when I did something wrong. Sometimes I let slip things that I don’t mean. I accidentally insult people, even though I love them very much. One time, apologizing didn’t work. I don’t want to tell you exactly what “I did it, that would be hurtful. It broke a friendship because I behaved wrongly. I learned from that that I wouldn’t do it again.

And I now know that apologizing only works if you mean it. I always have to look people in the eye, I really have to be sorry. If you mean an apology seriously, then it doesn’t weigh you down. It’s more liberating. What is also important: words must be followed by deeds. Just rambling does nothing. You must really want to change.”

Rotraud, 77, lives in Berlin and works as a freelance artist.

Column: The Ways of Age: undefined
(Photo: Private)

“A good apology requires me to acknowledge what I’ve done to the person I’m talking to. I apologize when I’ve overlooked another person. When my actions didn’t take his or her feelings into account. When I was younger, I am I often judged people too quickly, and I often had to apologize.

I always wanted to be direct and honest. But when you are direct, you often forget in the speed of your actions that you are hurting your counterpart with this direct statement. Today I am more reserved with my judgments. I’ve learned that rude language can be corrected with a sincere apology. I’ll say, “I’m sorry. I would have preferred to say it like this.” So I can stand by my opinion but change the tone. That has always helped me.

As I get older, it becomes easier for me to apologize. That came with maturity. I’ve had to learn that when I say sorry, I don’t lose my head. I don’t want to hurt anyone. And when I’ve done that, I have to straighten it out.”

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