Next time, try this.

“I am sorry, my mistake, I could have … . Let’s move on.”

It works beautifully in any situation in which there’s friction. It unlocks empathy (most likely you’ll get a “no worries” from the other side), and it allows the conversation to move forward.

It’s better than blaming the alarm clock, the traffic, the person who’s there to serve, the colleague who’s trying to help, the boss who’s learning the ropes, the partner who’s going through your same difficulties, the bystander who seems to not get it.

And it’s true.

There’s a variety of circumstances that causes what is going to happen. Chances are there’s something you might have done to avoid causing yourself trouble.

Recognising a mistake is not the same as putting an additional burden on your fragile identity. A mistake does not mean you are bad, mean, stupid, malicious. Quite the opposite, in fact. “I am sorry” means you are present enough in the situation to care about taking the next step. It’s about owning what’s happening and being ready to shape it going forward.

“I am sorry” is a strength.

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