November 16, 2020

Apology Languages

Mental Health & Wellbeing

Have you ever been curious about your reaction to someone apologizing to you? Wishing they said this or hoping they did that, whichever you needed to fully accept their apology? If you are like me, this may be the first time you’re wondering about the best way you receive a sincere apology from a friend, family member, spouse, or coworker. I was recently on Twitter and saw a tweet saying, “It’s important to know your partner’s love language, but do you know their apology language?” You may have heard of the 5 Love Languages (acts of service, gift-giving, physical touch, quality time, and words of affirmation), but have you heard of the 5 Languages of Apology?

Similar to having a primary love language, the way you accept an apology has its own language. Formulated by the same Dr. Gray Chapman and Jennifer Thomas of the 5 Love Languages, the two noted in their book, “When Sorry Isn’t Enough,” how saying, “I’m sorry,” may not be sufficient for some people. Possible responses can consist of promises to not do it again, acknowledging fault, or asking how one can be forgiven. Taking this quiz on apologies languages or reading the book, “When Sorry Isn’t Enough,” can provide insight into what language convinces you a person is honest with their apology or how your apology languages can affect others.

What are the languages?

The five apology languages mentioned in the quiz, as well as their book, include:
– Accepting Responsibility – “I was wrong for ______.”
– Expressing Regret – “I’m sorry.”
– Genuinely Repenting – “I will make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
– Making Restitution – “How can I make this right?”
– Requesting Forgiveness – “Will you forgive me?”
When going through the quiz, a prompt appears, opening with a specific person (i.e., mother, friend, coworker), what they did to wrong you, and what they should say in response. After presenting a scenario, there are five answer choices, each corresponding to a particular language. In the end, the results will show how much percentages of each language you prefer, based on the answers you chose, with your primary apology language listed in the middle.

How can you receive each language?

If your language is Expressing Regret, this is a straightforward notion of saying, “I’m sorry.” Communication is necessary for a lot of us to gauge the sincerity of an apology, and to utter the actual words can help you feel recognized when you were hurt.

If your language is Accepting Responsibility, you value a person recognizing what they did wrong and saying it aloud. Sometimes it is not enough to hear an apology, but for a person to take ownership of what they did to hurt you.

If your language is Genuinely Repenting, you are likely to be more responsive to a person who acknowledges their wrongdoings and verbalizes changing their behavior. There can be a sense of comfort in knowing that the other person desires to avoid making the same mistake again, and it allows for open communication for prevention.

If your language is Making Restitution, you would like some reassurance from the other person. This is when the person who hurt you shows regret and takes responsibility, then actively demonstrates they are attempting to be forgiven and make amends.

Lastly, if your language is Requesting Forgiveness, you may want to hear a person ask for your forgiveness due to what they did wrong. It can be valuable for a person to express they would like forgiveness, giving you autonomy to say, “yes” or “no.”

Why learn your apology language?

It should be noted that these languages show up in different ways, meaning your language can change based on specific situations or people. For instance, it could be easier to forgive your friend for sharing something private than forgiving your coworker for doing the same. It could be easier to forgive your father for lying compared to your partner. The goal of the apology language quiz is to learn something new about yourself and possibly others. Learning your apology language can help you understand what you need in most circumstances where you desire an apology, and how others can account for that.

Considering the best way to apologize to others does not come naturally. Sometimes other factors contribute to the difficulty in apologizing or simply conveying your thoughts. If you would like to learn more ways to communicate tough conversations for yourself or with a partner, feel free to reach out to me, and we can work together to build around communication. Call today to set up your first appointment!

Written by therapist Bria McCalpin

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