It can happen in an instant. One minute you are engaging in a promising conversation with your crush; next, you attempt a joke or make a comment that falls short and is taken the wrong way. Now your crush is offended, and your chances of developing a relationship may be ruined. The only way to salvage what could have been is to make an apology that will make your would-be romantic partner forget your feeble attempt at humor or lack of conversational skills.
Avoid becoming defensive; instead, consider the implications of your words, suggests clinical psychologist Elvira G. Aletta, Ph.D., in "7 Ways to Give an Apology and 4 Ways to Accept One," published on PsychCentral. Ignore your instinct to excuse your own behavior; remember that your intentions and her perceptions may be completely different. Think about how what you said may have been taken, and consider alternative ways you could have phrased your thoughts.
Acknowledge your wrongdoing to your crush. Let your crush know that are aware of your offense. Approach your crush cautiously and ask for a moment to talk before explaining your sorrow at the offense. Doing so demonstrates your willingness to take responsibility for your actions, reports counselor David Bedrick, author of “Talking Back to Dr. Phil: Alternatives to Mainstream Psychology,” in "Psychology Today."
Express empathy and self-awareness as you show your crush you understand the depth of your wrongdoing, Bedrick goes on to say. Explain that upon further reflection, you see the inappropriateness of your choice of words. Emphasize the importance of your budding relationship and how much you don't want your actions to affect it.
Speak with sincerity, says Dr. Aletta. Your apology will mean nothing if your crush feels you don’t actually mean it. Ensure your intentions are sincere and make a completely genuine apology. Show vulnerability in your apology, while also expressing how deeply you want to make things right.
Depending on the nature of your offense, Dr. Aletta suggests bringing a small token, such as flowers, to show your sincere sorrow over your offense. Don’t go overboard in choosing a gift, and don’t have an expectation that presenting your crush with flowers will smooth everything over. Instead, use the gift as an opportunity to open the door and demonstrate the sincerity of your apology.
Drop the issue once your crush has heard your apology. Give the recipient of your apology time to accept your words without pushing the topic any further. Understand that your crush may neither want to forgive you nor have any interest in getting to know you further. If that is the case, continuing to apologize won’t make a difference. Respect your would-be romantic partner's boundaries if your apology is not well-received.
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Living in Alaska, Leah Campbell has traveled the world and written extensively on topics relating to infertility, dating, adoption and parenting. She recently released her first book, and holds a psychology degree (with an emphasis in child development and abnormal child psychology) from San Diego State University.
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