Welcome to my blog. I’m a psychologist and the co-author (with Gary Chapman) of When Sorry Isn’t Enough. I share tips about What to Say When challenging conversations arise. I’ll check back in frequently to chime in on the conversation here.
Is anyone waiting for an apology from you? Are you waiting to hear words of apology from someone else? In talking with people about apologies, I’ve found that more people than not would like to hear an apology today. I’m among that crowd.
I’d like to hear an apology from the stranger who ran into my car with hers at a traffic light. The force of the wreck pushed my car across another lane of traffic and into a curb. The force of my car hitting the curb turned my car around backwards where it finally came to a stop. Although my car was badly damaged, my body was intact. I didn’t require hospitalization but something inside me was gone.
My sense of safety flew out my shattered car window. I had been driving to visit my sister when the driver hit my car and brought my plans to a screeching halt. For months, I was nervous about driving under green lights. The police found the other driver to be completely at fault. I had seen her walking around after the wreck but we were kept apart. My car was repaired, and I moved on. But part of me still wanted something: an apology from the other driver.
What were her offenses?
- Turning left without yielding to oncoming traffic (me)
- Running into my car
- Putting my life in danger
- Ruining my short-term plans
- Threatening my entire future
Perhaps you’ve been through something as bad as or much worse than my experience. If not, perhaps you can still relate to some of my feelings. I think a man named Claude Soffell could relate too. Who is he? I read online that Mr. Soffell was mugged 30 years ago. The man who mugged him, Michael Goodman, was briefly arrested for the mugging. Goodman wrote publicly that he has carried enormous guilt for this mistake he made back in his 20’s.
I was touched by the imperfect but contrite message Goodman recently posted on Soffell’s Facebook page:
What He Said:
“Finally I can say ~ I’M VERY SORRY that you had to go through that crap that day long ago, I wish it had never happened but it did.”
What Happened Next?
Apparently, Mr Goodman faced an intense ten-hour wait for a reply, but the man he had mugged more than three decades ago did eventually get back to him. He posted this reply:
“Michael A. Goodman, clearly you’re a “bigger man” today. wow. Memory is a funny thing, I recognize your name now, as well. So, apology accepted.”
What is your reaction to this story?
Do you have an apology that you need to offer?
Is there an apology you are waiting to hear?