The best apologies come from a place of true self-reflection and understanding. You did something wrong, you get why it was wrong, and you want to make a change for the better. That doesn’t mean the person hearing it is going to accept your conciliatory gesture.
There are times in life where you need someone to accept an apology so you can both move on, but they don’t want to. It might be that they don’t think your apology is genuine or they don’t want to forgive. In some of these scenarios, it’s best to be patient, but Reddit user u/CyberneticPanda started a thread about how they try to get to the point right away:
If you make a mistake, admit to the mistake, apologise, and explain what steps you’ll take to prevent it from happening again in the future. It’s very hard for people to yell at you if you’ve done that.
Both professionally and in my personal life, I know a bunch of people that refuse to admit to having made a mistake. When I mess up (and we all do at some point) I just own up to it right away. By accepting responsibility, apologizing, and saying what I’ll do to keep it from happening again, I not only avoid getting a lecture about whatever I did wrong, I also get thanked by my boss/friend/whoever.
If you’ve messed up, admit it right away and say what you’ll do better in future. People get so confused by anyone taking responsibility they’ll wind up thanking you for your own screw up.
Is this somewhat manipulative? Well, it depends. In work scenarios, taking responsibility is a tactic that doesn’t necessarily play on the emotions of friends and family who love you — you’re just trying to get through the day and keep your job. There is a hidden danger to this strategy, as u/Ahrotahntee_ wrote:
Taking responsibility for mistakes is one of the traits of a good employee.
However! You need to keep in mind that there are situations in every career where you’ll be confronted about something that you could have prevented but was not directly your responsibility.
You need be sure the issue is something you should be apologizing for, and not attributing to its source; otherwise you will become a scapegoat.
There are lots of things that a person can do to prevent those around you from making mistakes; but it is not always your responsibility to mitigate those risks.
Basically, beware making yourself the office problem child. It’s still good advice if you want to move on more than you want to be right. Nothing compounds an error like making the injured party do all the work to make things better. Take the initiative, and you’ll be much, much closer to forgiveness.