One of the hardest things in a friendship is working through conflict. Apologies go a long way in this regard, but they aren't always done well. Some folks skip apologies altogether and just assume their friend should know that they're sorry. Others say many other things in place of an actual apology.
Never discount just how important apologies are in a friendship. These quotes should provide you with inspiration on how to apologize the right way.
"Never ruin an apology with an excuse."
- Benjamin Franklin
A lot of people struggle with apologies. Some make grand gestures rather than apologize, some buy gifts, and some think that an apology is the time to explain themselves. A good apology should be simple, genuine, and straightforward.
"In this life, when you deny someone an apology, you will remember it at time you beg forgiveness."
― Toba Beta, My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut
The flip side of a bad apology is the inability to accept an apology from a friend. Have you ever been so angry that even though your friend was sincere, you didn't want to hear it? Some faults are big ones, and very hard to forgive and get over. But you can’t always wait until you’re done being angry before you accept that your friend is sorry and you need to move on. Sometimes the only way to move past the anger is to allow an apology to happen, and let your friend try again.
"I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing."
― Plato, The Republic
Often, the first step to making an apology is admitting that you didn't know your friend was going to be bothered by what you did. We don’t always know what is going to set a friend off on a course of hurt, but that’s when we learn more about them. Little by little we find out what makes them tick, and as a result we can better anticipate how they will react in the future.
"An apology is a lovely perfume; it can transform the clumsiest moment into a gracious gift.
-Margaret Lee Runbeck
Bad things can happen in a friendship, and it can make things so awkward that you’d think you’ll never be able to move forward again. And then comes an apology... the acknowledgment that your friend knows they hurt you and are sorry.
They apologize and suddenly the tension is lifted, and you can go on with your friendship perhaps even better than before. Think of this quote the next time you’re feeling that your friendship is at a hopeless place. See if an apology, the giving or accepting of one, could carry your relationship back to a happier place.
"It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.
This quote reminds me that the word "forgive" is often misunderstood. At first glance, this quote might seem like a hurt inflicted by an enemy is an easy thing to get over. But what this is actually saying is that when an enemy hurts us, we half expect it, we process it, and the forgiveness is often silent and done for our own well being. Not for our enemy, but for us.
But the betrayal of a friend is not so nearly as easy to get over. Hurt caused by a friend unsettles us, and this makes forgiveness a longer process. We spend time not trying to get over the hurt at first, but trying to figure out why it all happened.
What’s more, when we forgive a friend it’s because many times we want to move forward. Unlike our enemies, who we can ignore and stay away from, our friends are there in our daily life. We interact with them and cherish them, and as a result, forgiveness is difficult. But if we can forgive our friends, we can create friendships that are strong and lasting.