What does a good apology look like?

On a recent conflict I had

One thing I have little tolerance for is when people are late often.

If it is less than 15 mins once or twice, I can tolerate it. However, not if it happens repeatedly.

Constant lateness is something I have promised myself that I will not put up with.

Being late is a sign of disrespect. If it was a job interview or they were meeting someone important like the Prime Minister, people will not be late.

Hence, to be late often is a clear signal that they do not value you - even though you are closer to them.

In recent times, my best friend was late by 30 minutes twice.

If this was just a normal person to me, I would have left after 15 minutes. However, I valued our friendship.

I decided to express how I was feeling to her. I did not want this resentment to build and eat at our friendship.

The way she handled it impressed me.

Thought I’d share this so we can all learn what a good apology looks like:

🪷 Take responsibility. She described the circumstances which led her to be late twice. However, she emphasised they were not excuses and wanted to let me know what happened on her end to be accountable.

🪷 Show that you understand the impact of your actions on the person She expressed regret and how she knew that this would matter to me.

🪷 Explain how it is not going to happen again: She proactively expressed suggestion on how she will not let this happen again (1) Set an alarm on when to leave (2) Try to not arrange another appointment before we meet

I had some time to reflect on this after lunch and sent her a voice note in the evening to express my thoughts.

*I use Voice Notes when I feel tonality is impt for what I want to say

This incident made me reflect on a few things

1. The most effective apology is changed behaviour

Without a commitment to change one’s actions and prevent future mistakes from happening, sorry is merely a cheap word.

When I heard her commit to specific actions, I instantly felt better. True to her word, we met on Friday and she was on time!

2. There is nothing to fear about conflict

Conflict is an opportunity for two people to talk things out calmly, be respectful and handle problems together as a team.

They both leave feeling they’ve understood each other better and the steps they need to take to strengthen the relationship.

If you fear conflict and wish to avoid it, ask yourself if it is because of how conflicts are handled at home which does not give you a good model of how healthy disagreements and good conflict resolution should be like.

3. In healthy relationships, there is validation

In healthy relationships, the other person will hear you out if you’re upset and validate your emotions.

They will not make you feel like you are ridiculous for being upset in the first place.

Their goal is to avoid upsetting you in the future, not debate whether you should have been upset in the first place, or make you feel as though your emotional experience is wrong.

4. 互相包容

Nobody is perfect and we should not expect perfection.

In relationships, there must be a place for two people to accept each other’s mistakes and hold each other accountable to be better.

What matters is how you recover from conflicts that happen.

At night, I sent her a message to affirm our friendship. I said I am not perfect. One day if I upset you (which I will because I am not perfect too), I will follow the same steps you took also by being accountable and proposing a course of action.

Grateful we could resolve this and emerge stronger

On accepting our own uniqueness

I was recently reminded of how lifestyle differs from many people of my age and many others in tech sales.

I sleep early; wake up without alarm most of the time; eat clean often and exercise at least three times a week.

I do not like partying, gambling; drinking or watching dramas much.

I do not like crowds and prefer quieter spots with 1-3 other people at most.

I can hold small talk but only feel fulfilled by deeper emotional and intellectual conversations.

My lifestyle generally involves a huge proportion of time spent on introspection; thinking; reading books and writing.

Being different in this way is not the easiest, I sometimes feel different and isolated. I get shamed for being a “nerd” or get remarks like “Huh why you not fun one?”

When I was younger, I would try to blend in and be like others. However, since a few years ago, I have gradually tried to be true to myself.

If you feel a bit left out because you’re different sometimes, I am sharing some of my own personal affirmations which I hope would benefit you too:

🔸 At the end of the day, I am accountable myself. I always believe health is an investment and not an expense. If I choose to only drink once a month, I am living according to my own principles and values.

🔸 Being true to who I am have attracted a lot of likeminded people into my life. That is what matters the most. I have close friends where we can connect on a deeper level and talk about things I enjoy like business; impact; personal growth; health; goals; philosophy; culture; history; current affairs etc. It is okay if I do not connect on this level with everybody.

🔸 I embrace this uniqueness as a strength. How many people in my line of work can wake up without alarm and only drink one cup of coffee per day? The energy level I have and ability to focus is a result of this lifestyle. I would not be where I am today if I did not have such a lifestyle; level of discipline and personality.

Quote of the week

"I can't control the other person's behaviour, but I can control my response. Their actions may be rude or unacceptable, but I still want my response to be measured and thoughtful.

Even if they aren't doing what is right, I still want to make sure I'm doing what is right."

James Clear

I am a Singaporean millennial who writes about work; money; relationships and balance. 

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