As I pulled into the parking lot of my gym I noticed a large commotion. Several people were yelling at a woman in her car. She had been talking on her phone and apparently had barely missed backing her car into an entire family including two young kids. The parents and witnesses were justifiably angry, but what struck me was that the driver was yelling back. What kind of defense could she conceivably have for nearly running over a family due to her own negligence?
I was amazed that she didn’t just apologize. If she had just acknowledged and owned her poor decision, it would have instantly ended a very heated moment.
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It reminded me of a similar incident I had recently experienced. I was driving and looking at my phone trying to find a particular song when I came close to hitting a man crossing the street. Regardless of the fact that I had only been driving 5 MPH, I knew I had made a terrible judgement and was feeling like a complete jerk. The man was rightfully angry and ready for a confrontation. I immediately pulled over to make sure he was alright. I could tell he was becoming even more agitated thinking I stopped my car to confront him for yelling obscenities at me. I rolled down my window and said, “I am really sorry. That was totally my fault and I should have been paying more attention. I am truly sorry.”
It was like a needle went into a balloon and the balloon deflated. The situation was completely diffused.
So as I watched the scene continue to unfold in the parking lot of my gym, I kept thinking to myself, ‘Stop being so defensive and apologize. Just say you’re freaking sorry.’
Just an acknowledgement and apology and the entire situation would go away. “I’m sorry.” That short but powerful phrase spoken with genuine intent can solve pretty much anything.
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