When we goof up and we realize it, most of us feel guilty. When we feel guilty we try to do something else for the concerned person so that we make up for the goof up. However, at times our best efforts to make up can look like nothing more than to manipulate or cover-up. End of it, there will be two disgruntled people – one who feels misunderstood, and one who feels manipulated.
However, there’s a better route that is less taken but perhaps more appropriate and necessary even.
First, understand that sometimes the smaller things mean more to people than all the grand gestures. Secondly, we never know what’s important to people and for what reason. So when we are trying to makeup, we are assuming that doing this might negate what we have done earlier. And that may not necessarily be the case. In fact, that might make matters worse. They feel you are trying to make up for something by doing this and this will never equate to that for them. That’s when, as I mentioned earlier, they will feel manipulated or taken for granted and you may feel misunderstood or unrecognized for your efforts.
Hence, it is vital that you first talk about the goof-up, apologize for it, and explain your intention was not to do so – without justifying. Don’t justify yourself because that comes across as defensive. You better not apologize to people rather than go and justify yourself. First, focus on them and acknowledge how they feel and apologize for that. Don’t get into right and wrong. Feelings can’t be justified and judged. Feelings if at all, can only be understood, or at the very least, acknowledged.
Avoid pushing things under the carpet. If someone gets wounded on their hand, you can’t buy beautiful shoes for their feet and expect the wound to automatically heal by itself right? The wound needs dressing. Only then anything else that you do for them can be enjoyable for them. Otherwise, they will naturally be focused on their wound and its pain. And will not be able to enjoy any of the other things that you do or say.
Healing helps to deal with hurt and pain a lot easier. And if we have created a wound, there’s definitely something we can do to help heal it too. Don’t disappear in guilt. Help in healing. It will help you in turn too.