Charles Starrett

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Culture consultant & social tech teacher/facilitator at SoulCo & Northeastern University. He/Him. Dad, Harvard and NEC alum, visual thinker, dabbler in ukulele, electronic music, 한국어, and TTRPGs.

Don't explain. Apologize.

Mistakes happen, and the longer a relationship goes, the more chances you have of making a mistake.

When this happens, don’t explain. Apologize.

Even if you meant well but your best intention ended up hurting the other person, don’t explain. Apologize.

Even if there’s a really good reason why you did what you did, don’t explain. Apologize.

When we hurt another person, it’s not about us. It’s not about our motivation or our reasoning.

It doesn’t mean we’re a bad person, either. It’s really not about us at all. It’s about the person who we hurt. And if the relationship matters to us, the correct response is to apologize for that hurt no matter what.

Because if we explain instead of apologizing, we make it about us. And the message we send is that we value our own ego more than the relationship.

So feel the pain of hurting another person, admit to yourself that you don’t like feeling that way (nobody does!), and apologize anyway.

If the relationship matters to the other person, they will forgive you. But only if you let go of your own ego, and apologize for hurting them — simply, clearly, and directly.

23 May 2022

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