The Four Stages of "I'm Sorry"

Sorry Board Game

We can all grow and develop in our “I’m Sorry” ability.   I recently read Ross Jones’ “Four Stages of I’m Sorry.”

Stage 1- I’m sorry, BUT…
I’m sorry BUT… is a non-apology.   It’s a fake.   It gives the appearance of apology but through the “But…” continues the argument, continues prosecuting the other.

Stage 2- I’m sorry, IF…
I’m sorry IF is not really saying I’m sorry.   It’s cheating—giving the appearance of an apology without being an apology.   “I’m sorry IF you’re offended.”

Stage 3- I’m sorry, PERIOD.
Finally, after the Stage 1 and Stage 2 fake apologies, Stage 3 is actually an apology.   I’m sorry, PERIOD.   No continuing the argument against the other person.   No justification or explanation.   Just…period.

Stage 4- I’m sorry, AND…
I’m sorry, AND I am moving towards you.   I’m sorry AND I love you.   I’m sorry AND let’s move forward.

Jud Wilhite

Let’s determine to eliminate the BUTs and the IFs that stem from stubborn selfishness and supplement more of our apologies with ANDs.


About Jason Hardin

Jason lives in central Ohio with his wife Shelly and their three daughters. He works with the Laurel Canyon church of Christ. Jason has written three books and a variety of workbooks. He's a fan of photography, baseball, mountains, wildlife, and coffee. You can contact him here.

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