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Being Sorry

by Cinnie Noble
February 2018

Conflict Management Blog by Cinnie Noble

Cinnie Noble

Sometimes we are sorry about what we said in a conflict and say so. Sometimes we are not sorry but say we are anyway. Sometimes we are quick to express regret and sometimes we are slow. Sometimes asking for forgiveness is experienced as too soon and sometimes too late.

Like many other aspects of being in conflict, there is no rulebook. Whether we ask for forgiveness, express regret or forgive (or not) varies and depends on the person, the interaction, the gravity of hurt we experience, the needs and values undermined, and so on.

What often precludes moving on and getting past a conflict is not being ready to forgive or express regret, not accepting that the other person means she or he is sorry, not being sorry, not wanting to forgive, not viewing the other person’s words as forgivable and so on.

For this week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog, consider firstly a situation in which you were not sorry for what you said and another in which you said you were sorry though you did not mean it.

What is the situation in which you are not sorry for what you said?

What did you say that you are not sorry about?

What compelled you to say what you did?

What difference does it make to you that you are not sorry?

What difference does it make to the other person that you are not sorry?

Considering a situation in which you said you are sorry and didn’t mean it (though it might be the same one), what occurred in that interaction?

What did you apologize for that you didn’t mean?

Why do you supposed you apologized?

What is bothering you most about saying you are sorry when you are not?

What difference does it make that you apologized and didn’t mean it?

What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?

What insights do you have?


Cinnie Noble is a certified coach (PCC) and mediator and a former lawyer specializing in conflict management coaching. She is the author of two coaching books: Conflict Management Coaching: The CINERGY™ Model and Conflict Mastery: Questions to Guide You.

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Additional articles by Cinnie Noble