GrasshopperNotes.com - Thoughts for inspired living


April 19, 2011

I’m Sorry That Happened To You

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:26 am

One of the most powerful word combinations we can use is: “I’m sorry.”

A story that illustrates that power happened a few years back. A study was conducted with people who were medically wronged. The main finding was this: They didn’t want compensation as much as they wanted an apology.

The research found that when surgeons made an obvious mistake in surgery, the monetary damages they paid were lessened substantially when they apologized for their mistake.

We think of “I’m Sorry” mainly as an apology for something we’ve done to offend or hurt another. It has another powerful combination that isn’t used that often – “I’m sorry that happened to you.”

“I’m sorry that happened to you” is an acknowledging, empathetic phrase that doesn’t get enough work.

When something goes awry with someone and they are having a difficult time with it, with our helping hand, we tend to dig for the information of why it happened or attempt to forge ahead using some other problem solving approach.

We may initially respond with surprise or astonishment to their news, but rarely do we acknowledge sorrow for what happened to them. We seem to think the person knows what happened and now it’s time to fix it.

I can tell you from personal and professional experience that the phrase, “I’m sorry that happened to you” contains empathetic magic.

People need their situation acknowledged first with empathy.

People will pay attention to more of what you have to offer in the way of help if you first offer empathy.

Businesses are the worst offenders. Here is a typical, abbreviated exchange of emails between a customer and a business:

Customer: “I’m writing to let you know that the product I ordered from your company arrived broken. You people ought to ship with more padding to make sure that doesn’t happen. What do I have to do to get a working model?”

Business: “We use #6 padding on all our products and have very few reports of breakage. We will ship you another to replace the broken model. You should see it arrive within 5 business days.”

The customer will get a working model either way, but their feeling about the error will be lessened if they feel you are empathetic. That may be the deciding factor about doing repeat business with you.

When people are going through personal traumas, the empathic glue is “I’m sorry that happened to you.” They may want to hear that your sister had the same problem, but not first. They need empathetic acknowledgement before they can process anything else.

If you don’t mean it, don’t say it. We all have BS detectors that will sniff out insincerity in a heartbeat.

This is just a reminder to offer empathy first. It will help another transition more quickly from where they are to a place of healing.

I can’t claim that this is true, only suggesting that you give consideration to: “I’m sorry that happened to you.”

 

All the best,

John

ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING
LOSE WEIGHT & KEEP IT OFF
STOP SMOKING FOREVER
SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT EVERY NIGHT
IMPROVE YOUR SELF CONFIDENCE
I LOVE MY BODY
RELAX IN 2 MINUTES
FEEL FOREVER YOUNG
VIRTUAL MASSAGE



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