When I first got my Core Values Index (CVI) score from netlogx I was completely fascinated by the results. It made me think about my personality in a new light and it also confirmed some of the results I received from other tests like Meyers Briggs or the Enneagram. This got me thinking about the Gallup Strengthsfinder 2.0 test, which lets you find your top five dominant “strengths” and somehow that led me to the discovery of “The Five Apology Languages”.

This immediately interested me since the Fast Track Associates just finished reading Crucial Conversations as part of our book study group which focused heavily on effective communication. Apologies seemed like a place where effective communication would be valuable so I took the test and learned a little bit about myself in the process, what was even more surprising is that the test was created by Gary Chapman; the writer behind the five love languages.

My scores in the five different categories were as follows: 14, 4, 1, 1, 0. In an effort to encourage folks to take the test I am going to leave out which specific categories the scores correlate to. With that in mind, it can be a valuable resource knowing how someone prefers to receive an apology. In the event that a situation reaches the point where you owe someone an apology, wouldn’t you want that other person to know that you were being genuine?

One of the different ways someone can say they are sorry is to “Express Regret”, meaning the message is focused in on the emotional hurt that the regretful party caused. This form gets to the point of the offense by taking responsibility and showing sincere empathy for the situation that was created by one of the parties. Individuals who listen for this kind of response don’t need a long explanation or some kind of restitution, “I’m sorry” is all they need when it truly comes from the heart.

In alignment with Crucial Conversations, vulnerability is sometimes the most important thing people look for in an apology. “Accepting Responsibility” is the form preferred by parties that just want the offending party to admit that they are wrong, a difficult thing to do sometimes. For the person that listens for this type of apology, admitting fault in a situation is the key for that message to feel authentic.

To “Genuinely Repent” is another form which focuses in on fixing the action or behavior that caused the upset. I think of the phrase “to say you are sorry, means you will never do it again” when I think of this apology language because the important factor is to learn from the mistake and not replicate it. By showing legitimate effort to grow from the mistake, the apology is sincere to the person who needs it.

Some people require the apology to compensate somehow for the offense by “Making Restitution”. For those who prefer this form of apology, the only way to make amends for the slight is to show commitment to the relationship. After the offense, there needs to be a gesture that shows the person who is at fault wants to go above and beyond to fix the relationship.

The final apology language is “Requesting Forgiveness” which ought to be pretty self-explanatory. The person in tune with this kind of apology wants the power of the offense to be with them since they are the hurt party. The person giving the apology additionally needs to ask, rather than demand, forgiveness in order for the apology to feel sincere. Asking to be forgiven takes ownership of the offense, like the rest of these.

I definitely encourage everyone to check out the test to see what kind of apology you prefer to hear. By no means does that guarantee that you will always hear it, but you may be able to recognize different forms in other people which in itself is valuable. If you notice (hopefully it isn’t that frequent) that a person apologizes in a specific way, try apologizing to them that way and see if it makes more of a difference. To check out what apology language you want to hear, go to the link below and take the test.