Something that I have learned over the years is that an apology can go a long way.
Today my friend was trying to discuss different options, dates, and living arrangements for our upcoming winter Vegas trip, and the entire time when she was explaining I had a bit of a snappy tone. I wasn’t being rude–or at least, I wasn’t trying to–but my answers were very quick and short, and I just did not come across as happy to be having the conversation.
The reason for my tone is that before she was talking to me–and well, I suppose simultaneously–I was annoyed at someone else. I had gotten home a bit stressed about homework after a Halloween party, I was worried about someone I am close to, and I was also annoyed at something else over such a small thing that was just bugging me! But the issue here is that I was letting these small annoyances, stresses, and worries affect the tone of my conversation with my friend. I just made it go by a lot rougher than it had to! And I found myself repeating the words “I am not trying to sound…” because even I knew that I was coming across as annoyed, but I did little to correct my tone, I was just excusing it even more.
I am person who is very in-tune to their emotions. I have always been this way. I notice when I am happy or sad or annoyed and I try to recognize these feelings as soon as possible and understand where they are coming from and what I can do to move forward. I developed this sort of introspection in high school and I have been working on it ever since.
And I think that is something so important! If we are the only ones who can see inside our heads, if we are the only people who know exactly what we are feeling when we are feeling it, then we should also try to understand how we outwardly express these emotions and the effect it can have on others. And tonight I recognized the effect that my annoyed tone was having on my friend.
So later in the evening, about a couple hours after the conversation, I softly apologized. I explained that my annoyed tone was not because of or directed toward her, but rather an outward expression of the thoughts and feelings I was having only minutes before she started talking to me about our Vegas plans. And she told me how she felt too! And how I made her feel. And this was so amazing! Because this is such a good friend of mine and she feels a lot of the same things that I do. When I recognize that maybe my words may have hurt someone else, I start to think about it in my head and end up telling the person that I am sorry and that I did not mean to hurt them, and then I take it a step further and say why I expressed myself the way I did. And this is so, so important. And my friend said that she is the same way–when she thinks she hurt someone’s feelings, she cannot stop thinking about it, either.
It is never, ever too late to say your sorry. It can come in ten minutes or ten months–even in ten years. But if you recognize that you may have hurt someone else and you express your apologies and gratitude for that person’s understanding, that is something to be proud of.
So today, I am grateful for not only my emotions, but my ability to recognize them. And you can be grateful for this, too.