A Manual for Apologizing: How to Apologize?

Many times in life, we find ourselves apologizing to others. Sometimes because we had no choice or maybe it was a formality to do so and sometimes it was because we hurt someone by our actions. Many people I talk to think apologizing is a very hard task. While apologizing we are genuinely putting ourselves out and vulnerable. It becomes difficult to apologize when they are a lot of overwhelming emotions involved and might be more difficult for a person who is the head and has a lot of pride. Never in my life, I have seen my father apologizing when he did mistakes. After a fight, he was always the one to initiate the conversation, he talks to us normally like nothing ever happened. Although it is good, people we love who are hurt by our actions expect an apology. To be honest, all they expect is an apology. Why? Because when people apologize for the things they did, it makes the person feel their feelings were acknowledged. A sincere apology not only creates a stronger bond between people, but it also helps the person not to repeat the mistake. Having said that, do you know many do not know how to apologize? They make many mistakes while apologizing that can show they might be insincere. You might be one of them too because we were never taught how to apologize. So, here are the to-do and not-to-do things while sincerely apologizing.

Source: Google

Things not to do/ Things to avoid

  • No, But Please!

This is a common mistake many do. All my life I have seen many apologizing and 99% of them used “but” while apologizing. A ‘’but” invalidates the apology. It doesn’t make the person receiving feel sincere. “I am sorry but I had no choice”, “I am sorry but I was busy”, “I am sorry but I had an emergency”. All these invalidates how the person felt. If you feel you are not wrong then don’t apologize but if you know that you did a mistake, then you shouldn’t add but. “A mistake is a mistake no matter what reason you had for doing it.”

  • If and Vagueness?!

Never use “if” while apologizing. “I am sorry if I hurt you”. This suggests that the situation might not have happened and that doesn’t make sense if you already knew they are hurt. Choosing what words we use while apologizing is important because we do not want to sound inconsiderate. Using vague words only makes an apology feels like a formality. Opening up your emotions can be hard but it only helps the other person understand you more.

  • Too many justifications!

This is similar to the first one. I have seen many giving too many justifications while apologizing. I understand if one does it because he/she wants to express hurting the other person wasn’t their intention, but giving too many justifications will only make an apology insincere. If you want to explain why you did something either explain the whole situation and make a sincere apology or make a sincere apology and after the person has calmed down, explain what happened. Do not do them both simultaneously. Doing so only ends up people in frustration.

For instance, imagine your friend is angry at you because you did not make time when they needed to talk to you. You might have so much going on in your life to not make time for them but apologizing for it, only makes you considerate. So, how to do it? You can either say, “Hey! I was busy all day with all the meetings and work. A lot is going on here. I should have told you this earlier. I am sorry I couldn’t make time for you. Next time, I will make sure this doesn’t happen and I will let you know beforehand if I couldn’t make time for you.” Or you can say apologize first, ask them what they wanted, and then after they expressed and calmed down, you can explain why didn’t you make time before and can ensure that it will not happen again.

Now you might be wondering are all situations this easy. Of course not. There could be much more complicated situations especially in relationships where we might not understand why a person was hurt no matter how many times we think. So, what to do in those kinds of situations, and how to apologize when we don’t understand what we have to apologize for?

Things to keep in mind while apologizing:

  1. Always Listen mean Really Listen!

Confused by the heading? Don’t be. It is very simple. Really listen to what the other person is saying. Why am I stressing about this? Because many times we think we are listening but in reality, we are not. We might have already developed a prenotion about what could the reason for a person getting hurt and we think everything in such a way that confirms that notion. This is one of the major reasons why fights in relationships only get intense. Many couples don’t really listen to each other. I know a couple who always fought. Every time his girlfriend fought, he thought it was because he couldn’t make time for her as he was busy. Despite her saying that number of times that his busy life wasn’t a problem, the man never understood it because he never listened. So, what happened? He felt pressured for not able to manage his time and she felt, he never understood her. Eventually, they broke up because things weren’t working out but maybe if they both listened and understood each other, they would have ended up having a great family together.

  • Empathize

Now, that you have understood how to listen and why it is important to listen, after doing so, empathize with the person and take accountability for what you did. This is where you make a sincere apology by opening up your true feelings. Be considerate with the person. Things you don’t feel important or things that aren’t a big deal to you might be a great deal for others. Hence, never invalidate. No matter how petty you think that is, try to understand why it is big for the other person. “After all, you love them, and what is more important than understanding what they feel and think?” If you empathize and understand them, you don’t have to repeatedly apologize to calm them down. Once they feel they were understood, they will feel good and try to understand your situation in return and the whole conversation might help you both to come to a mutual understanding and might solve the problem. Do not believe me? Try it for yourself.

  • Take Responsibility

One should understand that apologizing is not going to mean anything if one is going to repeat the mistake. “Once you claim that you are not gonna repeat the mistake, stick to it.” As said before, if you feel you haven’t done anything wrong, say it openly. It might hurt the person but it is better than the trust being broken slowly. As you repeat the mistake, again and again, the trust is going to break inch by inch and that’s gonna hurt a million times more. It can develop a fear in the other person and they might end up not trusting anyone in the future. Hence, never pretend to give a sincere apology and then repeat the mistake. Taking responsibility might not be an easy task. A relationship always requires constant effort for things to work but that doesn’t mean you have to live up to other person’s expectations. “Communicate what you feel, what you want, listen to what the other person feels and what they want, make a mutual decision, and make an effort to stick to it, and there you go, a beautiful and healthy relationship you might always want!”


Sravani Mangalampalli.

5 Ways to Become a Better Critic

Often, in the previous articles, I have mentioned how people validate others even when they don’t feel it is true. For instance, complimenting a painting even when we don’t feel it. Usually, validations make the receiving person genuinely believe it and as a result, they will continue to be unaware of their mistakes and never improve. The problem with giving accurate feedback is many do not like to sound negative either because of hesitation or because of the fear of disappointing/hurting the other person. So, here are the tips to give effective feedback while encouraging the person to improve.

Source: Google

Tip 1 – Be aware of the subject

When we are giving feedback, we should be specific i.e., we should talk about what we liked and what we didn’t. Vagueness doesn’t help the person to improve. Hence, to be specific we should be well aware of the subject. This also applies when we want to suggest improvements. Do not give feedback only because you are asked to. If you are not well aware, then tell the person that you are not the right candidate to give feedback and suggest to them a professional or someone who you know is good at the subject. Remember not to be ashamed to say you are unaware, not everyone has to know everything.

Tip 2 – Environment

While giving feedback, the environment is most important. Negative feedback or criticism must be done in private whereas praise or a compliment can be given in public as well. Also remember, before giving feedback to have a fresh mind and a plan about what you want to say. Create a comfortable environment and start with positive points. While talking about negatives, focus on one point at a time. Do not say all the points at once. Doing so can only make the person overwhelmed and discouraged.

Tip 3 – Objectivity and Direct

While analyzing an outcome, it is important to keep your subjective opinions and feelings aside. Be honest, and objective. Try to view the result from the third-person point of view so your feedback can be more useful. Also, remember to be direct. You do not have to sugarcoat things.

Source: Google

Tip 4 – Focusing on Improvements

Always think about all the possible ways to improve the result. Remember, nothing is perfect. There will always be points where people can make improvements so try to notice them. Having said that, improvements don’t necessarily mean it should be a negative point. one can also improve their positive side to be more successful.

Tip 5 – The Usage of Words

Giving negative feedback doesn’t mean you can be rude. It only discourages the person. To use criticism, one must be careful about the words one picks. Instead of saying ‘you don’t know’, ‘you are bad at’, or ‘but’, try using the words ‘you can’ or ‘what if’. For instance, rather than saying ‘your content is great but you are bad at communication’, trying saying ‘you have great content, and what if we focus on your communication so you can reach more people?’ that way you are motivating and encouraging the person to improve.

Source: Google


Unfortunately, a lot of us are not getting accurate feedback but it’s high time that has to change. Giving effective feedback can help the other person learn and grow.  Hence, we should stop validating others and start being honest about our reviews.


Sravani Mangalampalli

Are You Presenting or Pretending?

Since young, we were all told to dress, eat, and talk properly when we were outside. When we go to an interview, we check a thousand times if we look professional enough, we practice our smiles to see if it is welcoming, and we try several dresses just to see which looks best to get a best first impression but do we stop to care about presenting ourselves once we get a good impression? I say no. We all play different roles in society; as kids, students, parents, friends, siblings, and professionals (whatever your profession may be), we have different equations with everyone. No, I am not talking about comfort level here. For instance, if there is a discussion going on politics and if I find out that I have an opposite view to my best friend’s, I can explain and be open to her without hesitation but I may not do the same with my colleague or a superior because there is always a degree of impression I should maintain and I cannot take a chance to ruin it especially if they can impact my career in the company. But the problem with presenting ourselves doesn’t stop here. What do I mean? Presenting ourselves is given so much importance to the extent where we all have become shallow and are failing to see reality. People can many times get away from whatever they did simply by the way they present or pretend. Do you not believe me? Let me elaborate on it for you in detail.

Source: Google

Most believe what they see:

Before getting into details. Let me tell you two stories

Story I: Mr. X was found dead in his apartment by the police. Police said they found the body when they had to break down the door open after his friend called the police to complain about X. People close to Mr. X said that he was stressed, depressed, and scared after he failed to answer calls of the moneylender due to loss in business. It was also found that his friend was the moneylender who gave Mr. X money and called him repeatedly and went to meet him personally when Mr. X did not respond to his calls. His friend said that he thought Mr. X was avoiding his calls so he can escape from returning the money. Police said that the crime scene and the reason for Mr. X’s death are yet to be investigated.

Story II: An innocent man was attacked by mobs when he was talking to a female friend on the street. The man was severely wounded and is now taken to the hospital by the police. Police have taken the mobs into custody and the reasons for the attack are yet to be investigated.

Did you read the stories? What was your opinion on the reasons for the death in the first story? Most people might assume that Mr. X’s death has something to do with his friend and there is a possibility of murder. Why? Because the line which says the friend thought Mr. X was escaping shows that he was furious with X and indicates a possibility of murder out of aggression whereas, in the second, the story clearly says that the man was innocent and was attacked by mobs. So, most people immediately start protesting against the incident and raise their voices for justice. But if you observe, in both situations the reasons for death and attack is yet to be investigated. Police neither confirmed it was a murder nor said the man in the second story was innocent but most assume it might be murder and fixate that the man was innocent. But wait for a second! Let me present you the same stories in a different way.

Story I: Mr. X was found dead in his apartment by the police. Police said they found the body when his friend called them to complain about X. It was found that the friend had given money to the X and called several times to get it back. When Mr. X did not respond, he went to his house to meet and talk to him personally. When no one opened the door, the friend thought that Mr. X was avoiding him and complained to the police to get his money back. After the police reached Mr. X’s apartment, they broke the door open and found him dead. People close to Mr. X said that he was facing loss in business and was stressed and depressed for several months when he started getting calls from a money lender to pay the money back. Police are investigating the scene and the reasons for his death.

Story II: A man was attacked by the pedestrians when he was found misbehaving with his female friend `on the street. The man was severely wounded and is now taken to the hospital by the police. Police were seen investigating the pedestrians and the details of the incident are yet to be revealed by the police.

See the difference? Now, what was your opinion after you read these stories? Did you not feel that Mr. X has committed suicide due to depression? Did you doubt the intentions of his friend? Or at least thought it was a possibility? No. Did I change the story or added any details? No. then what did I do? I changed the order of the information presented.’ Although in both the cases I told that Mr. X had complained to police, many in the first case might assume that the friend only complained so no one would doubt him. Another difference that you can observe is that in the first case, I said Mr. X was stressed, depressed, and scared after he failed to answer the calls whereas in the second case, I mentioned he was depressed when he started getting calls. The sentence in the first case and the word ‘scared’ indicate that there might be a possibility of threat whereas in the second it clearly shows he was depressed due to loss in business. Coming to the second story, the words ‘innocent’, ‘mobs’, ‘talking’, ‘custody’, ‘pedestrians’, andmisbehaving’ completely changed the meaning of the scene. In the first scenario, you see most people protesting against the people attacked and in the second, you see most people supporting the attackers. Unfortunately, this is how our media and influencers are presenting their stories these days. Many are biased and they manipulate the story and twist the words to fit their agenda and people blindly believe what they see without verifying the content. I have also explained this in my previous article ‘Levels of Stupidity’.

‘If twisting the story to fit their agenda makes people manipulative, blindly following them without verifying the story makes people stupid. Are you one of those?’

Source: Google

Acting can make anything seem real:

Above, when I said people have become shallow that’s because they fail to see the true intentions of others. When someone says they are interested in something or support or are against on so and so cause doesn’t mean they do. For instance, awareness of mental health is growing these days. If a popular celebrity commits suicide everyone of us uploads a social media status about depression and how should people listen, care and support depressed people but when someone reaches out how many of us give a response? Very few. One can say their agenda is to bring equality but their actions may not confirm what they said. People of this kind are called hypocrites and one must realize hypocrites are good at acting. The only way to recognize these people is to carefully observe what they say. Hypocrites contradict their points. A few days ago, an activist I know posted a social media status that it is her choice to talk or not to talk about a certain topic. She said she is not obliged to talk about everything and can be selective if she wants. Well, I agree with her on this point. After few days, she posted another status which said selective activism is not real activism and one should talk about all the social issues if they are a true activist. Contradicting? Now, that’s what I meant by my hypocrisy. Most times people fail to see these contradictive points and agree with everything they say. People being able to brainwash others that they are victims when they are the guilty one is another example that shows acting can work like a gem. If a person accused another of harm and came out in the media, people immediately believe him/her. Most times if you observe people believe the person who comes out as a victim first but there is also a possibility that the person is falsely putting allegations on the other for attention, sympathy, or any other benefits but how many of us think of that as a possibility?

‘A person who truly cares about the truth listens to both sides of the story and then concludes but a person who doesn’t care about the truth and only wants to follow others or a trend comes to a conclusion listening to one side of the story. Which one do you want to be?’

Source: Google

Validations are everything:

This is something I observe almost everywhere. Most people aren’t objective or do not say the truth for whatever reasons. They validate or agree with everything others say to play safe or simply because it is entertaining. How many of the people you know give you objective feedback? If your answer is many then you are one of the luckiest people. Validations can make people act to any extent because they genuinely believe it. We all want to be acknowledged and accepted but if that is not done objectively i.e. if a person is not given feedback about their mistakes, they will continue to repeat them. For instance, take a person who is bad at singing, if the person is validated and encouraged to upload it online instead of objective feedback on improvement, they might end up criticized or can become a troll to many. People can also validate others if they have sympathy for others or because everyone is doing it. For example, if there is a painting on social media that is not worth the price, but if the people are commenting that it is great, many who don’t feel it is great, also reply the same only because everyone is doing it. You can observe this trend more in body positivity posts. Any body type should be accepted but many do not understand the difference between body positivity and unhealthy habits. To show that they support body positivity, many end up encouraging unhealthy lifestyles. People continue to validate such things because they sympathize with that person or simply because everyone is doing it. All this becomes a problem when the person in the picture genuinely believes everything people validate and continues to stay in the state away from reality.

‘So, where do you find yourself? As someone who gives objective feedback? Or as someone who pretends and validates everything for others?’

Source: Google


People can present themselves opposite to what they are or pretend to be a person who they are not. One needs to see people beyond their projections and understand the true intentions of a person especially if they are in an influential position.

Remember, ‘to listen attentively, verify carefully, and judge objectively’


Sravani Mangalampalli.

Levels of stupidity: Check Out Where You Stand

Have you seen anyone and felt “how can someone be that stupid and wondered what runs in their mind?”. I had so many times. I understand that decisions are affected by the environment but sometimes I can’t help but think ‘why so stupid?’ I mean sometimes it feels that people forget to apply common sense. A few days ago, I got a message on WhatsApp from my friend. It was forwarded so many times. The message was about the changes made in WhatsApp due to the new rules of the Indian Government. Check out the images below.

Did you read the whole message? Now, what do you call the people who created and forwarded this message many times? Look at the last line – you will get three ticks if the government has started proceedings against you’. I mean what? As if WhatsApp can change its whole design just to help the Indian government and if this message is true, would the person who created and forwarded this message arrested by now? What interests me more is what runs in people’s minds when they forward messages like this? Do they believe it? Or is it fun to forward?  Last year, India lost a wonderful actor ‘Sushant Singh Rajput’ due to suicide. Everyone in the country grieved for him. Just a week before his suicide, his ex-manager also killed herself. Now, knowing this everyone started assuming stories and that’s human nature but what unexpected was, people started posting social media statuses about what they think happened. They came up with a story that big celebrities in Bollywood raped and killed his ex-manager and then killed the actor before he could open up in the media. When I saw this story as a status in one of my friend’s WhatsApp, I couldn’t believe how people can blindly share such stories. Immediately I told her to delete the status because it was not verified and honestly was very insulting to the deceased. I mean conspiracy theories also have a basis and limit. Thankfully, she deleted it. The next day, the father of the ex-manager filed a case about these stories. Now, what do you expect? You expect people to understand and stop posting such stories but everyone came up with a different kind of story this time and my friend posted it again as a status. This time I did not tell her to delete it. From sharing the picture of actor’s dead body to these conspiracy theories and believing a guy who said he talks to the actor’s ghost; people crossed the line of stupidity and that is when I have decided to write an article on this and here are the types/levels of stupidity I see every day

Image Source: Google

Levels of Stupidity

  • Over-confidence/ I know it all

People of this category think they know everything and believe they are geniuses. For instance, take a writer who uses unnecessary big words to sound intelligent. When I read articles, I see few writers use fancy words in the wrong places which changes the whole meaning of the sentences. I always wondered if they knew the meaning of the words they used. What’s interesting is despite many commenting on it, they repeat the same every day. I talked to a few of them and I have found out that they publish articles without re-checking/double-checking what they have written. When asked why? They said they have confidence that what they have written was right. Sadly, I see more and more people like this every day. What’s common in all these people is they overestimate themselves and never really grow. They never realize the mistakes and refuse to change. When they face a problem because of it, they try to manage or escape for the moment and then get back to repeating mistakes. I have also mentioned this in my previous article ‘Self-beliefs’. Take for example a person who just completed a course in the stock market and is ready to compete with a professional? We can’t help but think how stupid they are. These category people always underestimate the situations/problems.

  • Discrediting others

This category is related to the first one or maybe a level after it. This kind of people cannot realize that there are different ways to solve a problem. As they mostly think they are right, they fail to see the skills or talent others have and end up discrediting them. For example, an older person who is hell-bent on solving a problem his way and denying others even after clearly explaining him the smartest way. These people are always the first to give unnecessary advice and criticize other’s way of doing things. Have you ever watched sports with a person who always criticizes the players? They constantly tell you how they don’t get what others see in those players. They say they are only representing the nations because of money or recommendations. I am sure you have crossed paths with these kinds of people at least once in life. They can never appreciate others and will always try to show that they know it all. When I decided to take psychology as my career, everyone gave me advice when they had no idea what the subject is about. One of my uncles who told me he knows everything about psychology suggested I pursue an MBA after my bachelor’s. Yes! you heard it right. Although these people believe they are presenting themselves as knowledgeable, they only end up making fools of themselves.

  • One- Dimensional

These kinds of people have a very closed mindset. They fail to open their mind and listen to other’s views, ideas, and opinions. They blindly support a view and hate others. These are also the kind of people who justify their views in every possible way. I mean sometimes the justifications don’t even make sense. You know like you fell but I was pushed by phenomena. I see these kinds of people mostly in political or religious conflicts. When there is a social issue, a smart person listens to both sides and then comes to a conclusion but a one-dimensional person comes to a conclusion without listening to the other side and when you try to explain it to them, they start hating. After some point, they will completely block listening to the other side and start searching for ways to spread hate even on the good things. If you observe politicians or their supporters, many spread the news about why the public shouldn’t vote for the opposition instead of why the public should vote for them. I believe these people do not work for the betterment of society rather they work to spread hatred on a particular community. Only if these people can open their minds a little bit, the world would be a more sensible place.

  • Influential/Influenced Stupidity

This, I think is the ultimate level of stupidity and can be seen in two types of people; the one who influences and the one who is influenced. Social media has become a major part of our lives to the extent where we cannot imagine life without the internet and this has become a platform for many to express their opinions. Although it sounds good people started stating their opinions as facts and their followers started believing everything they say without verifying the content. This became super easy for people who want to spread hatred towards a community; like open an account with a few followers and start spreading hatred towards a community and that’s it you will have thousands of followers in no time. The followers who believe everything starts to share the content they see and it goes on. Remember the example I have given above? The conspiracy story about the actor everyone believed? The public not only believed the stories, but they also went on to hate those celebrities mentioned in the story. To be honest, no one knows what happened to the actor; if he killed himself or was murdered and the whole point was to find out the truth but due to these stories, the truth somewhere slipped away. It’s been a year and yet no one knows what happened and this happened in many situations. Recently, in Tamil Nadu, a teacher was arrested from a PSBB school for sexually harassing a student. Later many students opened up their stories about how they were slut-shamed by the teacher. The teacher was also seen topless and wearing a towel around his waist in online classes and shared links of pornography with his students. The teacher was immediately dismissed and arrested by police. Afterward, many students from many branches of PSBB school opened up about their traumatic experiences, and the teachers who harassed were named publicly. Soon it became a national issue but the spotlight was only on PSBB. The public has divided into two groups for-PSBB vs Against-PSBB and the core issue of child abuse has slipped away. How did this happen? People started sharing everything they see without verifying the core issue and the content. If only people verified the story before sharing it, they would have understood that the teacher who abused the student would have done the same in some other school too, not just in PSBB. Adding to this, Many influencers today are going to any extent to seek validation and increase followers in their accounts. Recently, three videos in India have gone viral in just a week. One tied balloons around his pet dog and uploaded the video of its flying, Another released a video about the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh saying he is not Indian and the third sang a rap song insulting Hindu culture and gods. Insulting a religion, stating opinions as facts are considered cool and intelligent these days. Sadly, many like this are going unnoticed, and in short, all this is plain stupidity.

Bottom line:

A stupid person acts in a way where it neither benefits them nor others. He/she can never realize the consequences of his/her actions and ends up harming others. Sadly, these people who can never learn from mistakes can influence many others in social media and the public has become blind enough to share without verifying the content. If you don’t want to be stupid, My suggestion is to open your mind, listen and verify all possible ways and never make stupid people famous!’


Sravani Mangalampalli.