It makes all the difference in the world!
How many times do we hurt someone unintentionally by something we said? In our relationships with others, it is important to realize that we all come with different expectations and different beliefs as to what is appropriate. Sometimes common sense for us is not very common to another. It takes humility, a gentle heart and a genuine interest in the other person’s feelings to be able to sincerely apologize when you hurt someone unintentionally. An apology is not an admittance of fault, it is not about blaming anyways, it is a simple reminder to both parties that no harm was intended and hopefully it creates the space for the communication to continue and understanding and forgiveness to take place.
Communication is the foundation of any relationship but we must realize that there are many communication styles and different expressions of those styles. Many times hurting someone occurs simply by accident; in a relationship it is crucially important that we do not immediately make assumptions and interpretations about the act or the person’s intentions.
If we feel hurt by something said, it is important to quickly realize that the other person may not be aware of what caused that feeling. We must briefly put that emotion to the side and clearly communicate to the other person the emotion and what caused it so that it can be addressed. Just be careful of not communicating confrontationally or aggressively because the other person might become defensive and the ability to communicate will be lost. I know I have made this mistake one to many times.
Also, allow space for other possible interpretations. Try not to speak from negative emotions; just speak truthfully and honestly. Be clear as to the intent of your communication. The conversation is not part of a relationship, in many ways it is the relationship. When we are triggered it is important to recognize it and fight off the tendency to attack back. Once one person is in defense mode, the conversation has shifted and is no longer fully engaged with a good purpose.
In conversations never use the following: blame, name calling, sarcasm, threatening, exaggerating, pointing the other person’s wrong. All of these will change the person’s willingness to open up and will get you nowhere in the conversation, it will even create more hurt feelings.
It serves us as a reminder that our communication is not what we intended to say it is what the other person understood. There is no doubt in my mind that if you are in a relationship, whether being a friendship or an intimate relationship, it is because you deeply care for them and the last thing you would want to do is hurt the other person intentionally.
In conversations, be sure to have no hidden agenda. Speak genuinely from your thoughts and emotions. Be quick to recognize fault and apologize. See your conversations through to completion. Look for non-verbal cues. Saving the relationship is much more important than being right all the time.