Successful People Forgive, Forget and Apologize

Interpersonal competence is one of the keys to success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success.  If you want to become interpersonally competent, you need to do three things.  1) Get to know yourself.  Use your self knowledge to better understand others.  2) Build and nurture solid, mutually beneficial relationships with the important people in your life.  3) Resolve conflict with minimal disruptions to your relationships.

I saw a quote on line by Josh Billings, a 19th century humorist, yesterday, “There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness.” 

Mr. Billings was on to something here.  I realize he was a humorist, that’s why he probably tied his point on forgiveness to revenge.  Take revenge out of the equation.  I think that forgiveness is the mark of an interpersonally competent person.

It takes a big person to forgive and forget.  It takes a bigger person to apologize.  Yet, forgiveness and apologies are the marks on interpersonal competence.  They help you build strong relationships and to resolve conflict with minimal disruption to your relationships.

When you forgive, forget and apologize you are saying to the other person, “I value you and our relationship.  We may have some differences, but our relationship is more important to me than those differences.  Let’s go on in spite of them.”

By doing this, you have invited the other person to continue the relationship.  You have given him or her the opportunity to save face.  Face is not important to me, relationships are.  I suggest that you adopt the same philosophy.  An emphasis on saving face can greatly detract from your ability to build solid mutually beneficial relationships and to resolve conflict with minimal disruption to them.  As the old saying goes, “An apology is the best way to get the last word.”

The common sense point here is clear.  Successful people are interpersonally competent.  Your ability to build solid mutually beneficial relationships is a key to becoming interpersonally competent.  If you want to build solid relationships, forgive, forget and apologize.  This advice is simple common sense, but it can be difficult to actually do – especially if you have a strong need to save face.  My advice is don’t worry about face, worry about building and keeping strong relationships with the important people in your life. 

That’s my take on saving face and forgiving, forgetting and apologizing.  What’s yous?  Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts on these ideas.  Thanks for reading.


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