Angel with a Broken Wing – Chapter 1

My new book, Below the Wheel, drops on June 22. Here’s a little taste over the next 3 days from last year’s novel, Angel with a Broken Wing.

 

ONE

Christian Blackmore sat quietly in the law office of Timmons and Weiss in Miami, Florida. He looked around the room at his mother and three sisters as the executor read the Will for his uncle’s estate.

He ran his fingers through his blonde hair and rubbed his eyes. He still felt hungover from last night after the funeral, but the dark cloud of alcohol was beginning to lift from his head.

“And to my dear nephew, Christian, I leave the following possessions… my entire record collection, because I know how much he loves music. My 1974 Ford Pinto, because I want him to have quality transportation. All of my custom luggage, because I know how much he loves to travel. Finally, my favorite briefcase, so that when he goes off to work, he’ll always think of me! HA, HA.”

“Excuse me, sir… But what’s so funny?”

“I’m not laughing, Christian.”

Mrs. Blackmore interjected. “Mrs. Weiss, I just buried my favorite brother. I think it’s nice that he thought enough of my son to leave him some of his personal belongings. I don’t think your attempt at levity is appropriate.”

“But I didn’t laugh, Ma’am.”

“We all heard you, Weiss. It’s the part about the Pinto, isn’t it?”

“Christian, Please. You don’t understand. It says here: ‘and my favorite briefcase so that he can always think of me when he goes off to work. HA, HA.’ That’s what’s written in the will, the words ‘HA, HA.’ See for yourself.”

Christian snatched the document from the old lawyer’s hand and read it closely.

“It does say that, Mom.”

“I told you…”

Mom… is this some kind of joke?”

Her eyes narrowed. “I don’t know, Christian. I just don’t know.”

The next morning, Christian loaded the Pinto and headed back to his home in Woodbury, New Jersey.  The old ‘gas crisis classic’ held up rather well over the two days it took him to get home. As he drove he had some time to reflect on his life.

“Five years.”

For five years he had worked for Midland Bank. It was a pretty good gig working down at the seashore. Though it was very busy during the summer season, it was dead during the winter months. He had had enough of the resort/retirement community and needed something more. Something that was at least consistent twelve months a year. He had tried to get a transfer within the company to the Philadelphia area. He figured at least there’d be more opportunity and exposure in a more populated area. After months of trying he finally resigned from his position with the bank.

He took a job with a finance company in Turnersville, New Jersey. It was in Gloucester County, a few miles outside Philly on the Jersey side of the Delaware River.

He found that the differences between banks and finance companies were radical. He was asked by management to refer to the firm as financial services, not a finance company.

One day he asked his boss why, and he told Christian that the phrase finance company held a certain negative image.

Christian figured that the job wouldn’t be much different from the one he held at the bank. But he couldn’t have been more wrong. It was like comparing apples to oranges.

When he managed a branch for the bank his duties were, do your audit and compliance books, open checking and savings accounts, develop new business, oversee branch operations, and most of all, keep your tellers happy.

If you get the occasional customer who wants to borrow money, it’s a no-brainer. If he or she had even one delinquent account on their credit report, you simply denied the request. It was that easy. The bank has the lowest rates, so they only lend money to the best customers.

But what if you had a good reason for your late payments? What if you lost your job, or your child was sick in the hospital and medical bills were piling up?

The bank doesn’t care that bad things happen to good people. Sorry.

So what does this customer do to get a loan? Where can he go to get a loan to help meet the needs of his family?

He goes to a finance company. The customer needs money to buy Christmas presents for his kids, or his daughter needs braces, or maybe she needs tuition for school. Whatever the client needs…Christian is there.

As he navigated the old Pinto North on Interstate 95, He thought of the hundreds of customers he had served over the years at Midland Bank. He visualized the typical customer walking out of his chosen branch where he kept his money after being declined for a loan. The bank where he deposited his paycheck every week. The bank where he had his savings account. The place his wife made her weekly payments into their Christmas Club. The bank where his grandfather renewed his certificates of deposit every six months. This man walks out of his bank and comes across the street to see Christian. Christian Blackmore. Finance Company Man!

He thought about how the meeting would go. Turning it over in his mind. They were all just different players in the same game.

His game.

“Hey Joe, how’s it going?”

“Not good, Chris. My bank just turned me down for a loan. I’ve been banking there since the joint opened!”

“Well Joe, maybe we can help you here.”

“Really? That’d be great!”

“Why were you declined?”

“I got hurt on the job a year ago, and I got behind on some of my payments because I was out of work for a couple of months.”

“Are you current with everybody now?

“You mean up to date on all my bills?”

“Yes.”

“Absolutely.”

“How much do you need to borrow?”

“About $1,500 would do it I guess.”

“Okay, that’s going to be $63 a month for say…18 months?”

“Yea sounds good. Hey, what’s the payment on $2,000?”

“Well Joe… let me get some more info and we’ll see if we can get this done today.”

“Thanks, man!”

Christian took a sip from the paper cup filled with bitter black coffee. He turned up the radio to drown out the hammering of the old engine as it pushed the tiny old Ford through the night.

He continued to relive his daily life as he drove on. His loathing for his job helped keep him alert as he entered his sixteenth hour on the road. He thought about how that very same customer would enter his office the same afternoon to sign papers and receive his check for $2,000.

Pretty amazing, Christian thought as he lit a cigarette. Quick and easy. The client’s happy. He can send his little girl to summer camp or get his leaky roof fixed, or pay off his gambling debt to his bookie in Atlantic City.

Who cares. He’s only got to come up with $100 a month. What a super job. What a great guy Christian Blackmore is. What a satisfying vocation he has chosen. Guy had a need, and he satisfied it. The client had some delinquent payments in the past but he’s current now. Handed him a check the same day. The bank would have taken a week and charged him about 12% had they approved him.

But they didn’t.

But Christian did. He charged Joe what his boss told him to charge on every unsecured loan he made, no matter what the credit score looked like. He charges them all the State Maximum for the state of New Jersey.

That rate is 30%!

30%! That’s only 20% less than the loan sharks in South Philly charge.

Christian thought about his boss. That pig Andy. He could almost hear his voice now… “Don’t lose any business boys. If they balk at the rate, cut it back to 28%. Show ’em we’re flexible.”

“Oh yea, thanks, Andy. They’ll love that rate. Don’t people usually like to have their clothes off when they’re getting screwed?”

Christian knew he needed to get out of this job. He could feel the rage rising in him. He took a deep breath and exhaled so as to not drive faster due to his anger. He spoke out loud to himself in the car.

“They love that low payment I quote them. Yessiree! That low payment is packed with Life, Disability, and even Unemployment insurance. It’s sick! People pay so much in interest and insurance we pack into these loans. We make a fortune from their misfortune. ‘At least we get ’em the cash when they need it.’ Andy says.”

“Yea… but what a price they pay. Jeezus, what I do to these hard-working people every day is criminal. I should just go put on a mini skirt and a pair of fishnets and heels, and just grab a handful of credit applications, and go stand on the corner of Mickle Street and the Admiral Wilson Boulevard in Camden, and peddle my wares with the rest of the hookers!”

Christian maneuvered through the traffic around the beltway in Washington, DC. The little Pinto would sputter and buck whenever he would gun the accelerator. He thought about how a huge part of his job was collecting payments from slow-paying customers. That was the worst part of the job.

“I gotta find another job. As soon as I get back, I’m going to do it. I don’t know what I’m waiting for. Damn slow accounts. Calling those people every Tuesday and Thursday night to see if they’ll make a payment on the overpriced loan I made them.”

Christian pushed on for another three hours until he arrived home. He pulled into his driveway. He began unloading his ‘inheritance.’ He was too tired to carry all the junk into the house so he locked it all in the garage, went inside his house, and fell onto his bed to disappear into blissful sleep.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

10 Reasons He Suddenly Stopped Chasing You – Even When You Wanted Him To

He pursued me, then suddenly stopped.”

If there’s one thing that men like, it is the chase. They love it when you play hard to get and it makes them want you even more. Yes, we women enjoy it too. But what happens when they suddenly get tired of the chase and decide to move on? When he pursued you, there was slight teasing, you played hard to get and wanted him to pursue you just a bit more. You felt that everything was going well while you played the game of chase with him when suddenly he stopped chasing you.

When it comes to love, dating, and relationships, it is so hard to guess what the other person wants. The moment you feel that it is leading somewhere, he stops pursuing you, leaving you clueless about what happened.

The first question is how does a man pursue a woman? If he always initiates conversations, talks about meeting up, responds to your texts at lightning speed, gives you small surprises, then these are the sure-shot signs he is pursuing you, or in your case, “was pursuing you”. You feel that something has suddenly gone off about him and he doesn’t chase you like he used to before.

You want him to pursue you now but are worried that it’s too late. If you really like this guy a lot and want him back, you need to first identify the reasons why he has suddenly stopped chasing you. It could be nothing, but it’s better to get it cleared out before it’s too late. Here are 10 reasons why he suddenly stopped chasing you.

1. He feels that you’re not into him

He feels you don't like him

When a woman constantly turns a man down, they begin to think that the woman isn’t interested in him. They don’t want to sound all clingy and desperate in front of the woman and begin to feel that it is time they stopped chasing a woman who isn’t into him. Men like the chase, but when the chase gets difficult, they tend to chicken out, at times concluding that the girl is out of his league. If you are among the women, who have turned him down more than once, it means that the guy feels that you’re not into him. This isn’t the time to keep thinking about, “Why he stopped chasing me?”, but about, “How to get him to ask me out again?”

2. He feels like a rebound

Many times, when a man starts pursuing a woman who has just come out of a serious relationship, they feel that the woman is keeping them hanging because she wants him to be her rebound. He spots the signs of being a rebound, and he backs off. He doesn’t feel like he belongs there and realizes that pursuing someone who has just got out of a serious relationship was a big mistake.

3. He’s dating other people

Perhaps he is dating other people

Twenty-First Century dating is more about keeping all options open, weighing the pros and cons, instead of looking for cupid to strike you with an arrow. If this guy has suddenly stopped chasing you, there are chances that he’s dating other people or has found someone else more compatible. Of course, pursuing you does not translate into being exclusive with you!

You might have thought that he was exclusive but that was probably not the case. For him, the meaning of commitment might have been different from yours. If he’s dating other people, it’s time to move on.

4. He feels like a backup

Many people like to have backups. Backups are people which one person keeps to fill a void or when things get lonely. They know that their backup will always be there at their beck and call and thus prefer to keep them hanging. You may not be one of those women, who keeps men as their backup but if this guy has experienced being someone’s backup before, then he might feel so. He may read signs that he is your backup plan. If you are unintentionally keeping him away from your personal life, he might feel that you don’t consider him important enough to be a part of it. Making him a part of your life will solve this problem.

5. He doesn’t see it going anywhere

He feels lost

You might be wondering why he suddenly stopped pursuing me? After chasing you and trying to impress you for some time, he might realize that it isn’t going anywhere. He might be going around in circles without any actual results. If you were playing hard to get too much, he might have got the wrong signals and thought that you weren’t interested in moving it forward. A guy doesn’t like waiting for too long, they prefer in getting clear signals instead. Once he is tired of waiting, he will stop pursuing you and move on.

6. You’re a control freak

How you behave before getting into a relationship has a lot to do with men pursuing you. Men usually like to do all the planning. They like to lead with things and surprise their loved ones. If you’re a control freak and have taken control of things even before getting into a relationship, you’ve probably scared him away. He pursued you because he was attracted to you, but on seeing how fast you’re taking it without even asking him, is the thing that has probably scared him off.

This guy pursued you, went out with you for some time and you thought that it was finally leading somewhere. Before anything significant happening, this guy suddenly chickens out like Chandler in the first four seasons of Friends. There are high chances that this guy is scared of commitment. If you really like this guy and think that something could really happen, talk to him and see how he feels about commitment. If he admits to having commitment issues, take it a bit slow.

8. He’s not interested in you anymore

He is not interested in you anymore

If a man is interested, he will pursue you but when he realizes that he’s not interested anymore, he will decide to move on. Well, this is just how dating works. When a person is interested, he/she will pursue you to get to know you on a personal level. You either hit it off or you don’t. If he doesn’t feel a connection or feels like you aren’t someone he sees himself with, then he’ll stop pursuing you.

If he’s a gentleman, he will own up and tell you that things weren’t working out. But if he has stopped chasing you without telling you, you know what to call him.

9. His deadline has ended

Most men have a mental deadline when it comes to chasing women. It is because they don’t like chasing women for too long. They prefer in living in the moment rather than leaving it on fate to make something work. If you’ve kept him hanging for too long and he’s suddenly stopped chasing you, it means that his deadline has ended. He doesn’t want to keep chasing something that has a dead end and is thinking about moving on from you.

10. He has found someone else

He may have found someone else

Men stop chasing someone or put a halt to their chasing when they find out that someone else is into them. He could have also fallen for someone else instead. Your guy might have grown tired of waiting around and in the process might have found someone else. If he has been avoiding your calls and texts and is making excuses and ignoring you for someone else, then rest assured he has made his choice and you can’t do much about it.

When a man chases you, it is because he wants to prove his worth to you. He likes playing chase but when he doesn’t get the response that he was hoping for, he feels like it’s better to move on instead. If you really like this guy and are thinking that, “He stopped chasing me, but I want him”. There is some damage control that you can do. You might be tempted to taking him on a guilt trip or making him jealous, but the best thing to do is to talk to him openly about it. Knowing his side will help you understand the situation and clear misunderstandings if any.

If he’s still into you, you’ll be able to start things again and if he’s not, you will get some closure and will finally be able to move past it.

 

The Absolute Dater – Making Online Dating Easy Again

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Tales of Rock – 5 Songs That Only Became Popular Because We Missed Their Meanings

Ronald Reagan famously misinterpreted “Born in the U.S.A.,” thinking it was about how awesome America was, spacing out during the lyrics about out-of-work vets hounded by memories of dead friends lost in a pointless war. The Gipper wasn’t the only one to miss the point. Pop music can be deceptively deep, and so some songs are only beloved and remembered due to us being completely oblivious.

Funny enough, when those smash hits make millions of dollars, artists generally don’t seem in too much of a hurry to correct us …

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” Is About A Father Destroying His Family’s Lives For Money

Commissioned for the musical Meet Me In St. Louis, Ralph Blane & Hugh Martin churned out one of the most memorable Christmas songs ever written and one of Judy Garland’s signature numbers. Everybody loves a warm, cozy Christmas song. Too bad “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” isn’t one.

It’s actually about hard times and the economic necessity to pack up and take your family away from your small, close-knit little community to relocate to New York City, left only with pale memories of better times. Near the end of the film, Garland sings of friends and memories that are lost and might never be recovered, echoed in the line, “Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow,” with the scene culminating in a child’s emotional breakdown. Not to mention that when Judy Garland sings of trauma, alienation, and lost innocence, she speaks as an authority.

Loew’s Inc.
“Hey, I think you lost your whiskey flask in that mound of asbestos, Judy.”

The song was so depressing that it was altered twice. First changed only superficially, altering the breathtakingly-nihilistic line: “Have yourself a merry little Christmas, It may be your last,” to the slightly less pathetic: “Have yourself a merry little Christmas. Let your heart be light,” the song remaining very downbeat. And then a second time, the song altered by Frank Sinatra, who made it a habit of changing other songwriter’s lyrics, turning it saccharine and easily digestible. While Garland’s rendition remains the more iconic, the melancholy truth has been wiped away by a cheery erasure … which is probably the most on-point message for child stardom imaginable.

“The Clown Song” Was Written as an Epic, Heroic Theme

Nobody knows what it is called, but once you hear “clown music,” you’ll know it immediately.

If you have coulrophobia, shoot, we probably should have given you a trigger warning or something before we dropped that song. Sorry.

The disconnect between intent and interpretation apparent when you learn that the goofy-sounding tune was originally titled: “Entrance of the Gladiators.” And, no, the title is in no way being sarcastic; this was intended to be a grandiose, dramatic, awe-inspiring march to be played by a real military band or orchestra instead of an organ grinder in a circus.

The piece was written in the era when marches were the hottest genre of music, with no shortage of wars to play it during. Tonally, it was conceived to summon the pomp and life-and-death struggle that was armed combat in the Coliseum to life. It was composed by Czech military bandleader and prolific composer Julius Fucik, who, in all certainty, did not have a fez-bedecked simian sidekick.

Library of Congress
His monkey wore miniature gladiator armor.

Fucik approached his craft with great pride, studying under the tutelage of master Antonin Dvorak and touring across Europe, a respected figure. All well and good until one day, his song, also known as “Grande Marche Chromatique,” was reworked by a Canadian arranger as “Thunder and Blazes,” forever destroying Fucik’s creation. The tune would never be taken seriously by anyone not wearing greasepaint and a red nose ever again.

“Baba O’Riley” Is an Ode to Meditation and Warding off Peer Pressure

The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” — or as it is usually referred to by everyone who isn’t a Rolling Stone writer, “Teenage Wasteland” — quickly attained status as a stoner classic. It’s a go-to title or reference for anything involving kids experimenting with drugs and rebelling against their parents.

Need background music to illustrate the generation gap while you give attention-seeking adolescents national TV coverage? Got ya covered:

“What are your kids doing in a back alley when you’re at work? Footage at 11!”

However, The Who’s Pete Townshend was not a dropout nor a casual-drug enthusiast like every other rock idol when he wrote “Baba O’Riley.” He penned the song when he was fed up with the cliched rock persona, making a point about drug dependency as a literal case of wasted potential. Townshend was really interested in trying to persuade us to open ourselves up to love and nourish our consciousness in a land of spiritual desolation. He failed, drowned out by the sound of a million bubbling bongs.

“Baba” refers to mute guru and avowed living god Meher Baba, of who Townshend was a zealous adherent. The mystic preached abstinence from drugs, with The Who songwriter gushing, “I felt more keen about getting into Meher Baba than I felt about being stoned all my life.” Listeners? They just wanted an awesome keyboard riff and refrain they could blast out a car window as they peeled out of the high school parking lot to pick up munchies.

“Song 2” Is a Smug Criticism of American Musical Tastes

The English “Brit-pop” outfit Blur was mostly overlooked by America in the mid-90s, with the grunge bands stealing all the spotlight. In response, “Song 2,” off their fifth studio album, was conceived as a joke. It imitates American grunge groups’ distorted, wailing guitar sound while also mocking their fan bases’ hyperactive antics, whom the band perceived as having trash taste. Even the title reminiscent of a hunk of molded plastic that rolls off an assembly line.

“Song 2” was a rebuke of everything that grunge stood for and a celebration of Blur’s Brit Pop genre. But, just like today, no one in America gave a shit about British musical pretensions, with listeners blasting it alongside grunge band de jour. Joining the pantheon of incoherent but catchy rock staples, the song was locked in at sports arenas and frat-party playlists.

Sounding like nothing the band had made to date …

… nobody understood the joke, assuming Blur were altering their sound and trying to appeal to Americans, yet more identical, skinny white dudes wailing over electric guitars. Their hit came to represent everything the singers were opposed to, as it became the most requested rock song on MTV. In America, it remains their only recognizable song despite a sizable back catalog. Blur seemed to forget about their message too and embraced it as their career-defining hit:

“Stayin’ Alive” Details Escaping a Depressing, Crumbling Dump

 

Soaring into the zeitgeist, fresh off the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, “Stayin’ Alive” was the biggest hit and most recognizable single of the Bee Gees, the song emblematic of the disco era and decade. As the lyrics: “Somebody help me,” and “Life goin’ nowhere,” clearly hints at, the song was not designed to chronicle the local discotheque’s joys.

The Gibb Brothers were Brits, raised in Australia, and the song recorded in France. Their knowledge of America was limited to hotel rooms, buses, and newspapers. “The lyrics very obviously state the scenario of survival in the city, and it’s not about disco dancing at all,” Robin Gibb said. The city is New York, and survival is used quite literally. In 1977 the Big Apple was a laughingstock. If you know anything about its reputation as a failed, crime-ridden, miserable dump, you can figure it out what reality the song was really getting at…

The Bee Gees were trying to be profound, and we didn’t give them a chance. The line “New York Time’s effect on man,” is explained by the co-writer Barry Gibb, describing the song as bleak and intended for “desperate” people “crying out for help,” explaining why the music video was shot in a rubble-laden slum. There is a line about “dancing shoes,” but considering the rest of the song’s content, it’s metaphorical at best; according to Robin Gibb, the band completed “Stayin’ Alive” without even knowing the John Travolta film’s plot.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

‘Micro-cheating’ is the new dating trend you need to know about

As if the world of dating wasn’t complicated enough, it’s now been revealed your partner could be cheating on you by doing something some might consider relatively harmless.

The concept of cheating is pretty straightforward; when someone in a relationship strays away from home. Yet now, experts at eHarmony and telling us to look out for a partner ‘micro-cheating on you too.

The dating website defines ‘micro-cheating as “a term which encompasses smaller, albeit questionable acts” from a partner.

Think like the social media posts of someone else you’re attracted to, or sliding into their DMs, something tech-savvy millennials seems to feel most strongly about.

“Advances in technology and the multitude of available platforms means that people often feel there is an endless choice. This choice can sometimes lead people to make toxic decisions,” eHarmony dating expert Rachael Lloyd revealed.

“It might start with a bit of flirting online and build towards full-blown emotional affairs in the digital environment. The fallout from these situations can be as devastating as a physical affair.”

She added that a couple of Instagram likes here and there might not seem so bad but it’s the intent behind them you need to consider.

Rachael also suggests setting clear boundaries as soon as possible in a new relationship, so your partner isn’t surprised when you challenge them on being too friendly with others online.

“The modern dating world can be a minefield, but clear communication can really help,” she added.

Why do people cheat?

According to relationship expert Michelle Rose, there are a number of reasons why men and women choose to cheat, with a big one being that they try to destroy what they don’t feel worthy of having in the first place.

“If they’ve got a belief that they’re not really worthy, that they’re not really enough, then they will destroy it because we’ll always live up to our beliefs and our identity,” she told Yahoo Lifestyle previously.

“The closer they get towards love, the more likely they are to do something crazy and destroy it when they actually don’t believe they have it in the first place. Even though externally they’ve got it, they will destroy it.”

Michelle believes that love is one of the biggest fears of the human race because it is a reflection of who we really are.

“The energy of love is so unfamiliar for a lot of people that when they start to go deep they’ll stuff it up, they’ll do something. Because they can only handle the superficial,” she said.

Woman touching the wedding ring on her finger nervously while having coffee and waiting in a cafe.

Relationship expert Louanne Ward claims people can be addicted to love and sex and have no idea that their actions are leaving a trail of destruction and broken hearts behind them.

She added people are often genuinely shocked and heartbroken to discover their spouse has been unfaithful yet, in many cases, there were a number of key signs they simply failed to see.

She recommends looking out for signs of ‘change in behavior’, such as your partner ‘staying back at work late more often than before, having a renewed interest in their appearance, unexplained and secretive social media activity or any other new and different activity that could and should have your radar alerted’.

“Most people will have an inner sense that things are not quite the same and may question their partner about their suspicions,” she said.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

 

There’s A Right Way To Apologize To Someone You Hurt — Here’s How

Simply saying ‘I’m sorry’ isn’t always enough.

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry …” Is there any more worthless a platitude?

When you’re in a relationship, especially for any significant period of time, you are going to have to apologize for something.

There are different ways to apologize, for sure.

There’s the “Oh, sorry,” apology you cast off when you just want someone off your back and aren’t really sorry.

There’s the blunt “I’m sorry, okay?” when you sort of mean it, but that doesn’t really do any good because let’s face it, do you really mean it?

Being on a receiving end of a non-apology apology sucks.

We all do it. And there’s a time and place for it. But when you really, truly need to apologize for something you’ve done, something that has wronged or insulted or hurt your partner, you need to understand what a true apology consists of.

So, what makes for a good apology?

You have to mean it, sure. But, there’s a narrative structure that a good apology should follow.

Roy Lewicki, professor emeritus of management and human resources at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, is an expert in the art of negotiation as well as rebuilding trust.

He’s spent years researching the ideal apology and he’s broken down the perfect apology into six distinct components:

  • Expression of regret
  • Explanation of what went wrong
  • Acknowledgment of responsibility
  • Declaration of repentance
  • Offer of repair
  • Request for forgiveness

Understand these six steps and you’ll be able to craft an apology that really, truly means something. It sounds a little complex, but Lewicki explains that, when followed properly, these six steps are not only very simple, but also quite effective.

We asked Lewicki to break down each one and explain how and why they work so well.

Here’s his expert guidance on how to apologize to someone you hurt.

1. Expression of regret

To start, you simply must tell the other person that you’re sorry for what you did.

It’s important that you get this part right because it will set the tone for everything that follows.

Tone is crucial. If you sound insincere, sarcastic, or at all annoyed, then whatever else you have to say next will ring hollow.

“What this does from the speaker’s point of view is, is try to express how sorry they are for the offense,” Lewicki explains. “This is where tone can make a difference. You can say, ‘I’m really genuinely sorry,’ and communicate some emotionality in that. Or you can be sarcastic and say, ‘I’m sorry, did I offend you?’ and totally diminish the content of your apology.”

2. Explanation of what went wrong

Here is where you have a chance to explain your side of the story and try and let your spouse or partner know that, whatever mistake you made, there was a reason behind it.

This can go a long way toward letting your spouse see what your thinking was behind your actions and perhaps change their perspective on why they’re upset.

If they think you did something wrong, because you’re thoughtless or don’t care, but then hear your actual reasoning behind your error, it can soften them up a lot.

“It’s trying to help the other party understand how this happened in a way where they can understand that it was a mistake or an error,” says Lewicki. “It’s an effort to put them in your shoes to get a sense of how and why it happened.”

3. Acknowledgement of responsibility

This is a hard one for some people to do because it requires them to step out from behind their own ego and defensiveness and simply fall on the sword.

If you did something wrong, you just have to own it.

This is key, as it can signal to your partner that you’re aware of your actions and that you accept your role in them.

A non-apology or shifting of the blame will only make things worse here.

“This is saying, ‘I was wrong when I did that and I accept responsibility for my actions,’ ” says Lewicki. “As opposed to saying something like, ‘the Devil made me do it,’ or some other effort to put the blame on somebody else for what happened.”

4. Declaration of repentance

Here’s where sincerity really comes into play.

You have to step up and promise that whatever happened will never happen again.

It’s a promise to not repeat your actions.

“In the second study we did that turned out to be the most important element. It’s saying, ‘I regret this happened. I’ve learned my lesson,’ ” says Lewicki. “But if you make that promise, then you have to not do it again. Kids are notorious for this. They promise they won’t do X and then 10 minutes later they do it again. If you do that, [subsequent apologies] lose credibility.”

5. Offer of repair

So you’ve said that you’re sorry, but what are you going to do to make it right?

How will you move forward from here?

Letting your spouse know that you’re not just sorry in the moment, but that you’ve established a plan to go forward and fix things in the long-term will make the apology go down a lot easier.

“If there were actual damages you can offer to pay for or repair the damages, or if there were [emotional] damages, then a dozen roses, or a box of chocolates might do the work,” says Lewicki. “I’m serious about that. Token offers of repentance that are above and beyond just the words are often quite symbolic.”

6. Request for forgiveness

Interestingly, Lewicki’s research marked this as the least important element in the apology.

Provided you nailed the other five, this one should just be a formality.

“Here’s where the severity of the violation comes in,” says Lewicki. “I mean, if you promised to bring home a pizza for dinner and forgot, that’s different than if the spouse finds that you’ve been seeing another woman. But, if the violation is correctable and the violator shows real intent in not repeating, then it’s much more likely to rebuild fundamental trust, but it’s going to take time. It doesn’t spring back immediately.”

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1