It's not that hard to have a misstep. In fact, if you interact with enough people, it's certain that you will.
Sometimes, if we're quite lucky, when we get it wrong, the person we wronged will politely point it out to us.
At this point, we have a choice. We can elegantly (and with gratitude) make things right, which often builds a better bridge than we could ever hope for…
Or, in frustration, embarassment and a bit of pique, we can choose to make things worse.
Here are some of the magic words that might help build that bridge:
- "I" (not "we" or some magical use of the third person)
- "thank you"
When someone gives you gentle feedback, it's because they want to connect, not because they want to help you finish burning down the bridge you ignited in the first place. They don't want an excuse, a clever comeback or a recitation that you're just doing your job.
It's there if you want it.