Guild Survival Guide: How to Apologize


You screwed up big time. You’ve infuriated a good number of people. Whatever it is, you made a mistake and you need to own up to it.

The problem?

You’ve never really apologized to anyone in a game before. Something I’ve noticed when playing online video games is that egos can get in the way of someone apologizing. GMs and officers screw up. We’re not perfect and we do make mistakes. The least we can do is own up to it.

Step 1: Figure out what they want to hear

Do you know how you offended them? Are your listeners justified in how they feel if you were in their position? Keep in mind what would be going on through their head when deciding your respond.

Step 2: Has it been a long time?

The intensity of the resentment will scale depending on the length of time they’ve waited for you. That means your apology will need to scale accordingly.

Step 3: Can it be made up?

It sounds cheesy, but see if there’s some way you can make it up to them. Try offering up some gold or buying them a gift. Offer to run them through an activity like an instance or a quest. If all else fails, you can’t go wrong when asking “Is there anything I can do to help you feel better about this?”

Step 4: Go full audio

A lot of communication and meaning is lost when typing messages to other people. At the very least, if you’re apologizing over a voice program, your sincerity and tone can help add to the strength of your message.

Step 5: Be sincere and straight to the point

“Look, I screwed up. I’m sorry. What I did was wrong. I know I can’t really make up for what happened but I will take full responsibility for it. This might not make up for it, but it would mean a lot if you’d accept this item/gold/activity from me. It’s a minor gesture, true. You’re pissed and I get it. I will do my best to make sure it won’t happen again. If there’s anything else I can do to make things cool between up, please let me know.”

Step 6: Give them the opportunity to speak

Don’t say anything and give them their chance to say something. Listen and don’t offer up any excuses or explanations for why you did the things you did unless you’re asked to. Once they’re done saying their peace, apologize again.

It might not fix everything. The apology might even get rejected but at least you’ve shown the willingness to take responsibility for your screw ups. It is up to them whether or not to accept and you have to be prepared for the worst case scenario. If that player was a big asset to you and your guild, they might just leave over such a grievous offense. You can’t win every battle.

4 thoughts on “Guild Survival Guide: How to Apologize”

  1. You know one thing you are missing is that these are all statements. Pronouncements from on high from an officer, or Guild Leader. In my experience the best apologies are the ones where you ask for forgiveness.

    “I screwed up. I did x. Will you forgive me?” That is a hard thing to say, incredibly hard, because you lose all your power and give it to another person.

    But it shows that person that you can be humble. It shows you can admit you were wrong. And you know how to ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness is what you need here. From personal experience it is hard to say no when that question is asked, with no excuses, no finger-pointing, no backpedaling. A simple, “Will you forgive me?” is extremely powerful. Keep it short, just 4 words, and you will be surprised at the response.

    Then and only then should you offer them something. Because otherwise you might be trying to buy them back, which is usually not what people want. They might accept it, but they want to know you know you did something wrong. Anything else can come off as condescending.

    And odd as it may seem the other person wants and needs to forgive you, as much as you need to be forgiven. Otherwise bitterness can develop and fester, which is actually worse for them than you.
    .-= Arkaneena´s last blog ..I Looked into the Future and It Looked Back!! =-.

  2. Its funny how if some folks would just apologize it would actually stop a lot of unneeded drama later. I have seen folks in my guild do something bad, instead of apologizing to the group, they rage /gquit then a month or 2 later want to come back and then apologize, but at that point there is even a worse taste in some folks’ mouths regarding the original situation.

    This also translates into RL, sometimes taking accountability and owning up to your mistakes makes you the bigger person.
    .-= Avatar´s last blog ..Get Your Game On: Gaming Mice =-.


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