Apologies Are Impacted by Personality

Updated: Apr 14

by Dawn L. Billings, founder of RelationshipHelp.com PrimaryColorsPersonality.com

How hard is it to say you're sorry? Well some people really struggle to apologize, many people view apologies differently, and so how can you better understand these things called apologies?


There is an art to apologizing, so it is appropriate that I will be using the Primary Colors Relationship Personality test, built using the artists color wheel as its metaphorical base

to help you understand understand how people with different color personality tendencies view apologies very differently. There are 3 primary colors and 3 secondary colors on the artists color wheel used for thousands of years to help artists recreate everything they see and can imagine. The artist color wheel defines three of its colors as warm colors and three of it's colors as cool colors. While the personality color wheel refers to three colors yellow, orange and green that tend to draw their values from warmth, and three colors, red, purple and blue that tend to draw their values from strength.


For a detailed understanding of the difference between strength and warmth I highly recommend the book Compelling People, by John Neffinger and, Matthew Kohut. It is a fascinating and compelling, pun intended, read. But the short version for the purposes of this article, using the Primary Colors Personality model, are that people who tend to draw their values from the warmth side of the personality color wheel hold apologies in a more prominent and favorable light, where people who draw their values from the strength side of the the personality color wheel can see apologies as a means to an end, or even that only weak people apologize.


It takes courage to sincerely apologize. A sincere and effective apology is one that communicates genuine empathy, remorse, and regret as well as a promise to learn from your mistakes. In other words, you need to either genuinely believe you did something wrong and feel remorse, or at a minimum feel sorry for the hurt your partner is feeling and believes you caused them. Effective and sincere apologies require that you have developed your emotional intelligence. If your partner has been brave enough to tell you they feel hurt by something you did, their is an art to accepting responsibility in a way that supports forgiveness and reconciliation.


This act of apologizing is an act of taking responsibility for an action or behavior, but also for the idea that someone you love feels hurt. Telling someone you are sorry does not mean you are THE bad person, and does not give your partner more power than you. Understanding the importance and power of apologizing does not mean you are weak, or that you actually meant to hurt their feelings. Offering an apology simply means that you recognize that your partner feels hurt, (feelings, although they are not facts are real and valuable sources of information), AND that because they matter to you, you are sorry they feel hurt or sad. Apologies can be a great source of healing between two people when they are accepted as sincere.

But what do you do if you partner decides that your apology is not sincere enough or they say "You really don't mean it." Or worse that somehow you didn't do your apology correctly. This can be very frustrating and can cause you to want to limit how many apologies you are willing to give. It helps to understand your partner's personality tendencies because their apologies will most likely be in line with their color personality tendencies. Again, this has nothing to do with right or wrong. It has to do with recognizing, accepting and even appreciating who your partner is according to the core color personality blend.

Too often couples can seethe, hold hurt inside or even erupt into arguments because there is a refusal to apologize or a distorted view of what a proper apology is, and how it is supposed to be done. At its simplest, a good apology is a way of saying, “I hear you; I respect you, I value how you feel and I care about you.” But what if you and your partner see apologies through different colored lenses? That is why I created this short, entertaining video below to help you gain a deeper insight into how you might perceive apologies versus how your partner might perceive apologies.


Now that you have a clearer understanding of how different color personality tendencies see apologies, you will be better equipped to utilize them with people you care about, speaking your powerful and effective apologies into their ability to hear them.

Now you can bring personality expert Dawn Billings and her 45+ years of experience and expertise into the comfort of your home as you gain your master's degree in building and strengthening relationships. Dawn is the architect of the RelationshipHelp.com programs, including the new ONLINE relationship course called Relationship Help At Home.


Dawn is the Executive Director of the luxury Relationship Help Resort, located in Arizona.

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