Answering Girls’ Questions About Relational Aggression: Apologies – Part 1


“What do I do when I keep saying I’m sorry, but my friend won’t forgive me? Sometimes I don’t even know what I did wrong!” 

This is a standard question girls ask, and it boils down to one major factor. Girls are reluctant to address conflict directly.

And it’s not a matter of being too nice or unassertive.  It’s a matter of brain wiring and also not knowing what to do.  Girls are wired to be relationship connectors, and conflict is viewed as a BIG disconnect.  Thus, it’s is avoided at all costs – even at the cost of a friendship.

Here’s a pattern of reasoning that makes the question above so difficult for girls to resolve.  Let’s say that Girl A asked the question, and Girl B is the unforgiving friend.

Girl A’s reasoning:

  1. I upset my friend and need to apologize.
  2. I apologized, but she won’t forgive me.
  3. I’ll keep apologizing until she forgives me.
  4. I’m upset, because my friend won’t forgive me.

Girl B’s reasoning:

  1. My friend hurt my feelings.
  2. She apologized, but I’m still hurt.
  3. I don’t know how to tell her how much she hurt me.  She might not like me if I do.
  4. I won’t talk to her, because I don’t know how to make this better.

As you see here, we have a failure to communicate. When you dissect the reasoning, you see that #3 for both girls is the sticking point.  Girl A keeps apologizing, but Girl B won’t say how much she was hurt.  And so the circle goes.

Fortunately, there is a solution.  It comes in the direct teaching of social skills in the areas of how to extend an apology for Girl A and how to express your feelings and speak up when you’re hurt for Girl B.

Girl A needs to know that not all friends forgive, and one apology plus a further check in is all she can do.  She must learn to move on.  Girl B needs much practice in speaking up assertively when a conflict occurs instead of hiding behind the façade of being unforgiving.  She must learn how to speak up to ask for what she needs in a friendship or how to move on from one that’s untenable.

Now is it just me, or did anyone else detect a smidge of manipulation in the question above?  You know, the part that says sometimes I don’t even know what I did wrong.  In Part 2, I’ll address the emotional bullying technique of keeping a friend hostage through the manipulation of apologies.

© 2011 A Way Through, LLC  

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Female friendship experts Jane Balvanz and Blair Wagner publish A Way Through, LLC’s Guiding Girls ezine. If you’re ready to guide girls in grades K – 8 through painful friendships, get your FREE mini audio workshop and ongoing tips now at www.AWayThrough.com

Leave a Reply

Untitled Document When Girls Hurt Girls™ Parent Pack

Do you feel unequipped to help your daughter or students navigate painful friendships?

Finally, the instruction manual you need to help your Kindergarten – Grade 8 daughter or students find their way through painful friendships

Listen to the program introduction here.

When Girls Hurt Girls™ is a home practice guide for parents who want to help their hurting daughters, but don’t know where to start. It's also PERFECT for use in school or small group settings.

Through loving discussions and role-play exercises, your daughter or students will connect with their personal power and gain the confidence to resolve conflicts and attract the right kind of friendships to their lives.

REMEMBER: Works great for educators and group/team leaders too!  

Untitled Document

Do you need help in guiding your daughter through a difficult friendship situation?

Finally, 1-on-1 personalized help is available to assist you in guiding your daughter through her friendship problems now!

Introducing a new way to get support…

Our new Quick Assist program has been developed for parents who want help that’s tailored to their specific situation. Through no-nonsense strategy sessions, you will gain clarity on what to say to your daughter, what not to say, and how you can become a source of inspiration and support for her.

REMEMBER: Works great for educators and group/team leaders too!  
Click here
to learn more about the Quick Assist package.