By now you probably have heard of Britt McHenry, the ESPN reporter and her outburst video in Virginia that has caused quite a stir.
She spit out some horrible words to a tow company worker and insulted the worker’s education and appearance. She pulled the “I’m on TV, I’m better than you, I’m beautiful, my life is better than yours, you suck at life.”
It’s the classic mean, popular girl rant on someone the mean popular girl deems as less important.
What she did was wrong. But now, let’s ask ourselves how could she have mitigated the outrage that ensued (one part turning her into a hated household name and role model for what not to do in life as well as being suspended from her job.)
I’m in no way supporting her words or what she did, but we all can learn something valuable from her response. We can learn from what people do right and what people do wrong. The key is to always learn no matter what in our lives.
Here’s why this is a better and more genuine way to respond.
- It shows that she acknowledges there is something inside of herself she needs to work on (who doesn’t have some “thing” that needs to be worked on?) We all have personality junk. Others are different than yours, and probably haven’t been broadcast on the Internet.
- It shows she reached out to the offended party and tried to make it right. It shows she cared about the other person, not just herself.
- It shows deep introspection. It shows her actions are a part of her and not who she is as a whole.
- It shows a plan of action to correct the mistake. Not just that she will be better, but how she will be better.
- It doesn’t say “I will never be mean again,” because no one can promise that. It does show she will do her best (which is the only thing we can do).
- It shows that the intense part of her personality that leads her astray also helps her when applied in a good way. It’s the whole “my biggest strength is also my biggest weakness.” Who can’t relate to this?
- It admits fully that what she did was wrong. No minced words. The actions were wrong.
The next time you find yourself in hot water, use the above 7 points to make a meaningful apology. Listen to my podcast The Art of Likability if you would like to find other useful and action-oriented ways to increase your likability and build deeper relationships with people. Being likable is important for anyone who wants a better professional and personal life.