SEAM How to mend a rift

The most powerful forces in your life are the friends, acquaintances and life partnerships you develop.

It is inevitable that we will damage them in some way, either by our actions or inactions.

If not mended or reconciled properly the fallout can be dramatic. People usually believe a simple "I'm sorry is enough.

I'm sorry is Not Enough

If not resolved properly small slights can fester into life long battles. Partnerships that were assets become risks to your happiness

Close relationships once lost in this way are irrevocably harmed, never to be the same again.

There are financial costs, lost opportunities and even legal costs

Harm done to the young can't easily be undone -

The effects can be life long



The way forward is SEAM

Rescue Relationships
Regain Trust
Deepen Friendships

SEAM 1# sorrow

Honest statement of sorrow /regret

In this first step you must make it known that you have great sorrow for the harm you have made. If they aren't listening you need to display it. If you insulted them in public your statement of regret needs to be just as public. Your body language needs to be humble . You must position yourself at their level or lower. Do not explain your actions in order to defend yourself. If you get abused bite your tongue. Acknowledge their feelings even if illogical

SEAM 2# empathy

Display of deep empathy

Make them understand that you know the extent of the harm you have done them. So that your apology applies to this harm. It underlines your sincerity. It gets to the heart of the matter and gives your 'sorry' greater weight. Again do not defend yourself against accusatory statements. Do not justify your actions ever. Mirror their stance and mood. Acknowledge their impact statements. Literally walk a mile in their shoes.

SEAM 3# amends

Amends: making it right again.

Something is owed the person you have harmed. It is best to repay it 'in kind' : debts of money are paid ; time owed is given; promises are belatedly kept; care is given for physical harm. The form and the amount of payback has to be OK and sufficient for the person harmed, not just you.

SEAM 4# Management: making sure there are no repeats

To build trust again you have to explain and even demonstrate how the offence will not happen again. The better and more convincing your self management; the more trust you are likely to get back.Done well, this step can deepen the relationship.

Final words

Sincere statement of regret
Empathise know the hurt you have caused
Amends, try to make it right somehow
Manage your behaviour so a repeat is not possible

Remember that reconciliation works when both parties are ready. You may need to repeat SEAM many times. It may be necessary to demonstrate your sincerity in a way that supports you words

Damian Burns - 2016

Created By
Damian Burns


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