Admitting a wrong-doing generally isn’t easy — especially when doing so means acknowledging that you hurt someone you care about.
When an apology is absent or it’s a bad apology, it puts a crack in the very foundation of a relationship.
- Take responsibility for your actions/ words, and admit it in your apology. Don’t make any excuses. Your attention when apologizing should be on the impact of your words or deeds, not on your intention.
“I am sorry that I left you waiting for 15 minutes.” Not “I’m sorry that you were waiting for 15 minutes.”
- Acknowledge that you wronged the other person, and how that impacted them. Validate the other person’s feelings of hurt or anger. Show them that you care about how they feel.
“I recognize that my coming late inconvenienced you and the family.”
- Resolve to never do it again. State your plan with as many details as possible.
“I will be more careful to check the time. I will put an alarm on so I know when it is time to leave.”
You have to mean it. It must be genuine. An insincere apology is worse than no apology at all. Your words and tone will reflect your true intention.
Words you might use:
- “I care about you a lot. I’m sorry I did that. Will you please forgive me?“
- “You didn’t deserve that. It was very wrong of me, and I hope you will forgive me.”
- “I didn’t intend to hurt you but I have. I realize that now, and I see that my actions were wrong … I’m so sorry.”
What not to say:
- “Let’s forget this ever happened.”
- “Let’s move forward from here.” (The one who wronged has no right to say that, you can’t rush the forgiveness process. These words are reserved for the one who was wronged to say when they are ready.)
- “When are you going to get over this?”
Download more about apologizing