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How to Apologize - and Mean It

Each and every one of us has hurt someone else, either intentionally or by accident. When that happens, we need to swallow our pride and own what we did. However, there's a lot more to an apology than just saying, "I'm sorry." Here’s how to apologize and mean it:

  • Never say “but”.  If you’re truly being sincere, the word “but” will not appear in your apology because it means you’re trying to turn it around on the other person or come up with some kind of excuse. Any short shrifting in an apology sentence makes it null and void. Don’t try to protect, defend, or excuse yourself.

  • Don’t say, “I’m sorry that you felt hurt.”  Instead say, “I’m sorry I hurt you.” That’s taking responsibility. Own your behavior.  

  • Don’t try to divvy out blame. Don’t try to share the blame with statements like, “I’m sorry I hurt you but you provoked me,” or, “I’m sorry I hurt you but you asked for it.” When you apologize, own what you did.  

  • Find a way to correct it. Figure out a way to repair the situation and indicate that you’re going to control whatever it is you did so you don’t repeat it.

  • Do something nice. Sometimes people just don’t want to hear it, or they’re not yet open to an apology. Give it some time and try to figure out another way. Send flowers, or do something else nice for them.

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Tags: Attitude, Behavior, Friendships, Marriage, Personal Responsibility, Relationships, Ten Stupid Things Couples Do to Mess Up Their Relationships, Tips, Values
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