How to Apologize the Right Way

As difficult as it may be, the ability to admit our wrongs, accept responsibility for our actions, and ask for forgiveness is crucial to any healthy relationship.

A careless comment, backing out at the last minute, showing up late– these are everyday occurrences that happen more than we’d like, and each warrants an honest apology. Waiting to make amends even when you know you are wrong risks damaging the relationship permanently. Just ask those who are no longer on speaking terms with friends or relatives if waiting for the ‘perfect moment’ is a good idea.

But sending an apology via text message or blurting out “Sorry!” just to get it over with is not genuine. Almost worse than no apology is the inauthentic apology. A sincere apology can heal wounds and strengthen relationships.  It’s how children recognize that their parents are fallible and, more importantly, trustworthy.

How to Apologize

Spouses and partners can clear the air and start again.  Friendships survive lifetimes littered with mistakes because of sincere attempts at amends.

Texting or emailing an apology may seem like a great option, because it eliminates the awkward factor, but a face-to-face discussion is the big kid way to handle it. Text messages can be misinterpretation and misconstrued. Without eye contact and facial expressions to get your point across is a gamble. If you are truly sorry and serious about letting someone know how deeply remorseful you are, then do it right.

Apologizing without making things right is like saying “I’ll call you!” when you have no intention of doing so…it’s pretentious and worthless. Consider where and why you went wrong and what you will do differently next time. Then verbalize it!

How to Apologize

“Sorry I’m late” carries much less weight than “I’m so sorry I’m late. I got caught up with work and I should have wrapped up sooner. ”No one is perfect. We’re only human. This also applies to the individual who is due an apology. Yes, it hurts when you are let down, but remember no one is perfect. We’re only human. We hurt people we care about and say things we don’t mean, but that doesn’t have to be the end of the relationship.

Accept the apology and show forgiveness. Holding grudges is bad energy to carry around and also bad for your health. Accepting a genuine apology allows all parties to relinquish the past and move forward. We all need to be aware of our own imperfections and pledge to try to do better. If you need to replace, repair or restore something that was damaged due to your actions, do it. If you have been refusing to accept a request for forgiveness now is the time.

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