Everyone makes mistakes in life. Of course, some people make more mistakes than others. Whether our emotions get the best of us, we don’t think before we act, or we think someone should know exactly what’s on our mind, we don’t always make the best choices and we can accidentally damage relationships with our bad behavior.
Saying sorry doesn’t always come easy for people to say. If you’re like me, you might have difficulty apologizing appropriately and you’re not comfortable with how to do it as well as make it sound sincere. Luckily for you, we’ve come up with 15 different ways to show someone you’re sorry for your actions and you’ll do better next time. These 15 different ways to apologize will give you a much better idea of what to do next time you find yourself having to say, “I’m sorry” for your bad manners.
1. Apologizing with Your Words
Make sure before you apologize to give yourself enough time to let any emotions calm down. If you hurt someone bad enough, they might need some time away from you. It’s important to give them their space so emotions aren’t running as high. Also, take some time away from them to compose a well thought out apology.
Think about what you did, plus the reason why they’re hurt and voice what you think happened and why. For example, if you know that you hurt someone’s feeling because of what you said, let them know “I know I hurt your feelings when I said you have really wide hips and you thought I was insinuating you’re fat (if that’s what they really thought), what I was really trying to say is I think your wide hips look sexy. I hope you can understand that I wasn’t coming from a place of bad intentions and I’m deeply sorry for making you feel bad.”
2. Always Accept Responsibility for Your Actions
People sometimes apologize for more out of consideration for repairing the relationship and not so much feeling like they did something wrong. It’s important to let the person know that you’re at fault and not them. Take responsibility that the situation went bad because of your behavior, don’t make excuses that they might also be at fault or something else caused you to act the way you did.
3. Acknowledge You Were Wrong
Telling someone you know you were wrong can lift the burden off their shoulders of thinking they might somehow be at fault. When you admit that you were wrong it could open the person up to explaining how they too were at fault. Don’t ever mention that they could also be at fault because that will put them on the defensive thinking that you’re blaming them for something.
4. Apologize to Them One on One in Private
If you can, try to say sorry in a private, quiet area. This will give you the best opportunity to fully explain your feelings and be honest with them about what you did wrong. If they no longer trust you to be alone with you, then suggesting a public place that feels safe for both of you should be utilized.
5. Write a Letter to Apologize
Can’t quite decide how to put your apology into words? Try sitting down and composing a letter to apologize. You don’t necessarily have to give them the letter but writing it down can help you better put your thoughts into words.
When writing, don’t give any excuses for your bad actions. Identify what made you decide to act the way you did and apologize for it. Say I’m sorry for my actions and I know it hurt you. I was in the wrong; I had a bad day at work and took it out on you, which I know was inappropriate. Please forgive me for my actions and I will do my best to never let it happen again.
6. Express Remorse for Your Bad Manners
Showing someone that you deeply regret what you did with your words is important when it comes to healing wounds and admitting culpability.
Show the other party involved that you regret causing them pain by your actions and you’re sincerely sorry for hurting them. Say I’m extremely sorry for my letting my anger get out of control and I regret what I did, I didn’t mean to become violent and I’ll do my best to not let it happen again.
7. Promise to Change Your Actions
No one likes someone who keeps making the same mistakes over and over again. We’re all human but we can learn from our mistakes. If you’ve made a mistake, then learn from that lesson. Constantly telling someone you’ll change but failing to do so only leads to more broken trust and lost relationships.
Setting realistic expectations for the other person is a good start. Telling them you’ll completely change your behavior when they know otherwise might not be the best thing to tell them. Saying something like I know I keep lashing out in anger at you, I want you to know that I regret what I did and I’m going to try my best to work on processing my emotions first and not take my anger out on someone else.
8. Ask to Be Forgiven
Whenever apologizing it’s important to ask for forgiveness. After you say you’re sorry, ask if they’ll be willing to forgive you. Not only does this put you at the mercy of the other person but it will give the other person their power back, now it’s up to them to decide what to do.
9. Give an Apology Gift
Showing you’re sorry by buying someone a gift could be considered over the top by some people, but it can also be a surefire way to change someone’s outlook on the situation. Not that you have to buy them a brand new Ferrari (or maybe you do, depending on how bad you messed up), but showing them that you’re working towards a resolution and you’re willing to go the extra mile to let them know how sorry you are for your bad actions can help a lot. Small, personal, thought out gifts are usually the best approach. Don’t always buy gifts for someone when apologizing, otherwise, it could seem like you’re trying to buy their forgiveness.
10. Acts of Kindness
Try making someone’s day by doing things that you normally don’t do, or something that you know they hate doing. This works especially well if you have a spouse. If you know your spouse hates doing the dishes, vacuuming, doing the laundry, or anything else you can think of, then go the extra mile and do all three things for them plus more. Offer them a foot/back massage or try asking them if there’s anything you can do to make up for your wrongful actions.
11. Be Kind Even If They’re Still Mad
We can’t always control how other people act or react towards us but we can always choose what our actions will be. If someone fails to forgive you and keeps giving you the cold shoulder, don’t act cruel or harsh to them just because you didn’t get the results you wanted when pouring out your heartfelt apology.
Sometimes people need more time to process their emotions and think about what you said. Give them some time and space and treat them with dignity, respect, and kindness even if they haven’t completely forgiven you yet.
12. Don’t Think of It As Winning or Losing
Too many times do people view an argument or a disagreement as being right or wanting to win. A lot of couples try to “win” when they’re in a heated debate, tempers can fly and bad behavior happens more often than not. Saying I’m sorry isn’t admitting that you’re wrong, it’s simply letting the other person know that you value them and your relationship together more than being right and your ego.
13. Don’t Blame
As nice as it is to only take half the blame or part of the blame for a situation, this is an awful approach to apologizing. When saying you’re sorry you should always accept full responsibility. If you only take the blame for what you did then it hardly makes it sound like you’re sorry at all. It sounds more like you’re trying to share the blame with someone. Don’t do it. Take responsibility that the situation went bad because of your behavior, anything else sounds insincere.
14. Apologize Multiple Times
Saying you’re sorry is great for starting. But sometimes once isn’t enough. If you did something really bad and you think saying sorry is going to automatically put things back to normal, think again. Realistically time is the greatest healer of all but being sincere with your words and actions goes a long way. Saying sorry multiple times will show sincerity and give the person reassurance that you’re truly sorry.
15. Give Them Their Time & Space
As nice as it would be to have someone embrace us with open arms and give us a hug as soon as we apologize to them, this simply isn’t the case most the time. If you hurt someone, do everything you can to let them know you’re sincerely sorry but don’t force them to forgive you or take time out of their day for you. Respect their decision and give them the time they need to think everything through. Just because you think enough time has passed for them to forgive you doesn’t mean they think the same way.
In the End
Saying you’re sorry can be hard work but it will always be worth it if you want to save the relationship. Make sure that you are always sincere with your words and back it up with actions on how you treat/talk to them. Showing the person you’ll go through extra steps to drive home your apology can do wonders for you.
Make sure that you always keep the other person’s feelings and interests in mind when trying to mend any wounds you caused. Hopefully, this article gave you some thoughtful, actionable decisions that you can make next time you have to say, “I’m sorry.” Make sure to share this article with anyone you think could use this advice.
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