We all make mistakes and sometimes we have to say sorry. It’s such a short word…yet can be so hard to say. Many of you have asked me about what the best ways to apologize are so we can hopefully be forgiven and be able to more forward. I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all way to apologize. Rather, there are many ways to apologize and the best approach depends on the person deserving of an apology and the circumstances of the situation. But for starters, I think any good apology has one or more of these characteristics.

  • It takes responsibility: To do this, we have to start by acknowledging our mistake and accepting responsibility for our actions. Making excuses or blaming others won’t cut it.
  • It expresses genuine remorse: Showing true regret for our actions and acknowledging the impact these had on the other person is a good start. This coupled with phrases like “I’m sorry” or “I apologize” — with specific details of exactly what we’re sorry for doing — help to best convey our remorse. Vague sorries rarely make good apologies. 
  • It offers to make amends: Identifying specific ways to offer to try to make things right or take steps to prevent the same mistake from happening again reinforces sincerity. If you’re not sure what to offer, ask the other person what you can do to make things better.
  • It involves listening actively: A real apology can be very uncomfortable because this is not just a say it and get it over with conversation. Apologies involve quiet, deep listening as you let the other person express their feelings and concerns about what happened. Acknowledge their perspective and show that you understand how they feel. If you need clarity, ask for it. 
  • It involves time: We’d all like to apologize for our mistakes and instantly get a hug or kiss. But the reality is that it may take time for the other person to forgive us or for the relationship to heal. Sometimes, sadly, this will never happen. Regardless, apologize if necessary no matter what the other chooses and do your best to demonstrate that you are sincere in your apology. Lastly, be patient.

Offering a genuine apology isn’t easy. Yet, it is an act of strength whenever we do our best to right or wrongs and demonstrate how we value our relationship.

This is Silver Disobedience® philosophy. I’m @DianGriesel aka @SilverDisobedience A Perception Analyst who shares my Daily Meditations for other Ageless, Passionate & Curious People.  More info in my profile link to website.