4 Sincere Ways To Say I’m Sorry

We all screw up sometimes. We forget to let the dog out at lunchtime and our partner comes home to a mess on the carpet. We snap at a co-worker when they use our favorite coffee cup. It’s inevitable that most of us will screw up and hurt someone who is close to us — many of us on a daily basis. While it’s impossible to never make a mistake, it is quite possible to sincerely apologize for it in a way that the other person will understand and appreciate. Here are four different ways to sincerely apologize that will resonate with the one you did wrong.

Be Specific

When someone is angry or upset with us, it can be easy to just use the vague and all-encompassing “I’m sorry” and hope it will be enough. However, if you aren’t specific about what you’re sorry for, your apology will likely come off as insincere. Try specifically referencing the action you are apologizing for. When you say, “I’m so sorry I forgot to let the dog out and you had to deal with the consequences when you got home” is much more powerful. Make sure you don’t follow it up with an excuse as this will take way from the message.

Understand the Impact

Do you really understand the impact your inconsiderate words or actions had on the other person? Before apologizing, think about it for a few minutes and try to put yourself in their shoes. Did your actions make them feel unappreciated? Taken advantage of? Unimportant? If you don’t know, this is an excellent time to ask questions and deepen your relationship.

Offer Ways to Get Better

If the person you are apologizing to is a loved one such as a partner or best friend, it can be very valuable to include ideas in your apology. These ideas should revolve around ways to improve your actions so you do not repeat them in the future. It might sound something like this: “I know it hurts your feelings when I snap at you. It happens when I’m stressed. Can we come up with some ideas of what I can do to manage my stress in a more productive way?” The suggestions will ease the pain, the follow through is what will gain true forgiveness. So make sure you don’t set yourself up for failure by promising something you can’t realistically commit to.

Use Their Love Language

You probably have a certain way that you best accept apologies, and may use that same method when apologizing to others. However, not everyone is alike and it helps to know what the love language is of the person you’re apologizing to. Each person usually prefers a certain method — such as physical touch or gifts — to be shown love. If you know your spouse has a love language of gifts, you can bring home her favorite flowers or bottle of wine to add to your apology.

When you find effective and sincere ways to apologize, you deepen your relationships with your loved ones and live a more fulfilling life. Use the above four tips to craft your apology and truly show those around you that you care.