How to Apologize: 13 Ways to Say ‘I’m Sorry’ and Move Forward

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How to Apologize | If you want to know how to say I'm Sorry to your boyfriend or girlfriend, to your husband or wife, to your child, to your best friend, to your mom or dad, or anyone else who has significant meaning in your life, this post is for you! We're sharing tons of great tips to help you know what you SHOULD apologize for, what you SHOULD NOT apologize for, and how to say I'm Sorry sincerely. If you've done something disrespectful to a friend or at work, we've got you covered!

Saying ‘I’m sorry’ isn’t always easy. Apologizing can be a hit to the ego, but if you never learn how to apologize, you’re going to risk losing important people in your life. Apologizing when you’ve done something wrong shows you care about others and that you’re able to take responsibility for your actions. If you’re looking for strategies on how to apologize, we have the perfect post for you!

3 Reasons You Should Learn How to Apologize

1. Helps Repair Relationships
When you refuse to apologize for something you’ve done that’s wrong or that hurt someone else, it’s difficult to maintain your relationship with that person. Apologizing gets you talking and begins to mend the relationship, making you feel comfortable with each other again. If you don’t apologize, you could end up losing the relationship altogether because you were too stubborn to admit your fault.

2. Shows You Care About Others
Apologies let the injured party know that you know it was your fault, which helps them feel better. It allows people to know you’re not proud of what you did and that you won’t be repeating the behaviour. The other party will feel safe knowing that you agree your hurtful behaviour wasn’t okay.

3. Shows You’re Capable of Taking Responsibility for Your Actions
Often when people don’t apologize it’s because they don’t want to admit that they were wrong or take responsibility for their actions. Their ego gets in the way, and it can seriously harm relationships. Owning up to your mistakes and taking responsibility for your actions is part of any heathy relationship, and creates trust and dependability moving forward.

4 Things You Should Always Apologize For

1. Losing Your Cool and Saying Things You May Regret
In the heat of the moment, it can be tempting to say something you may regret to hurt the other person, and unfortunately, you can’t take it back after it happens. When arguments get heated, you may end up saying something you don’t really mean or know isn’t true just to hurt the other person. If this happens, you should take accountability and apologize for it.

2. Saying Something Hurtful, Judgmental or Inconsiderate
Along the same lines, if you ever say something hurtful, judgemental or inconsiderate to someone, you should apologize, even if you didn’t mean it to come out that way. Sometimes we say things without thinking and they end up coming out wrong or not how we planned. These quick reactions can end up hurting people and should always be worked out with an apology.

3. Doing Something You Knew Was Wrong
Knowing you’re doing something wrong and doing it anyways is almost always a cause for apology. If you know you’ve messed up and hurt someone in doing so, that’s when you should say sorry.

4. Blamed Someone for Something That Wasn’t Their Fault
Have you ever blamed someone for something you knew wasn’t their fault, or even worse, knew it was actually your fault? If so, it’s time to say you’re sorry. Placing the blame on someone without knowing the whole situation, or knowing the situation and doing it anyway can cause a lot of hurt. This should always be apologized for.

4 Things You Should Never Apologize For

1. Your Feelings
Your feelings are valid and you’re allowed to tell people how you feel in any situation and relationship. You don’t need to apologize for it. If someone’s making you feel oversensitive or too passionate about something, don’t minimize yourself to make them feel better. If you’re upset or uncomfortable with something, let the person know without apologizing.

2. Saying No
So often we feel like we have to apologize for saying no. Whether it’s saying no to more work, saying no to going out with friends, or saying no to another drink when you’re out, you never have to apologize for it. Respecting your own limitations is a sign of self-respect. You know your boundaries best.

3. Not Responding Immediately
These days, people have come to expect instant responses since everyone is so connected, but you don’t need to reply immediately all the time. Apologizing for taking more than a split second to reply makes a big deal out of something that shouldn’t be. If you’re super slammed and don’t think you’ll be able to get back to them that day, send them a quick message when you can to let them know you haven’t forgotten about them and will get back to them soon.

4. Asking a Question
There’s no such thing as a silly question and you should never apologize for your curiosity and desire for clarification. Some of us apologize when asking questions because we think a colleague or friend may judge us, but it’s totally unnecessary.

How to Apologize and Move Forward

Apologizing can be difficult for many people, since it often feels like an admission of guilt or an admission that they’re wrong or inadequate. It’s important that your apology is sincere and heartfelt. An insincere apology is often worse than no apology at all and can harm a relationship even further. Here are 5 tips to teach you how to apologize and move forward.

1. Say Sorry
The first step to an apology is sincerely saying you’re sorry and owning up to your actions. This lets the other person know that you know that what you did was wrong and that you want to make things better.

2. Make It Clear You Understand the Impact
Whatever it is you’re apologizing for, make it clear that you know how it affected the other person. Perhaps you said something mean about one of their insecurities and they got so self-conscious that stayed home from an event the next day. Make it clear you understand how it made them feel and how it impacted their life.

3. Empathize With Them
Let them know that you would also be really upset and sad if someone said or did that to you. Tell them it makes sense for them to feel the way they do and that you too would probably feel disappointed and hurt.

4. Ask for Forgiveness
Asking for forgiveness is really important. Make it clear that you want to continue your friendship or relationship and although they may need time, you’re here and hope they can forgive you at some point.

5. Rebuild Trust With Your Behaviour
Ultimately, words are just words. You have to show the person you’re going to do better with your future behaviours. If you apologize for something and keep doing that same thing over and over again, it’s clear you were never really sorry to begin with. But if you make an effort to change your actions and behaviour, the other party can start to trust you again.

Knowing how to apologize makes you a stronger person and will create better, more understanding relationships and friendships. Saying ‘I’m sorry’ isn’t always necessary, but when it is, sincerity and empathy go a long way.

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How to Apologize | If you want to know how to say I'm Sorry to your boyfriend or girlfriend, to your husband or wife, to your child, to your best friend, to your mom or dad, or anyone else who has significant meaning in your life, this post is for you! We're sharing tons of great tips to help you know what you SHOULD apologize for, what you SHOULD NOT apologize for, and how to say I'm Sorry sincerely. If you've done something disrespectful to a friend or at work, we've got you covered!

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Kate
Kate
Kate is a freelance writer with a background in fashion, beauty and wellness. When she’s not trying out new recipes, taking a hot yoga class, or curled up with a good book, you can find her blogging about lifestyle tips and entrepreneurialism at Layered Indulgence.