Recognising you’ve done something wrong and saying sorry is never easy. It takes courage to admit that you’ve hurt someone by your actions and that can be difficult to accept. But whether you’ve gossiped behind a work colleague’s back or been dishonest to a friend, saying sorry – and doing so with meaning – is really important. It will force us to grow and learn from our mistakes and help us keep healthy connections and relationships.
If you struggle to show remorse, here’s a few pointers on how you can say sorry with sincerity.
Talk from the Heart
Your apology needs to be sincere and authentic. Honesty is key – both with yourself and the other person. Make sure you’re ready to apologise and willing to accept your mistake before you say sorry. If you really mean what you say, this will come across in your words and is more likely to end in a resolution.
Give a Little Gift
Choosing the right words is key, but a small thoughtful present also wouldn’t go amiss. Accompanying your apology with a gesture, such as gifting a chocolate box, will always be appreciated and help bring a smile to the person’s face.
Admit you were Wrong
This part can be really tough as it leaves you in a vulnerable position, but admitting you were in the wrong is the key to a successful apology. Don’t try to explain your behaviour, as it can sound like you’re making excuses. Instead, admit responsibility for your actions and acknowledge what you did. It’s important to empathise with the friend or loved one you’re apologising to and show them you understand how they feel and why they feel wronged by you.
Write it Down
Apologising in person is the best way to show sincerity, but this isn’t always possible. If the situation won’t allow you to do it face-to-face, or you’re too anxious to approach the person, a letter can be the best way to make amends. As with a face-to-face apology, talk from the heart and make sure you admit you’re wrong, empathising with the person’s feelings. This will all show you sincerely want to be forgiven.
Follow-up with Action
When you apologise to someone, you’re taking action to make amends. Perhaps you’ll tell them, “If there’s anything I can do to make it right…”. If you’ve said this, make sure you listen to their answer and act on it. Check in on them a couple of days later to see how they are. It’s important your apology is followed up with thought and action that will show you’re thinking of them. You can also help the situation by promising it won’t happen again – and staying true to your word.
Although you may be ready to apologise, the wronged person may need more time before they can forgive you. But importantly, it’s never too late to say sorry. Just remember to be sincere, admit responsibility and promise that it won’t happen again.