How to properly apologize to someone you’ve hurt

An apology is an expression of regret and guilt in view of what you said or did to somebody that caused them torment or hurt their feelings. When you are feeling irritated or frustrated, it’s all too common to say or do something that hurts someone else, and soon after, you feel the need to tell them that you’re sorry.

Some people find it difficult to apologize because of their pride. However, saying sorry to another person takes a great deal of strength and will only make you seem like a better person.

1. Be sincere

More often than not, individuals can easily determine if an apology is real and genuine or if it is a fake apology. A fake apology could exacerbate the situation as opposed to settling the issue, so make sure that you are being honest and sincere when you apologize. If you don’t feel truly sorry, sometimes it’s better not to say anything. Think carefully about exactly what you are apologizing for and the reason that you feel the need to apologize. Then, when you approach the person to whom you are saying sorry, remember this information.

How to properly apologize to someone you’ve hurt

2. Try not to justify your actions

Stop yourself if you begin to justify what you did and lay out the different reasons why you did it. This will often give the other person a feeling that you are trying to persuade them that you are not at fault for what you said or did. It will demonstrate that you would prefer not to assume responsibility for your mistakes. Apologize clearly, but don’t start to make excuses for what happened. It’s better to let your apology stand alone and speak for itself.

3. Pick your words carefully

You must pick your words carefully and deliberately when you apologize. Ensure that you demonstrate to the other individual that you truly care about saying sorry by utilizing the right words. For example, rather than saying, “I saw you here so I thought I’d go ahead and apologize,” say, “I came to see you in order to apologize.” See the distinction between the two sentences?

In the first sentence, it sounds like you were not intending to apologize, but rather it simply occurred because of the conditions. In the second sentence, it sounds like you are especially keen on saying sorry, and you were ready to make an effort to do so. This can make all the difference in the mind of the person who you are apologizing to. If they truly feel that you mean it, they will be more likely to accept it and forgive you.

4. Choose to change

Demonstrate to the other individual that you are determined not to repeat the mistake that you have made. Make it clear that you have learned from the experience and that you won’t continue to make similar errors in the future. This will help rebuild the trust between you and the other person.

How to properly apologize to someone you’ve hurt

5. Set realistic expectations

Keep in mind the fact that it is likely that not everyone will accept your apology. Remember that even if they do not, you have done your best and hopefully with time they will forgive you.