How to Craft the Perfect Apology

Perfect Apology

The Art of the Perfect Apology

Have you ever received a bad apology? You can recognize them a mile away: They’re often filled with sarcasm and victim-blaming and the apologizer somehow manages to minimize their offense and maximize your reaction. And after all is said and done, your feelings don’t feel acknowledged and it feels like the apologizer got away with something. We could all get better at apologizing, so here are six tips for crafting the perfect apology.

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Be Sincere

If you don’t feel like you owe someone an apology, don’t bother apologizing to them. Your lack of sincerity will show through and will make a tense situation even worse. However, a sincere, perfect apology goes a long way to repair a damaged relationship. You first need to decide if this relationship is worth saving and if you think it is, you should be sincere in your apology.

A Detailed Account

You should be apologizing for something specific. You can do that by providing a detailed account of what you did. You should do this for two reasons: 1. To make sure you know why and how you upset the other person. 2. To acknowledge exactly what you did that was wrong. A simple “I’m sorry” doesn’t mean much to the person you’re apologizing to if you don’t know why they’re upset and you don’t know what you did wrong.

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Take Responsibility

You’ve hurt someone and you need to take responsibility for it. The hurt they feel was caused by you—something you said or did, so yes, it’s your fault. This isn’t the time to blame the other person for how they contributed to the tension between you two. If you expect a perfect apology from them, you need to lead by example. Don’t try to minimize your actions or victim-blame with statements like “I was just kidding,” or “You’re making a big deal out of it,” or “You’re overreacting.” You’re actually just fueling the fire and creating a bigger rift between the two of you. Instead, maximize your affront. Acknowledge that you did something hurtful and terrible.

Express Regret

Your feelings are important too, but when it comes to an apology, the most important feeling you should have is regret. Talk about how hurting them made you feel. What realizations have you come to after seeing someone you care about hurt, distressed and disappointed? How does it make you feel knowing that someone you care about feels bad as a result of your actions?

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Use the Right Language

Don’t use the word “if” in your perfect apology. You know someone feels hurt and insulted, so don’t pretend like you aren’t sure. Instead, use the word “because.” If you use “because,” you’re acknowledging feelings and describing the impact. Here’s an example of how language affects an apology:

Wrong: “I’m sorry IF my comment about your weight hurt your feelings.”

Right: “I’m sorry that my insensitive comment about your weight hurt your feelings, BECAUSE it made you feel embarrassed, ashamed and attacked. I should have never said that to you in the first place.”

Which type of apology would you rather receive?

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Ask for Forgiveness

The final part of a perfect apology is to ask for forgiveness. Now that you’ve acknowledged what you’ve done wrong, it’s time to put the power of forgiveness in the hands of the person you’ve offended. It’s likely that your unkind act has caused them to reevaluate your relationship: Should they give you another chance or cut ties with you forever? A sincere apology tips the scales in your favor if you want to continue to have a relationship with this person. And if they want to continue to have a relationship with you, a sincere apology means it’s easier to forgive you. And of course, part of asking forgiveness means promising never to offend them in the same manner again. Do your best to uphold this promise and definitely think before you speak next time.

3 thoughts on “How to Craft the Perfect Apology

  1. Dottie

    Wonderfully written. Owning what you’re apologizing about, expressing regret and being willing to communicate about it is so important. That is what I hear a lot of clients express mainly women. When doing readings I come across women that have a partner that really lacks relationship ” skills ” and truly does not know what to do but loves their partner and wants to fix it. This is a great article for that. Thank you !

  2. Darren ext. 6458

    I feel that taking responsibility and admitting a mistake is so important in relationships.
    I especially feel that men really need to work on this – especially in relationships with women.
    In my conversations with men and women, I strive to get men to understand a woman’s point of view – and that her point of view is very valuable. His point of view is usually objective, impersonal, and deal with thinking about logical cause and effect. The woman’s point of view is usually about her subjective values, personal, and feelings. Both points of view, the objective and the subjective are equally as important. I really do strive to get men to understand this! And I state “usually” because women can be thinking types and men can be feeling types. Too many men don’t respect a woman’s point of view and that’s where the problem and argument starts – but it doesn’t need to. Both the man and woman can be right from their own point of view. It’s just that too many men are stubborn and “think” they are right about everything. They hurt the woman’s feelings and then he needs to apologize -that is true. But what is really important is that he try to understand what he did wrong. What the silly guy did wrong was first and foremost not understand her point of view! If was willing to do that there might not be a disagreement and a needed apology and forgiveness.
    If you have any questions about this please connect with me – Darren at ext. 6458.
    Best Wishes, Darren

  3. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    I enjoyed this article by Dania….people are human and we all make mistakes . But knowing how to apologize for our blunders is an exercise in grace and humility.

    Blessed Be )O(
    Gina Rose ext.9500


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