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How to apologize/say you’re sorry

How to apologize/say you’re sorry

See also:

  • 💳How to apologize for a late payment
  • How to apologize for being late
  • 📆How to apologize for a missed appointment
  • 📙How to apologize for the delayed return of a borrowed item
  • How to apologize for the inability to do something 
  • Things you need to stop apologizing for

Start Here

  • As humans living in a messy world, we make mistakes, which is why it’s important to master the art of apology.
  • Apologies need the following features to be successful:
    • Acknowledgment of the error or mistake — tardy apologies are better than nothing, but apologies are most effective when given right after the incident.
    • Acknowledgment of the impact — it’s not enough to just acknowledge the error, you must also recognize the pain or inconvenience caused. This way, the person to whom you are apologizing will see that you understand why it was wrong to do.
    • A promise not to repeat your mistake — there’s no point in apologizing for something if you’re going to turn right around and do it again. Give them comfort that it won’t happen again or that you will make every effort to not repeat it. The best apology is not repeating the behavior.
  • Make sure that your tone is contrite and respectful.
  • If possible, offer a way to make amends. You can offer to do them a favor, give them flowers, or a handwritten note.

Talking Points

  • I’m sorry.
  • I’m so terribly sorry.
  • I take full responsibility.
  • My deepest apologies.
  • I beg your pardon.
  • Can you forgive me?
  • I owe you an apology.
  • I apologize.
  • I hope you can forgive me.
  • I wanted to tell you I’m sorry.
  • I was wrong about that.
  • I was wrong to do that.
  • I should have…
  • Please accept my apologies.
  • Please excuse my behavior.
  • That was wrong of me.
  • Please pardon me for…
  • I know that <the incident> hurt you, and for that, I’m deeply sorry.
  • I’m mortified that this happened, and please know this is not a reflection of how I feel about you or our relationship.
  • Please forgive me for my lapse in judgment, I know how offensive my actions must have seemed and I’m so sorry for that.
  • I promise that I will never again do…
  • I will make every effort in my power to avoid this from happening again.
  • Hi <name>, I’m reaching out to say sorry for <describe your mistake>. I would never intentionally hurt your feelings.

Further Reading


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