How to Say I'm Sorry
In order to understand how to say I'm sorry and have it be an effective apology,
we need to know what kind of statements to include when apologizing. How does one person make someone else understand that they truly are sorry?
As we discussed on the "how to apologize" page, apologizing is both an Art and a Science. The Art being the manner in which the apology is delivered while
the Science is the recipe that forms the apology itself.
This page will look at the "Science" or ingredient list that when combined produces the perfect apology.
A proper apology should always include the following:
||a detailed account of the situation
||acknowledgement of the hurt or damage done
||taking responsibility for the situation
||recognition of your role in the event
||a statement of regret
||asking for forgiveness
||a promise that it won't happen again
||a form of restitution whenever possible
Now let's take a closer look at each of these ingredients and learn how
to say I'm sorry in the most effective way.
By giving a detailed account of the offence, you are making sure that both
you and the other person are talking about the same thing. It also
legitimizes the feelings of the recipient by having the person who caused
the offence recount the situation.
Keep in mind that you should be as specific as possible and your apology
should be focused on the particular event(s). For example, if you missed an
important date, don't apologize for your general absentmindedness but
instead for missing that specific date.
Next, by acknowledging the hurt or damage done, you are validating their
feelings and the recipient begins to sense that
you understand the situation. This is
important to rebuilding your relationship because it legitimizes their
reaction, even if others in the same situation may have reacted differently.
Taking responsibility and recognizing your role in the situation without
offering excuses is important to letting them know that you understand that
the event and your actions did cause them harm.
Don't try to defend yourself or
justify the situation or your actions. The apology is all about THEM and how
they feel. It doesn't matter if the actions were intentional or not, the
end result is the same and that is what needs to be focused on when learning
how to say I'm sorry.
Including a statement of regret such as I "apologize" or "I'm sorry"
with a promise that it won't happen again are important to rebuilding the
relationship and are key ingredients to any apology. After all, there is no
value in apologizing for something that you will do again and again.
Finally, asking for forgiveness at the end of the apology gives the "power" back to
the recipient. It tells them, that you have done all that you can do by
apologizing and providing whatever form of restitution you can. The next
move is up to them.
By carefully including all of these ingredients and applying them to your
situation you will know exactly how to say Im sorry, the next time you need
Learn about the Art of an Apology.
Or, find out about Verbal Apologies and
Or, return from...
How to Say I'm Sorry to How to Apologize