Creative Ways to Say Sorry

There are so many creative ways to say sorry. Adding your own special touch to your apology can make all the difference in getting things back on track.

Get inspired by these tried and tested ideas for saying sorry and apologizing.

chalkboard with doodles and a light bulb


I'm Sorry & I Apologize: Are They Different?

We're often asked about the difference between saying I'm sorry and I apologize. Although similar and often used interchangeably, there is a distinction between the two. So before we get to the more creative ideas and various ways of apologizing let's spell out those differences.

I'm sorry expresses a level of regret or remorse. It tells the other person that you feel badly about what's occured. It's a term we use for small infractions (e.g. I'm sorry I stepped on your foot) and for close relationships (e.g. I'm so sorry I hurt you).

I apologize on the other hand, is a statement of admission. So you're admitting that you were at fault without stating that you are sorry about it.

In our simple examples above you can clearly see that if we change the 'I'm sorry' to 'I apologize' our reactions to the statements are very different.

I'm sorry I stepped on your foot becomes → I apologize for stepping on your foot and I'm so sorry I hurt you turns into → I apologize for hurting you.

See the difference? The 'sorry' statements are warmer and convey feelings, while the 'apology' ones simply state facts.

So, since you can be sorry and not apologize, and apologize without being sorry we recommend you use both in your apology, most of the time.

Unique Apology Gifts & Ways of Saying Sorry

A gift is like icing on a cake when it comes to apologizing. They absolutely aren't necessary for an apology to be effective but they do add that extra touch—it's what makes them so special and something to consider when thinking about ways of saying sorry.

The fact that they aren't necessary or expected AND that you offered one anyway, shows the recipient that you put extra effort in trying to make things right again. Just make sure when giving a gift that it is given WITH an apology and is not THE apology itself.

Inspired by our own research as well as some ideas from our readers, we've come across some interesting gift ideas for saying sorry that show the recipient that you went out of your way to find something special.

This first gift idea comes from Dave (one of our website visitors) and adds a huge wow factor when apologizing in a relationship.

You can name a star through an online Star Registry (yes, a real star... and name it after the two of you and declare your union to the world). Give your partner the star along with your apology and tell them how brightly they shine in your heart. This one tops our list of great and personalized ways to say sorry.

Read about Dave's experience with this unique gift.

Inspired by Dave's creativity, another website visitor decided to create a booklet of love coupons for his significant other, offering various things that would be redeemable whenever her heart fancied.

He shared his success with us and we were so inspired by his creativity that we hired professional graphic designers to create the ultimate package of Apology Love Coupons so that we could offer them to our website visitors. It's another great gift idea for saying sorry to the one you love.

Say Sorry with Apology Flowers & Gift Baskets

The old romantic standards of apology flowers and gift baskets, are always effective and appreciated for personal relationships and even in business.

That's why they've become standards but make sure to take the time though to choose the right ones. Flowers have a great deal of symbolism and meaning so know which flowers to buy and what colors to get.

As for gift baskets, there are so many available on the market so be very selective when choosing one as an apology gift.

Want more creative romantic ideas for saying I'm sorry and I love you? Then check out our full list of romantic apology gifts and ideas.

The Classic Way to Apologize to Girlfriends & Wives

And for those of you looking for that "classic" apology gift, jewelry is the way to go. This is most appropriate for intimate relationships and is supported by a survey conducted by a jewelry company in the US who found that a substantial amount of their customers bought jewelry as a way of saying sorry.

woman wearing several rings


For this type of extra-special gift, we like They're a great company, completely trustworthy and have been in business since 1946. They offer everything from discount jewelry to diamond rings, fine jewelry, designer pieces like Pandora and more. They even offer a heart-shaped cut diamond and other heart pieces which are perfect for saying sorry to that special person in your life.

The Apology I'm Sorry T-Shirt

Grab one of your old T-shirts and write 'Sorry' or 'I'm Sorry' on it with fabric paint or even a Sharpie Marker.

Black t-shirt with white lettering spelling out the word sorry

Wear it to proudly show the offended party that you truly are sorry.

We know that in relationships there are many times that apologies are warranted.

This T-shirt idea for saying sorry is a great romantic gift for yourself or your partner that can be used over and over again.

Each time you need to apologize to your wife, husband, girlfriend or boyfriend, simply wear the T-shirt and let it speak along with you. Not crafty? You can get a ready made Sorry T-shirt from Amazon.

Apology E-cards and Greeting Cards

Sending e-cards is another alternative when considering ways to say sorry. They offer a quick way to extend an apology for minor infractions and can contain long heartfelt messages or be a simple 'sorry' image or meme like the one below.

Image of a puppy looking sad saying I'm this sorry

For more serious infractions, e-cards can be used as a vehicle for extending an invitation to a meeting where you can then deliver a verbal apology.

When choosing an e-card or greeting card, think about an appropriate (and relevant) image or sentiment related somehow to you, the injured party, or your situation. It will show that you took time and gave thought to the choice that you made.

Greeting cards are also useful for adding a special touch to an apology. Because we associate receiving one with a special occasion or memorable event, they add a level of importance and suggest that your apology is heartfelt.

Using Poems and Poetry In Your Apology

A poem has long been considered one of the most thoughtful, symbolic, and romantic ways to communicate ones feelings. They capture the essence of a person's thoughts and often invoke an emotional or sensual response. When thinking about ways to say sorry however, a poem or some poetry alone is almost NEVER a sufficient alternative to a good and meaningful apology. This is a common mistake.

Obviously, the perfect apology can only be tailored to your particular situation, so poetry alone is not likely to do the trick. Use poetry to let the person know how important your relationship is, but frame the poem with a well crafted verbal or written apology appropriate to the circumstance.

For example, if you'd like to include poetry when apologizing to your sister, then add a poem that really highlights the important bond that siblings share.

And when apologizing to your boyfriend or girlfriend include a romantic, touching and heartfelt love poem that speaks to something special or unique about your relationship.

Finding the right poem is NOT always easy, so take the time to read through a few and find the right one for you!

Here are some examples of poems that are appropriate for saying sorry and how to use them as part of your apology.

apology icons

Saying Sorry with Quotes

Using quotations can also help to illustrate a point and enrich your apology. But just like poems, quotes should be used to support your apology and NEVER be the apology itself.

Quote on forgiveness: Forgive all who have offended you, not for them, but for yourself.


For example, in a situation where you remained quiet when a friend needed support, the following sentiment may help:

When you have to make a choice and don't make it, that in itself is a choice. William James

The quote above acknowledges the error and takes ownership of the mistaken choices made—two key ingredients of a perfect apology. Additionally, your apology will likely be better received and more effective because you chose a quote that expressed the injured party's point of view. After all...

A stiff apology is a second insult.... The injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt. Gilbert Keith Chesterton

On our quotes page we provide a few good examples of quotes for saying sorry and what situations they're best suited for. We also have other pages on quotes that surround apologies and saying sorry.

They are:

1 | Apology quotes by famous people.

2 | Forgiveness Quotes, after all that's what we're all looking for...

3 | Quotes on Regret, a common emotion when we've hurt someone.

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Saying Sorry with Music and Song Lyrics

Quoting song lyrics in a letter can also enhance an apology, for many of the same reasons as mentioned above. The added advantage of using apology song lyrics is that you can include the song on a custom made CD (or, even better, an Ipod) as a gift to go along with the apology.

For one, the band Chicago's song "Hard to say I'm sorry" has some beautiful lyrics about promising to make things right again.

After all that we've been through, I will make it up to you. I promise to.

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There are so many great ways to say sorry. Finding the right one for your situation requires a little thought and planning. But adding that little 'extra something' to your apologies will pay off big time!

Learn about romantic apologies and the best ways of saying sorry in intimate relationships.

Also, be sure to check out some of the apology ideas submitted by our readers—they're sure to inspire.

I'm Sorry Love Coupons