7 Ingredients of An Apology


In our quest to improve marriage and communication among couples, it is time to tackle the apology.  As long as we are human, there will be times we need to apologize.  In today’s show, Ron and Lexie Lee discuss the 7 ingredients  needed to make an effective apology.

Before you apologize there are a few things to consider.

 Decide what went wrong.

Did you do something wrong or was someone hurt?  Sometimes we need to apologize for hurting someone’s feelings even though our action was not wrong.

Understand that apologizing is NOT about you. An apology is not an explanation or a justification – it has nothing to do with who was right or wrong. You are apologizing to someone because you made them feel bad.  When you are apologizing, focus on the other person and not on you. Determining who was right or wrong should not be done during an apology.  Also, do not offer excuses to try to justify your actions.

Choose the right time to apologize. Apologies should be given in private and at a time when both parties can focus on each other.

Write your apology down (optional). Sometimes we need to rehearse our apology, BUT APOLOGIZE IN PERSON

So, now you are ready to apologize.  What do we need to include?

1.Start off with what went wrong. Begin the apology by stating what went wrong and the feelings your words or actions caused. Do not include IFS OR BUTS and avoid phrases like “I am sorry you felt hurt.”  Remember that the apology is not about you.

2.Say I am sorry. Use clear, direct statements. “I am sorry for offending you” is a good example NOT “I am sorry if I offended you”

3.Make amends. Look at what needs to be different to prevent this from happening again.  State what you will do to be different.  This may include dealing with your stress better or thinking before you speak.

4.Include gratitude. Express gratitude to the other person.  What do you appreciate about the other person?

5. Request forgiveness. It is important to ask for forgiveness, but the other ingredients mentioned need to be included.  Just asking for forgiveness with out acknowledging the feelings does not feel sincere.

6.Be patient.  Just because you have asked for forgiveness does not mean the other party is ready to forgive.  Allow time for processing emotions.

7. Follow through with what you said you’d do.

Additional tips:

  • Do not try to blame or point fingers
  • Sometimes attempted apologies turn into a rehash of the same argument you wanted to amend. Be very careful not to re-argue any topics or open any old wounds.
  • You should be relaxed and show humble body language.
  • After you have apologized, take some time to yourself and try to think of a better way that you could have handled the situation.
  • Don’t apologize unless you really mean it.
  • Do not look annoyed, disinterested, or angry during your apology.


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