“I am sorry” – The art of apologizing

“I am sorry”. For some of us these three words are the hardest words to come out with. When you have wronged someone, hurt their feelings, it becomes hard to ask for forgiveness. It is important to identify when you have to apologize to someone and how to do it. According to the study, published Tuesday (April 12) in the journal Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, it was found that the more elements the apology contained, the more effective it was rated. They found that six things increase the effectiveness of an apology: an expression of regret, an explanation of what went wrong, an acknowledgement of responsibility, a declaration of repentance, an offer of repair and a forgiveness. Here are some tips that can help you with the process of apologizing including the relevant elements.


  • Take a moment and think for yourself. See how you feel about it. Do you feel you wronged the other person? Is an apology necessary? Would saying sorry make you feel different? Are you ready to apologize?
  • Give the other person some time. Sometimes trying to fix thing in the heat of the moment may do more harm than good.
  • If you are finding it hard to express how you feel verbally, then write. Put it in words on paper. When you do this it gives you time to reflect and process what you are putting across.
  • When you are wording your apology, it is essential to let the person at the receiving end know that you clearly understand what went wrong. To begin with you can address the issue and take responsibility for your actions.
  • Explain how you felt and why your reactions came out the way it did. This helps the other person to view it differently and understand the situation better. Also describing what you could have done differently would help future incidents.
  • Be genuine when you speak. Show you feel bad for how things have turned out. Convince the other person that you genuinely feel terrible and that you want to amend things. You can also ask if there is anything you can do from your side to make things better. As Gilbert K. Chesterton said “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.”
  • After the apology you and the person receiving the apology should feel relieved and good about yourselves. Something that was broken is now in the process of healing.

“In this life, when you deny someone an apology, you will remember it at a time you beg forgiveness.”– Toba Beta

-Fathimath Maisha






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