HOW TO APOLOGIZE

  1. Listen
    First, listen to the person that is telling you that you hurt them. Don't interrupt. Hear them through, look them in the eye, pay attention.
  2. Think
    Think about perspective: what you think happened, and what they think happened. Right now, what really matters is what they think happened. They are the priority in this situation.
  3. Search
    For the possible root of the problem. For example, if your significant other is upset because you came home late, is it really because you came home late or because he/she feels that the two of you aren't spending enough time together? If you're unsure, ask (but respectfully!!!!!).
  4. Validate
    Let them know that they are heard and that their words matter and are valued. Thank them for coming to you and talking about this.
  5. Take accountability
    THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART! Own up to your actions. You hurt this person, and you have to take accountability for that.
  6. Watch your words
    NEVER phrase your apology "I'm sorry your feelings were hurt" or "I'm sorry you interpreted it that way." That takes zero responsibility and actually places all of the blame on the person you hurt. ALSO: no excuses. No explanations. Just apologize.
  7. Mean it
    Authenticity and genuineness is key in an apology.
  8. Reform
    Ask the person "What can I do better?" or "What can I do to fix this?" or even "What can I do to make sure this doesn't happen again?" And then once you get an answer, do that. Take a moment to think about your own actions and behavior and look to see what can be improved. This takes a lot of humility and is very hard! But you can do it!
  9. Ask
    for forgiveness. Make it clear that your relationship with this person is important, and that you care about being the best friend/child/significant other/associate/etc. that you can be.
  10. Wait
    It may take time to get things between the two of you back to where it once was. Be patient. You may have to earn your trust back. Be careful that the other person does not emotionally manipulate you into always feeling guilty, that's not healthy!!
  11. Move on
    You hurt someone, you apologized, you learned, you addressed the root of the problem, and you were forgiven. Free yourself from any guilt and shame, and focus on having a meaningful relationship with this person that you respect and appreciate!