Apologizing means expressing regret for something you did. A sincere apology involves reflecting on your actions, taking responsibility, and making changes to improve in the future. Giving an apology can help repair a damaged relationship while showing care and respect for the other person.
The How to Apologize worksheet breaks down an apology into three steps. Reflecting on your actions involves taking a step back and considering the role you played in the conflict. Next, taking responsibility requires you to own up to your actions and say “I’m sorry”. Finally, listening and improving means accepting feedback from the other person and learning how to avoid repeating a mistake.
Effective apologies don’t always come easily, so spend time reviewing and practicing each step. It may be helpful to practice other communication skills, such as Active Listening, alongside apologies.
1. Scher, S. J., & Darley, J. M. (1997). How effective are the things people say to apologize? Effects of the realization of the apology speech act. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 26(1), 127-140.