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Saying I’m Sorry: 4 Ways to Apologize and 10 Ways Not To

Why do those two (or three) words wreak so much havoc in relationships? Why are they so hard to say? And why is it that when so many people say them, they get it wrong? People are getting it wrong because you can’t just apologize any old way and expect that your mate will receive it. In your apology, you must be able to demonstrate that you truly regret the pain that you have caused and that you want to work towards resolution. So the apology is not only about saying the words, but it is about your demeanor – the way in which you say the words, and your actions that follow.

Author and relationship coach Nancy Pina says:

The good news is there a method to apologizing that will not only allow your words to be heard, but also lead to emotional healing. The key is to learn how to ask for forgiveness that conveys the message of regret in a manner your significant needs to hear to accept your apology.

Every relationship has its troubles. But if you address your issues in the right way, you have an opportunity to strengthen your bond.

Check out these 10 apologies that suck and then check out 4 tips that will help you say “I’m Sorry” in the right way.

  • The Quick Draw 1 of 15
    Photo Credit: Irish_eyes

    Before you even finish explaining why you are hurt, old "quick draw" has already shot off their apology. The only thing they are interested in is ending that conversation or avoiding confrontation. Photo Credit: Irish_eyes

  • The Slow Poke 2 of 15
    The Slow Poke

    The "slow poke" likes to hold on to anger for extended periods of time ( for hours or days even.) They are so busy being angry that they don't even notice they may actually be wrong. And by the time they realize it, well ..what's the point in apologizing. Photo Credit: John D.

  • The Jerk 3 of 15
    The Jerk

    Yes, I said it. If you've ever aplogized like this: "I'm sorry...now get over it already." You're being a jerk. Photo Credit: T.Tulic

  • The Mime 4 of 15
    The Mime

    The mime doesn't actually want to say the words: "I'm sorry." Instead, they want to show you that they are sorry through their gestures.  Photo Credit: phasefire

  • The Deflector 5 of 15
    The Deflector

    The deflector is going to apologize..but they are also going to blame you for their actions. "Well, I would'nt have cheated if you would have just spent more time with me." So basically, they are putting all of the responsibility back on you. Photo Credit: Jason Stitt

  • The Old School 6 of 15
    The Old School

    Old School will most certainly apologize. But, they are also going to bring up something old that you did in the past too. "I'm sorry for not calling to tell you that I would be late, but remember when you did the same thing last year." Photo Credit: Mike

  • The Lover 7 of 15
    The Lover

    Like the mime, the lover does not want to say the words. But, the lover thinks that sex will heal all wounds. Photo Credit: Galina Barskaya

  • The Repeat Offender 8 of 15
    The Repeat Offender

    The repeat offender says I'm sorry....over and over and over again...because they keep repeating the same offense...over and over and over again. "Babe...I'm sorry...for real this time." Photo Credit: Junial Enterprises

  • The Smooth Talker 9 of 15
    09-

    By the time the smooth talker is finished with you, you will be apologizing instead. " Baby, I'm sorry for bringing up such silly things...I won't ever mention my silly feelings again." Photo Credit: taliesin

  • The Briber 10 of 15
    The Briber

    The briber will apologize by buying you lavish gifts. At first, you will be so happy about your gift that their pathetic apology will suffice. But eventually, you'll come to realize that your issues have not been addressed. Photo Credit: J. Durham

  • Stop it. 11 of 15
    Stop it!

    That was all in fun. However, chances are, you saw yourself in some of those depictions. But the real beauty in relationships is that you are able to learn from each other and grow together. And when you see that your mate is making a concerted effort to change, you appreciate their actions that much more. Check out these tips on how to communicate a more effective apology. Photo Credit: brokenarts

  • Let go of your pride 12 of 15
    12-

    Most people find it so hard to utter the words: "I'm Sorry" because of their pride. Letting go of your pride, will allow you to humble yourself and to consider that you just might be at fault. Quote taken from Marriage Works Facebook fan page.

  • Have empathy and compassion 13 of 15
    13-

    You need to be able to put yourself in your partner's shoes and try to understand their feelings. Maybe this issue is not such a big deal to you...but it may be to your partner. Show your mate some compassion and be willing listen to your their concerns. Quote taken from Marriage Works Facebook fan page.

  • Make it straightforward and take responsibility 14 of 15
    14-

    Don't get defensive. Don't try to down play it. And by all means, don't blame your partner for your actions. Take ownership for your actions. Quote taken from Marriage Works Facebook fan page.

     

  • Ask for forgiveness 15 of 15
    15-

    In the article, "I'm Sorry" Expressing Regret the Right Way, Nancy Pina says: "It's hard to ask for forgiveness when you believe you have not done anything wrong, but that approach communicates a lack of respect for your loved one's feelings. It's just not your emotional hot button. Relationships have a way of balancing out when you practice love and compassion over the need to win every battle." Quote taken from Marriage Works Facebook fan page.

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