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Owe Her an Apology? Do it the Right Way

how to apologize

Apologizing can be tough, since it requires that we admit to being wrong or to hurting someone. Neither of which are that fun. But apologizing is necessary from time to time when you’re trying to keep any kind of relationship alive, especially when it’s a romantic one. If the words “I’m sorry” never seem to come out quite right, here are some tips for doing it the right way.

Do it When You Realize that You Should

If everyone apologized the moment they realized that they did something wrong it could save a lot of drawn out complications, but for some reason we just don’t. We contemplate whether we should say anything at all, we get scared, we wonder if we even did anything wrong even when we totally know that we did something wrong. If you find yourself trying to justify some actions that you might feel a little guilty about, it’s a pretty good sign that an apology might be in order.

In general it’s best to address the issue right away rather than hope it will deflate a bit, because when it doesn’t or when it comes back even larger then you have even more apologizing and explaining to do. Plus, you have to live with your guilty conscience in the meantime, and that can’t be healthy.

Be Sincere When You Do It

When you’re ready to apologize, leave the defenses and the fabrications out of the equation. Don’t apologize for the sake of making sure she isn’t mad at you, but because you truly realize what you did, feel bad, and want to make it better. Half apologies don’t come off as authentic, so you can’t be surprised if you only get a half apology acceptance when you deliver one. Deep down most people are good people, let that part out for the apologies and then everyone can move on with their day.

Follow Through on Damage Repair

In some circumstances a simple apology is enough, but other times you might propose a way to make something up to her. (Or she might be the one coming up with the idea.) If you say that you’re going to make up missing a dinner by taking her on another one, follow through with the idea otherwise your apology is going to fall short and the next time you say you’re going to do something she (rightly) won’t be sure if you mean it.

Don’t Apologize When You Shouldn’t

As important as apologizing when you’ve done something wrong is not apologizing when you haven’t. If you find yourself apologizing more than normal in a certain relationship, you might want to take a look at the expectations this girl has and assess whether they’re reasonable for you or not. When you apologize just to make someone let something go, it starts to devalue the apology and makes it easier for you to say it without meaning it when a real apology is in order. Plus, no one should be walking around feeling like they’ve done something wrong when they haven’t. She might be deflecting some of her own guilt onto you.

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About Kate Ferguson Kate Fergus is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blogs and online magazines. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce.

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