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15 ways to apologize creatively and effectively

Maintaining the relationship is often about apologizing. But what is an apology? Is it saying sorry, or admitting we were wrong, or righting what we did wrong again, or trying our best to never do it again, or is it seeking forgiveness?

Well, it depends on who you’re apologizing to and the circumstances, but the following 15 tips are considerations for making an acceptable apology.


3 ways to express regret

1. Does our body language align with our words? Sincerity is important when expressing regret.

2. Excuse me, what for? The communication of our repentance has to be meaningful. We need to make sure that our repentance is for the right reason. They may be asking, “Do you really understand?”

3. No buts or manipulation: Any expression of apology that quickly reverts to what we want renders the apology useless. Saying I’m sorry should be unconditional, said with pure intent.

3 ways to accept responsibility

4. The phenomenon of partial responsibility manifests itself in all relationships. Sometimes we do the wrong thing by reacting to someone who initially did the wrong thing. We had better accept responsibility for our portion of what fell short of God’s glory.

5. Accepting responsibility is easier when we admit that we make mistakes. Nobody is perfect. We will make mistakes. So why not admit them? The mature person does it; They honor the truth.

6. When we focus on what we could have done better and not what they should have done better, we are able to not only improve, relationally, but exercise grace toward them.

3 ways to make restitution

7. Making amends has great power when we learn what they need. We can’t know what they need without asking and engaging them in conversation. So what reconciles the relationship is committing to them initially and then making amends.

8. There is also a place to make amends in a special way without the other person’s prior knowledge, but we must hope that they will not receive it as we have planned that they will receive it.

9. Making amends has the best effect when we focus our amends on what is meaningful to the other person. Do you want to hear the words? Or is it a gift they would like to receive? Or is it time for us to give them away? Or do they require our help?

3 ways to genuinely repent

10. Some people just want to hear the words, “I don’t want to do this to you again.” Sometimes it is just the intention of repentance that is enough, as long as we are sincere and genuine.

11. Real change is about making small but significant changes in the way we relate to people. But to change we must be deliberate and intentional. A plan for change is usually a good thing.

12. Repentance and forgiveness tend to work together. If we fail in our repentance, we must forgive ourselves so that we can try again.

3 ways to apologize

13. Forgiveness is about the actual acknowledgment of restoration in the relationship. When we ask to be forgiven, we are asking for a clean slate to be made. We are asking that we not be blamed for the error or mistake. We have to understand that it is a request and not a request. It is up to them whether they will forgive or not. Because it is a request, we cannot blame them for refusing to forgive. We have to accept it as it is.

14. Because it is a request, and we put our destiny in your hands, seeking forgiveness implies fear. We have to overcome our fear before asking. If we only ask we have overcome our fear.

15. Seeking forgiveness implies giving up control of the situation. Just for a moment we have to agree that relinquishing control is a worthy cost to the potential reconciliation of the relationship.


Ask for forgiveness, accept that we were wrong, correct it again, accept the change and seek forgiveness: these are the bases of apology.

© 2014 SJ Wickham.

Thanks: To Dr. Gary Chapman and his book The Five Languages ​​of Apology. I have used Dr. Chapman’s five point structure.