How to Say Sorry to the People You’ve Hurt
What’s the hardest thing to say to a person?
Some of you might think that the answer should be “I love you”.
Sure, these three words are the proverbial cats getting our tongues during our youth. But once you experience disappointing or hurting someone dear to you, then there’s nothing more deflating.
In many cases, asking for forgiveness is a lot tougher than confessing your feelings, especially if your approach is to suck it up, swallow your pride, and apologize face-to-face. It may be the most straightforward and sincere way to express your regret, but you also have other options if you can’t muster up the courage to do so:
1. Say it was a mistake
Most, if not all, hurtful behaviors are unintentional. They are often the result of stress, anger, or other unfortunate circumstances.
Regardless, you need to be honest and straight up say that what you did was an accident. Tell them that you miscalculated the costs of your behavior and deeply regret the outcome.
Don’t be afraid to admit you were being an idiot at that time, just show that person that you’re also disappointed in your actions.
2. Tell them what you learned
Knowing how to say sorry is never enough, even if you are bold enough to admit your mistakes. Sometimes, the other party wants you to learn and change from the incident.
This is when you need to show your self-awareness and identify the root cause of your hurtful behavior. Were you depriving yourself of sleep? Are you focusing too much on your work? Do you have any addictions that endanger your stability?
Whatever it is, it must be brought out and dealt with in a mature manner. Once you get their attention, ask for their help and discuss how you’re going to improve.
3. Allow them to vent
You can’t expect someone you’ve hurt to be calm and silent in a discussion with you. That said, you must make a promise to yourself to avoid reacting negatively.
For example, if they talk to you in an aggressive and loud manner, don’t try to match it. Just be humble and let that person express anger.
Only try to subdue them if things get a little violent. In which case, you need to tell them to sit down and take deep breaths. Tell them that they can let it out on you, but not on the furniture or your house pets.
4. Express it through a song
Words are very powerful. They can hurt, soothe, inspire, or everything all at once.
Songs, however, are even more powerful. They can evoke emotions through simple tunes and beats.
If you think that words aren’t enough to inspire forgiveness, then you need to channel the power of song. If you’re musically inclined yourself, you need to seriously consider performing to that person up front. It will definitely be greatly appreciated, regardless if they choose to forgive you or not.
Otherwise, try sending an online serenade or burning music to a CD with an apology letter to match.
5. Write a list
To help you stay aware of the costs of your behavior, write a list together of everything that can need to be addressed.
There’s no formal way of doing this. You can write it on your yearly planner, on your phone’s note-taking app, or even on a post-it note on the fridge.
You can also ask the other person to specify a form of punishment in case you transgress again. Don’t be afraid to suggest something lighthearted and humorous, like being in charge of the dishes for a day or having to buy a chocolate cake. Hopefully, you can make this activity fun and finally put a smile back on their face.
After your apology, you should be prepared to comfort them by all means possible. Be ready to “baby” them, submit to all their wishes, and let them have their way for as long as needed. You can expect this to last anywhere from a couple of hours to an entire week — depending on the gravity of your mistake and how the other person copes with being hurt.
How would you solve a quarrel? Feel free to share your suggestions to us!