Most of us experience plenty of situations in which we find it necessary to apologize. You may want to apologize because you misunderstood, disagreed, or made a mistake. Never underestimate the value of an apology. You’ll be a wiser person who experiences an enriched life if you get into the habit of apologizing when it’s warranted.
Consider these suggestions when you’re looking for a way to apologize:
1. Make a phone call. If the person you wish to apologize to lives far away, pick up the phone. Call them and apologize. The sooner you do it, the better.
2. Send a letter. Sometimes, we’ve upset someone to the extent they won’t answer the phone when they see we are calling. In these cases, try sending an apology letter.
• You’ll be amazed by the array of cards that say “I’m sorry” in a way that fits your situation perfectly.
4. Use text messaging. Afraid to speak to the person you want to apologize to, but don’t want to wait for the U.S. mail to deliver your card or letter? Try text messaging. You can get it over with right now.
• Remember to follow up with a face-to-face apology afterwards.
5. Send a singing telegram. Perhaps you’ve never considered this method. But really, can you imagine not smiling when some guy comes knocking at your door and sings you a lovely song of apology? If you strive to immediately bring a smile to her face, consider a singing telegram.
6. Have a paid-for lunch delivered. You likely know where the potential receiver of your apology works. Stop in at a local take-out restaurant and arrange to have his favorite meal delivered to him.
• You can even write your apology on the napkin that accompanies the delivered meal.
7. Buy them jewelry. There’s something about receiving a ring, necklace, or bracelet that brings a certain sense of awe and joy.
• Jewelry is a well-loved and effective way to say, “I’m sorry.”
8. Wash the person’s car. Depending upon your relationship with the person you need to apologize to and the nature of your “crime,” washing his car sends a message that says, “I want make up with you.”
9. Type up some “apology coupons.” Get creative in your efforts to apologize. Think of three to five favors you can do for the person, and then print them out on coupons.
• On the coupons, state what you’ll do to apologize.
• Let them know they can “redeem” the coupons with you at their convenience.
10. Cook a special dinner. It’s wise to consider the depth of your misdeed before selecting how you’ll apologize. For example, if you failed to show up when someone was supposed to meet you, it’s an awfully nice gesture to have them over for a dinner you go to the trouble of preparing. Cook your way back into their good graces.
11. Plan to spend a special day with the person. If you want to send the message, “You really matter to me,” put aside time in your schedule to spend a whole day with her.
12. Take the person on an incredible vacation. If you want to apologize in grand fashion, plan a once-in-a-lifetime trip with the person. Who can be mad after that?
13. Open your heart. If you shut down emotionally and withdraw from others when you err, this suggestion can be challenging.
• Honestly open up to the person you had an issue with and recognize your misstep.
• Admit that you’re disappointed in how you handled things.
• Promise to take their feelings into account in the future.
14. Ask for forgiveness. Sometimes the best approach is to be simple and direct. Say something like, “I’m sorry for ______________. Will you please forgive me?”
15. Approach the person with positivity. No matter what you’re doing, being positive is far more effective than being negative. Say, “It’s good to see you. I’ve missed you.”
16. Write a poem. Spend some time making a cheesy rhyming poem to say you’re sorry. Occasionally, a non-traditional, yet sweet, gesture can reach someone who’s upset with you.
17. Send a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Sending flowers shows your thoughtfulness and your efforts to mend your ways. Of course, enclose a card of apology along with the flowers.
18. Serve breakfast in bed. If you live with the person to whom you’ve done wrong, a wonderful way to make up is to get up early, prepare a sumptuous breakfast, and serve it to the person as they’re waking up.
• Add a verbal apology while they’re enjoying the breakfast as “icing on the cake.”
19. Share your humility and then resolve to persevere in the relationship. It certainly doesn’t hurt to take the position, “Look, I messed up and I know it. From now on, I’m going to show you that I’ll be the best friend you’ve ever had.”
• Tell them you are going to keep working to earn their forgiveness.
20. Vow to do better. Look within yourself for the strength and courage to recognize your flaws and how things went wrong. Own up to yourself about your error and promise yourself you’ll do better. Then, tell the other person all those things.
21. Offer to transport them to and from work for a month. This apology will cost you time and money. Yet, it’s quite thoughtful and helpful.
• In a sense, you’ll become their chauffeur for 30 days. If that doesn’t show your sincere wish to apologize and be forgiven, nothing does.
• Strengthen your relationship by going the extra mile to apologize, literally.
22. Give her a day at the spa. Who says you can’t bribe someone to forgive you with a little pampering at the spa? When you go out of your way to make another person feel special, the person you wronged will see you as thoughtful, kind, and caring.
23. Give him two tickets to his favorite team’s next game. The bribery works both ways. If you wronged your man, why not let him go to a game with the guys in order to beg his forgiveness?
24. Take the person to a movie of their choice. If the wrong that you committed isn’t too earth-shattering, simply offering to take the person to a movie of their choice can smooth the waters.
• During the car ride to the show, humbly mention your apology.
25. Simply say, “I’m sorry.” Every human being will find it necessary to say these words more than once in their lifetime.
• Practice saying it in front of the mirror.
• When you tell him “I’m sorry,” look him right in the eyes and say it with honesty.
Apologizing is as important for you as it is for the person you wronged. The more you have to apologize, the likelier it is you’ll strive in the future to consider the consequences before you act. Strengthen your personal efforts to apologize often and with confidence. You’ll certainly feel better after you make your amends.