It’s true. It can be hard to say sorry. Apologising can be difficult and awkward. We may worry we are going to make a fraught situation worse but nearly every time, an apology will clear the air and can repair almost any relationship.

Here are out 5 tips on how to say Sorry, sincerely.


Sing Along..

It’s sad, so sad (so sad)
It’s a sad, sad situation
And it’s getting more and more absurd
It’s sad, so sad (so sad)
Why can’t we talk it over?
Oh it seems to me
That sorry seems to be the hardest word

Elton John 

1. Actually Say the Words

Yup. If you’re going to apologise then guess what you actually have to apologise. No mumbling round the subject in some half hearted way to make you feel like you apologised but didn’t really. It is crucial that every apology needs to start with the key words ‘I’m Sorry’. This also directs you straight to the core of the problem to explain.

2. Admit Responsibility

Next, you have to admit responsibility for your actions or behaviour, and acknowledge what you did and why you are saying sorry. This means you have to put yourself in the shoes of the person you have wronged so you can understand how you made them feel.

Be careful not to say anything along the lines of “If I hurt you, I’m sorry.” When you do this, you undermine your apology as you are questioning the validity of their feelings and blaming the other person for feeling hurt.

Tell them how much you regret what you did, you know it was wrong, and you value their feelings. Express that you wish you could turn back time and change what you said or did.

3. Don’t Excuse Yourself

In the words of Benjamin Franklin:Never ruin an apology with an excuse.”

During an apology, many people are tempted to explain their actions. This can be helpful, but explanations can often serve as excuses, and these will weaken your apology. Don’t shift the blame onto someone or something else in an attempt to reduce responsibility.

“I’m sorry that I snapped at you yesterday but you were annoying me” doesn’t cut it however “I’m sorry I snapped at you yesterday. It was wrong of me but I was feeling really stressed and I shouldn’t have taken it out on you” is much better. You are explaining but not excusing.

4. Promise That It Won’t Happen Again

The fact that you won’t repeat your behaviour has to be inherent in your apology. This is important because this helps you build trust and hopefully repair the behaviour.

A sincere apology should be given and accepted with the intention of restoring the relationship.

5. Ask How to Make Amends

This is how you take a perfect apology to its conclusion if you so wish.

You may offer to do something for that person or offer them something they want, whether it is your time or a responsibility at work. However, do not make empty gestures or promises that will be broken as this will do more damage than good. Also, remember to be offer a proportionate gesture to the wrong you have committed. Don’t be tempted to offer up more than is necessary out of guilt.


Occasionally, despite the best apologies, it is just not possible to right a situation. This is sad but you also have to draw a line. If you are sincere when you apologise and it is not accepted then you can not be expected to keep on apologising.

Sometimes, it can also take time for things to get back to the way they were and a disagreement followed b y a heartfelt apology can improve relationships and move them to a deeper level.


Liberty London