How to Make an Apology to Benefit Your Relationships

Lorna Harvey
4 min readJun 27, 2022

Meaningful apologizing requires some practice and talent!

Have you ever caused someone else to feel bad without realizing it at the time? It is possible that you said something playful that was taken the wrong way.

Most of us have done or said numerous things that call for regret by the time we reach adulthood. But it takes talent to offer a genuine apology that opens the door to improved ties.

Many years ago I thought I had made a humorous comment to a friend of mine and she burst into tears. I was mortified.

I know I have a warped sense of humor, but that had me take a look at where I was often out of line with my humor.

I did take responsibility for the comment and apologized to her. Fortunately, she accepted my apology and we are still friends to this day.

Do you feel the urge to express regret to anyone? Before you approach the person, perhaps you could use a few pointers.

Even though there may be nothing to apologize for right now, follow these guidelines to make future apologies convincing:

Realize You Have Said Or Done Something Offensive

Recognizing that you have done something that has injured someone or given them emotional pain is the first step in offering an apology, just like fixing any mistake.

People occasionally strike out to let us know they are feeling hurt. Other people will become quiet or even withdraw from your presence.

The Best Way to Learn What Has Upset Them is to Ask Questions

If you think your friend or loved one is upset about something, in particular, try gently asking them.

If they are resisting saying anything to you, then try to mention what you think might be the reason they are upset with you.

This might start a dialogue and you can then take ownership and apologize for the upset.

Keep in mind that they have the right not to tell you.

Let them know that you would be pleased to talk if and when they are ready if they haven’t engaged with you after you have politely asked them once or twice.

Lorna Harvey

I’m a blogger, writer, and interested in helping people find answers for living their best life. I also write on