The Right Apology Can Change Your Life

By Jyotika Aggarwal, Clinical Psychologist


Jyotika Aggarwal
Clinical Psychologist

March 11, 2019

It happens so often that even after apologizing, the issue becomes an argument and forgiveness is out of sight. This is simply because we do not know how to communicate the “right” way to say sorry.


  • Do not use “but”. Using this word after saying you are sorry, tells the other person that you are trying to justify in your favor and get away from the error.
  • Do not expect forgiveness. Forcing and arguing with the other person that your apology deserves forgiveness, will lead to being counter-productive.
  • Give up being defensive. It is innate in people to be defensive. While accepting their error, they feel the need to defend themselves which either comes across as “if I'm going down, I'm taking you with me!”.
  • Don’t over-apologize: “to err, is human”, it is acceptable to make some mistakes. Thus make amends, however, do not over apologize and overcompensate for the same.

The Do’s

  • Make your intention clear. Let the individual know, what led you to make that error. Help them understand what you thought you would gain out of this.
  • Recurrence: Make sure you communicate that you will not do it again.
  • Responsibility: Accept the problem created and the emotional disturbance it caused.
  • Express that you understand the consequences and the hurt or discomfort caused because of the error. Let them know you empathize.


Expressing regret+ your understanding of the situation+ your promise of zero recurrences. I am sorry that me doing this, hurt you and made you feel unimportant, that was not my intention and will not do such a thing again.

As they say, never ruin an apology with an excuse!

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