The Art of an Apology

Jan Jone
December 3, 2023

Do you know someone who is unable to admit they are wrong or made a mistake? What about a person who cannot forgive and holds grudges? They are very difficult to be around, are they not?

The ability to make and accept an apology is a sign of strength, compassion, and humility.  It is a very important communication skill worth mastering, my friend.

Today we are exploring:

·        Do’s and don’ts of apologizing

·        Reframe the situation: how would you feel?

·        How to gracefully accept an apology

Perhaps the easiest way to break down an effective apology is to look at a simple chart of do’s and don’ts:


Look at the person directly

Identify exactly what you are  sorry for

Say WHY you are sorry

Offer to make it up to them if  you can

Say it with a sincere voice

Ask their forgiveness

Tell them it will not happen  again


Write it in a text, say it in  person

Just say “sorry” and that be the  end

Reflect back “sorry you feel that  way”

Neglect to make it right if you  can

Speak fast, too quietly, or  sarcastically

Act like it was no big deal

Do it again

Reframe the situation: Too often people do not put themselves in the other person’s place and think about how they would feel if what they did was done to them. It is easy to think WE wouldn’t be upset…they're overreacting and need to get over it.

Perhaps it is true that YOU would not be upset, but this is where compassion and humility come in.  Show the other person you value how they feel with a well-designed apology.  It will pay off in a stronger, healthier relationship, trust me.

The other side to consider is how to gracefully accept an apology.

If someone has offended you and is sincerely apologizing and making effort to make the situation right, a tactful acceptance of the apology is inorder to mend the relationship.  It takes a humble person with compassion to not want to make the offender “pay” for their actions.

Here are some hints for humbly accepting an apology:

·        Listen to the whole apology without interrupting or negative body language

·        Put yourself in their place, objectively, and try to understand their side

·        When they are finished, explain your feelings if it helps

·        If you care about this relationship, and believe they are sincere, say you accept their apology

·        Move on and do not hold it against them in the future

Everyone at times finds themselves in need of making or accepting an apology, whether with family members, friends, at work, or in any other group setting. Be the mature, humble person who values relationships enough to take the time to craft apologies well and kindly accept sincere apologies. Your relationships will be richer for it.

-Jan Jones

For more on how to make an effective apology: