It's *Not* Too Late to Apologize

Disclaimer: this is meant people who want to mend relationships with people they actually, truly care about. If you’ve pissed off your arch-nemesis and got them off your back for good, this article is probably not for you.

On the surface, apologizing to someone seems as easy as saying, “I’m sorry”. You’ll do the little half-smile, maybe hug it out a bit – there might be a chance you actually meant what you said, too. Sometimes though, you seriously f*** up. Like, majorly – and now, getting to that apology stage becomes way more difficult. It can be hard for a lot of people to just be completely honest with themselves and realize that they were the jerk in the situation (no one wants to hurt their ego that much, but sometimes it’s necessary – self-actualization is a real thing). Save yourself the drama and the relationship in general: as hard as it may be, take responsibility for the situation and apologize. Actually mean it, because there’s nothing worse than a half-assed, mumbled, “sorry” (that may or may not be accompanied by rolling eyes) when you’re seriously hurt from whatever occurred. The next time you find yourself in this situation, whether it’s from a disagreement, argument, or something just plain rude that you did, take a deep breath and read these steps on how to give someone an actual, heartfelt apology.

1. Explain your point-of-view.

In the heat of the moment, words can get lost in translation and completely misunderstood. People may take things to heart or be absolutely nonchalant about what you just said, they could be twisting the context and what you actually meant, making this a confusing situation for everyone involved. Here is your chance to explain yourself (in a calm and collected manner) about what you really meant.

2. Take responsibility.

This could very well be the most important point. You only make yourself look like an insensitive a-hole when you’re constantly placing the blame on others and acting as if you did nothing wrong (especially if it was totally your fault). There could be a chance that the other person is partially to blame, too, but take the high road and admit your faults first.  Even if other people are involved in some way, you’re the only one who can apologize for yourself and your actions. It shows the other person that you actually care enough to open yourself up and put away your pride for the time being (which is, like I said earlier, hard for some people to do). If there is one piece of advice that you take away from this article, it’s this – for the love of God, please do not ever (ever) say: “I’m sorry you feel that way” or “I’m sorry, but…”.  This apology is not (and never will be) about you; it’s about them. Making statements like that not only places the blame on the other person (for doing something that they can’t help at all – having emotions) it also makes you come off as insensitive and uncaring about how the other person feels. Don’t be that person. It’s okay to be vulnerable sometimes, and body language is everything. Once the other person sees you being human, they’ll be much more likely to talk about where they may have slipped up as well (and if they don’t, well, they probably shouldn’t be a part of your life).

3. Of course, say sorry…also, discuss ways that the situation can be handled better in the future, or what you can do to change how you acted.

Try to really take this opportunity to look at yourself from someone else’s eyes. Do you snap and say things that you don’t mean when you’re upset? Do you tend to take out your bad mood on others, even if you regret it later? Explain that. Not everyone has shark tank at Sea World-thick skin – things can often be taken personally, especially if you love that person (friendships and romantic relationships alike). By communicating with the other person involved, you can take steps to mending the situation for good and discovering ways to stop it from happening again.