The phrase “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” may sound romantic, but the truth is that apologies are essential parts of a healthy relationship. While a pair of gold earrings can help to smooth things over, it’s important to apologize in a way that will help your relationship grow.
Say it face to face. Email might be convenient, but it’s not the clearest form of communication. As you’ve probably already learned the hard way, it’s easy to misunderstand an email message because it lacks the emotion that you can convey with your body language and your tone. Emoticons are simply no match for face-to-face communication.
Own up. There’s a big difference between saying “I’m sorry you feel hurt” and taking responsibility for what you’ve done. While you may be sorry that your significant other is feeling slighted, apologizing for his or her feelings doesn’t demonstrate that you’re sorry you were the cause. Try starting with “I’m sorry I …” to show that you take responsibility for your actions.
Be specific. Which means more: “he’s a good guy” or “he goes out of his way to make me feel special, and brings me coffee each morning”? The more specific choice, right? The same thing goes when you’re apologizing: a specific “I’m sorry” is more meaningful than a general one. While this doesn’t mean that you need to rehash every detail of your mistake, you need to provide enough detail to give your apology significance. For example, instead of saying “I’m sorry I was rude,” try “I’m sorry I made fun of your cooking in front of your friends.”
Don’t place blame or rationalize. Yes, the other person may have things for which they need to apologize as well. Forget about that and focus on what you did when you apologize—this is one time in a relationship when it’s a good thing to focus on yourself. Avoid using the word “but” (for example, “I’m sorry I stayed late at the office without calling you, but you were snippy with me earlier in the day”), and simply apologize without rationalizing.
Prove yourself. Saying that you’re sorry is just the beginning. After you say the words you need to demonstrate that you mean them by changing your behavior (if the act for which you apologized was a habit) or avoiding making the same mistake again.
Go out of your way. Once you’ve apologized and begun to amend your ways, consider going out of your way to show your special someone that you value him or her. Flowers are always an appreciated gesture, but if you really want to demonstrate your love and appreciation, try a piece of jewelry such as a sparkling diamond heart pendant. By going out of your way to invest in the one you love, you can help to repair some of the damage.
Saying that you’re sorry is never fun, but it’s worth it. Try these tips for an apology that’s a step in the right direction for your relationship.