How to Say Sorry

25 Feb

This article is also posted in the student’s Guidance website: Ask Teacher Joseph

When you realize that you’ve hurt someone, the first thing that crosses our mind is to apologize to that person.  But experience would show us that it isn’t easy to do.  Even when we are really really sorry for what we’ve done, finding the right words to say to that person may not be that easy.  Here is a guide on how we should apologize:

1. Acknowledge Your Mistake

The first step is to know what your mistake is.  You cannot be fully sorry if you don’t know what you should be sorry for.  Once you realize this, the other person should also see that you know by saying what you are sorry for.  For this step, it would help to say…

“I’m sorry because _____________________________”


2. Realize the Effect of Your Action

Making mistakes is OK when we learn from it.  If we think really hard, we would realize how our mistake hurts other people or ourselves.  It would also help the person whom we have offended to forgive us more easily when he sees that we’ve learned from our mistake.  For this step, it would help to say…

“I’ve realized that _____________________________”


2. Repair the Damage Done

After realizing the effect of our actions, the next step is to take positive actions that would undo the harm done by our mistake.  Apart from apologizing, there are things we can do to restore broken friendships and renewing the trust and confidence of other people.  It would also be important to commit to this action.  For this step, it would help to say…

“I promise that _____________________________”


To end, your apology should sound something like this:

“I’m sorry because _____________________________.  I realized that  _____________________________.  I promise that _____________________________.”


At first, saying sorry can be hard, but it becomes easier with practice.  Eventually you can get to the point that it would be easy to see when you’ve hurt someone, and you can say sorry quickly and sincerely.  😉

picture credit: ~hebi-mamecafe

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Posted by on February 25, 2011 in Bullying, Conflict Resolution


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