Have you hurt someone so badly that you don’t know how to apologize to them? Some people say that we hurt the people we love the most. Truth be told, we hurt the people who love us the most. But how to apologize to someone you hurt? You need to be honest and earnest when you say sorry to someone.
It’s when we can’t match up to their expectations from us that we end up hurting them. We may hurt someone either intentionally or unintentionally, but the thing we should always do is try to make amends and apologize sincerely.
So, how do you say sorry for hurtful things? How to apologize to someone you hurt deeply? Let us tell you about sincere and genuine ways to apologize and win the heart of anyone you may have hurt in consultation with counselor Manjari Saboo (Masters in Applied Psychology and Post-Graduate Diploma in Family Therapy and Child Care Counseling), founder of Maitree Counselling, an initiative dedicated to the emotional well-being of families and children.
9 Sincere Ways To Apologize To Someone You Hurt
Saying hurtful things in a relationship or otherwise can leave behind an emotional scar on the person’s mind. You may never know how much you’ve hurt the person until you take responsibility for your actions. In relationships, couples have their ups and downs.
They argue, fights can get ugly and they end up saying things they shouldn’t have had. However, doing or saying hurtful things can cause irreparable damage if nothing is done about it. You may be filled with regret over your actions but unless you acknowledge being in the wrong and make efforts to do right by the loved one you’ve hurt, even the most genuine feelings of remorse won’t yield any results. That’s why it becomes imperative to earnestly apologize.
Manjari says, “Where there is love, there is demand and anger. Where there is care, there is definitely an apology. Sometimes we tend to take relationships for granted. Intentionally or unintentionally, we hurt the ones who are close to us with words, actions or habits. But if we care for their happiness, we should apologize for our actions.”
If you want to apologize to someone, be sincere. Otherwise, it will mean nothing to the person you’ve hurt and you will end up hurting them even further. So how to apologize to someone you love? We have come up with 9 ways to apologize to your loved ones that are sincere and genuine:
1. Taking responsibility for your actions
“To err is human; to forgive is divine but learning and admitting the wrong is definitely ‘divine in self’. Taking responsibility for our actions makes us strong and courageous. Once you admit to your actions, you clear your inner doubts and conflicts,” says Manjari.
One of the best ways to apologize to someone is to take responsibility for your actions. When the person you’re apologizing to sees that you accept your mistake, they will begin to forgive you too. Don’t try to pass on the blame to someone else. If you’ve committed a mistake, be courageous enough to own it.
There will always be conflicts, so have an understanding of conflict resolution. Remember, forgiveness doesn’t come with an apology, it comes with how sorry you feel for your actions. Don’t apologize because you have to, apologize because you mean to. This doesn’t just apply to romantic partners. Even if you’re wondering how to say sorry to a friend you hurt, know that the process of making amends begins with acknowledging your mistakes and taking responsibility for your actions.
“Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me. Forgiveness is the final act of love.”
2. Some honest gestures
They say that actions are louder than words. A heartfelt gesture is hard to overlook, especially when you put in sincere efforts. Manjari says, “The best part about honesty is you don’t have to fake it. For example, if your partner is a foodie, apologizing with food will do wonders. Cooking them their favorite meal from scratch will definitely earn you some much-needed brownie points. Likewise, giving flowers is a beautiful gesture to make the other person understand how genuinely sorry you are.”
You could give them a handmade card or a bouquet with “I’m sorry” written. Sometimes, standing down on both knees and holding both ears works wonders. Remember not to give up till they forgive you. You can even write a heartfelt apology letter to the person you’ve hurt to make them see how much you regret your actions. This can be a great approach if putting your feelings into words isn’t your strongest suit or you’re trying to apologize to someone who doesn’t want to talk to you
Forgiveness doesn’t come easy. If they continue to ignore you, try texting them. The best way to say sorry in a text is by sending them long and heartfelt messages till they reply. If the ticks turn blue each time you’re sending the texts, it means that it’s working.
If you run out of words, GIFs and memes can be a great antidote to feelings of hurt and pain. Once you make them smile, the ice is broken. From here on, it is easy to apologize to someone you love. All you need is to speak from your heart.
Related Reading: 8 Ways to Reconnect After a Big Fight
3. Of all ways to apologize, trying to fix is the best
An apology message, no matter how genuine and heartfelt, alone cannot fix the damage you may have caused by hurting someone you care about deeply. Let’s say your good friend gifted you something which you didn’t like at all. At that time you pretended to like it and went on bad mouthing about the gift to your other friends and your friend somehow came to know about it.
At this point, you should treat that gift as your most prized possession, tell those friends that you liked the gift because your good friend gave it to you, and apologize to your friend. While this may not even be close to how bad your incident is, the thing is that sometimes we need to fix things to repair the damage caused by us.
Seeking forgiveness by saying ‘sorry’ can work well but remember just an apology isn’t enough. Feelings matter more than materialistic aspects. And actions speak louder than words.
4. Apologize through a handwritten note
In the digital era with everyone glued to their phones, everything feels so impersonal. Sending them a handwritten apology letter for hurting will make them feel that they mean something to you. Your apology too will feel sincere and more personal. Sending a handwritten apology note will make them recognize your effort sooner. They will certainly appreciate it. It is also a good way to say sorry to someone you love.
Make sure to pour your heart out in the note and not leave any detail. This could be your last chance at winning them back. Anita, who has been happily married for over two decades, swears by this approach.
“Whenever we have a fight or argument and I’m at fault, I quietly slip a detailed, heartfelt apology note in my husband’s office bag. He does the same when the tables are turned. It started as a one-off after a nasty fight that brought us to the brink of a breakup back when we were dating.”
“When you apologize to someone you hurt deeply in a letter, it allows you to put your thoughts across more earnestly and honestly. Since then, it has become a relationship ritual we both uphold,” she says.
Related Reading: Real life ways to apologise without saying sorry
5. Let them know you realize your mistake
There could be times when the person you’ve hurt doesn’t want to have anything to do with you. Do not let this demotivate you. Instead, focus on figuring out how to apologize to someone you hurt deeply. One way of doing it is to let them know that you feel sorry for your mistake and want to improve yourself for it.
Try to talk to them through their friends and family by telling them how sorry you are. When they see how sorry and distraught you are because of the incident that happened, they will eventually soften up. They will forgive you.
This can work wonders even when you’re trying to apologize to someone you hurt unintentionally. Take the example of Sasha, who lost her longtime boyfriend owing to her compulsive shopping habits. Every time she’d go berserk on a shopping spree, her boyfriend would try to make her see how the habit was not good for financial health. She’d apologize, and then, succumb to temptation. Eventually, it cost her the relationship.
She couldn’t get over him. So, she started keeping a record of all the times she wanted to shop but held herself back. A year later, she mailed the carefully curated spreadsheet to her ex and asked if he’d take her back and give the relationship another chance.
He could see that she had realized her mistake, and they got back together. Making the other person see that you realize your mistake and are willing to make amends is a great way to apologize to someone you hurt a long time ago.
6. Show that you’re working on yourself
“How to apologize to someone you hurt? Put your efforts into your actions to show that you are working on improving the not-so-nice aspects of your personality. To enhance the relationship and show that you are sorry, let your changed behavior be revealed from your attitude, your routine and your habits, and not just your words,” Manjari advises.
If you’re wondering how to say sorry to someone you hurt, know that sometimes what people want isn’t just an apology. They want to see whether you improve yourself or not. This is especially true if you have hurt someone you love or care about repeatedly by doing the very things that were driving a wedge between you in the first place. Imagine an alcoholic hurting his family by ranting away while he is drunk. What the family wants isn’t just an apology. They want him to stop drinking and become sober.
In the same way, show the person you’ve hurt, that you’re willing to improve yourself in order to show how sorry you are. Don’t just do it for the apology, do it because you mean it. Seeing you working towards becoming a better person will make them acknowledge your sincere efforts.
Related Reading: I Had Blind Faith In My Partner But Now I Can’t Trust Him
7. Assure them that you won’t do it again
Sometimes it may take longer for a person to forgive you because they fear that you may hurt them the same way again. This fear and dented trust make it harder for them to forgive you even if they want to. One of the most genuine ways to apologize to someone you hurt a long time ago is to repeatedly reassure your loved one that the mistake won’t happen again.
The person you have hurt may have developed insecurity and trust issues owing to your actions. You need to assure them that you won’t commit the same mistake again. This may take longer but you need to keep trying.
Show them how terrible you feel about the incident and how it changed your perspective. Show them that you’re a changed person. One of the finest apologize to someone you hurt examples in such situations would be when you’re trying to win back the trust and affections of a partner you cheated on.
In such cases, being completely transparent with your partner is the best way to reassure them that they have no reason to fear that you’ll spiral down the same path again. In due course, you will be able to earn their forgiveness.
8. Talk to them
Whether you’re trying to figure out how to say sorry to a friend you hurt or a partner whose trust you broke or a loved one who felt let down by your action, this step in a non-negotiable part of the process. Communication is the key to all healthy relationships and friendships. Even if they don’t want to talk to you, give them some time to cool down and then talk to them. During this conversation, don’t tell them where they went wrong. Apologize first and make them understand your perspective.
Manjari advises, “Communication pulls all the strings of distance. Interacting through words and just clearing the air over any prevailing rifts can put the minds of both parties at ease. However, in doing so, you must steer clear of justifying your actions in any way or make the person you’ve hurt feel responsible for your actions. Try to explain your point of view in a very normal tone, without placing blame, and lend a patient ear when the other person puts forth their perspective.”
If you don’t know how to apologize to someone, sometimes just having an honest and sincere conversation with the person you’ve hurt helps a lot. It feels more personal and you both get a chance to talk about your perspective of the incident. Pick a quiet environment to have this conversation and make sure that there’s no one to interrupt. Keep talking about it till you both reach a solution.
9. Never give up
Many times we lose valuable people in our lives because we get tired of apologizing and eventually give up. Remember that if this person is important to you, you should not give up on them. If you regret hurting someone you love, you won’t give up till this person has forgiven you.
“Once you give up, you may close all channels of communication for good, and then reviving your bond with the person you hurt can become near impossible. You may either have to live with the regret of losing someone important to you or find yourself racking your brains over how to apologize to someone you hurt a long time ago.
“If you want your relationship to last and want to keep it healthy, then letting it go should never be an option. Doing everything in your power to make your relationship happy and restore normalcy should be the goal,” says Manjari.
Showing persistence in your apology will help them cool off faster. Some people remain mad at you even if they’ve mentally forgiven you. This is because they want to see whether you actually mean the apology and will make you work for it till you are able to gain their trust again.
Related Reading: 12 Signs Of Unconditional Love In A Relationship
“I Hurt Someone I Love How Do I Fix It” – We Tell You
When you apologize to someone you’ve hurt, there are instances where they don’t want to listen to anything you have to say. This will demotivate you and may induce self-hate too. How is it even possible to apologize to someone who doesn’t want to talk to you, you may wonder. First and foremost, don’t let this get to you. If your efforts are sincere, they will forgive you.
Though there are many ways to apologize, unless you are sincere in your apologies, it just won’t work. How to say sorry to someone you love? You know it by now. Just be honest in your apology and you can do it through a long text or a handwritten apology letter or maybe a conversation will also help.
It is possible to fix things after you have hurt someone. But if you have been cheating on your partner or doing drugs you have to change your ways, along with apologizing for your actions, to ensure your partner forgives you. You just need to remember, don’t give up.
Another thing to remember is to not make any fake promises because that will make your relationship fake. Making fake promises will only give them false hopes and expectations which will hurt them, even more, when you’re unable to live up to them. Make sure not to commit the same mistake again, because trust once lost could be lost forever.