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How to Say I'm Sorry and Mean It
by Joe Tracy, Publisher of Online Dating Magazine


We all do things in life that we are sorry about. For some it is easy to apologize and for others it is extremely difficult. It's hard to admit when you're wrong. Yet learning to do so will make you a much more desirable person.

So you've done something wrong and have upset your partner as a result. You know you were wrong and that you owe your partner an apology. By learning the importance of the right apology, you'll be able to better diffuse a situation and become a better person in the process.

The Three Key Elements of a True Apology

There are three vitally important aspects to an apology that will determine how the apology is received. So when you apologize, be sure to:

1) Be Sincere.
The one thing that measures how sorry you truly are more than the words you speak is sincerity. An insincere apology can actually offend, while a sincere apology holds a lot of power to right a wrong. A sincere apology means that your apology is genuine, true, and pure. So before you apologize, make sure you understand how you hurt your partner and are truly sorry. This will come through when you make your apology.

To improve sincerity, don't apologize too much or too soon. Step away from the conflict. Think about it. Then return to your partner with an apology that you mean. You'll usually get one in return.

2) Take Responsibility for Your Actions.
An apology is true and more sincere when you state it without making excuses. Take full responsibility for your actions. "It was my fault. I take full responsibility and I'm sincerely sorry." When you add excuses to your apology ("I'm sorry. It's just been a really hard day and I'm cranky") then you are excusing the action and it removes the sincerity of the gesture.

3) Provide a Sincere Promise that You'll Try to do Better.
"I messed up and I'm sorry. I will strive to make sure it never happens again. I love you too much." When you apologize for something stupid you did, make a sincere promise that you'll try to do better then stick to that promise. One way you grow to become a better person is by improving your weak areas.

Love Languages
One of the most popular relationship books on the market is called The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. The book identifies five love languages (quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch) and states that each of us have a primary love language that makes us feel more loved. For example, some women feel more loved when they get flowers or jewelry (gifts) while others feel more loved when you touch them and hug them (physical touch). Some women feel more loved when you spend time with them (quality time) and others when you praise them (words of affirmation).

It's important to know your partner's love language so that when you apologize, you can factor in their love language. For example, let's say your partner is a female whose primary love language is gifts. When you apologize, you need to bring flowers or a card to stronger reaffirm your apology. However, if her love language is touch, you softly touch her when you apologize, hug her, and cuddle with her. You need to be speaking her language when you say "I'm Sorry".

Saying I'm Sorry Affects Your Partner's Health
Taking the time to apologize dramatically reduces the tension in a situation. In fact, an August 2002 Psychology Today article titled "I'm Sorry" states:

"An apology is crucial to our mental and even physical health. Recent research shows that receiving an apology has a noticeable, positive physical effect on the body. An apology actually affects the bodily functions of the person receiving it -- blood pressure decreases, heart rate slows and breathing becomes steadier."

People Respect Someone Who Can Apologize

You've probably heard the saying, "it takes a big man to admit he was wrong." This is more true than you and I will ever know. People respect someone who can say "I'm sorry". And what's more is that it is easier to forgive someone who apologizes. A person who never apologizes is often viewed as stubborn, hard-headed, insincere, and non-caring. Is that how you want to be viewed?

So next time you need to apologize, go out of your way to do it right, mean it, and correct the problem that led to you needing to apologize in the first place. You'll be a much better person because of it.

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