Whatever the case may be, you're eventually going to apologize to to the other person's hurt feelings, the more sincere your apology will.
Let me start this letter by saying I never, ever, ever meant to hurt your feelings. It's the last thing I would ever want to do.
If you don't believe anything else, please know that. Please know that I am sorry beyond any of the words I put to paper.
Hurting someone you love and knowing that you are the one that caused the pain is more than I can bare. You are my best friend, my girlfriend, and the light of my life.
Whenever we were apart and I used to think about you, a smile would come to my face.
Whenever I was nervous or anxious, I would think about you, smile, and calm down immediately.
You were and are my 'happy place'. But now when I think of you, all I see is the hurt in your face. And, the smile that used to come so naturally and automatically to me, is now replaced with a frown.
I never realized the implications of my behavior and words and the effect they would have on you. I've always been casual with words, never giving a thought to how they could be weaponized, how piercing they could be, and how hurtful they are.
I never viewed the lies I told as lying. Instead, I thought of them as exaggerations,saying things to prevent hurting someone's feelings, that none of it really mattered.
I never thought about how the snide remarks I make sometimes are passive aggressive behavior.
I never saw the abuse in my words. The abuse and disrespect I showed you by lying to you.
I now know that I've been doing this all my life and it's time for me to take responsibility for my actions and words. It's time for me to grow up. It's time for me to honor my life, family, friends and the lives of everyone around me.
I have to admit that these are pretty big revelations to me. This is a life changing moment.
What it took to get me here was that fleeting moment when I saw the deep, honest, and profound hurt in your eyes.
I looked into your eyes and saw that I hurt your soul.
It crushed me. The honesty of it all shocked me. The pureness of the moment took my breath away and all of my words and actions towards you came rushing through my mind.
You've told me before how I've hurt your feelings, I'd listen, apologize and we would move on. But I never really understood what it meant. I viewed it as casually as my words. I understood it in my mind but not emotionally.
Now I do.
Your eyes made it clear to me. I have no excuses, only shame for hurting you.
So here I stand in front of you, asking for your forgiveness and promising you that the lies and hurtful behavior is over. I promise you that it will never happen again.
I hope you'll continue to have faith in me and let me prove myself to you so that one day in the future when I think of you, that smile returns to my face.
Many people have complicated feelings about apologies, and not all of our thoughts and feelings about apologies line up. Some of us were.
Why are apologies so difficult? Saying you are sorry can be one of the most difficult things you do. People have a hard time with admitting they made a mistake, and it can be tough to put your ego aside and put the focus on how your friend feels.
But we all make mistakes, so if you are friends with someone long enough, you'll probably have an occasion where you need to apologize. Perhaps you had a big blow up and realized later you reacted poorly. Or maybe you just didn't show support when you needed to. Whatever the reason, apologizing can help you both heal and move on from the situation. Apologizing the right way, however, may take a little practice.
Apologies benefit friendships in a variety of ways. First, you acknowledge that you did something wrong, which is extremely powerful when it comes to friendship. With an apology, you take responsibility for your actions, which allows your friend to forgive you. Without an apology, it can be difficult to move forward and make up after an argument.
Second, an apology gives you credibility as a friend. Sometimes our pals forgive us easily for the minor things we do wrong, but that doesn't mean you still shouldn't apologize. If you're the type of person who immediately takes responsibility for what you did wrong, it shows that you have integrity and are a down-to-earth individual, which will gain you respect from friends and acquaintances.
Note that the art of apologizing involves taking responsibility. Never apologize as a way to "shut someone up" when they are saying you hurt their feelings and you don't think you did. If you really believe you did nothing wrong, you should talk things through with your friend until you see why they are hurt or how you came across. You'll really need to self-reflect so you can see things from your friend's point of view.
The way you apologize is going to be slightly different depending on what the offense was, where it was done, and who you are apologizing to. In general, a good apology should consist of:
The amount of time it takes your friend to forgive will depend on what happened, of course, but ideally, if you sincerely apologize, your pal should be able to put it behind you fairly quickly. Some offenses, however, take longer to get over. Respect that and give your friend time. You don't need to beat yourself up over it after you apologize because by acknowledging what you did you are also (perhaps silently) vowing to change. The point of apologizing for our goof ups is to help us grow as friends and do better the next time.
I am sorry is a phrase that is used to express regret or remorse for actions. I am sorry is also used when you wish to express sympathy for someone who has experienced a loss or hardship.
1. I am sorry to hear about your grandmother's passing-she was a good lady.
2. I am sorry that I hurt your feelings when I said I wouldn't come to your party.
3. I am sorry that I broke your window with my baseball.
4. I cannot tell you how sorry I am that your daughter is sick.
I apologize is a way to formally admit that you did something wrong, whether you feel "sorry" about it or not. So while you might formally admit that what you did was wrong, you might not actually feel remorse for your actions. Notice how different these sentences sound.
1. I apologize for hurting your feelings when I said I wouldn't come to your party.
2. I apologize for breaking your window with my baseball.
Here are some additional examples with I apologize:
3. I apologize for leaving you off of the original guest list.
4. If you think I was being rude, I apologize.
As you can see, these phrases do mean very similar things, and they are often used interchangeably. Yet, there is a different connotation to the phrases. I am sorry connotes a feeling of remorse, while I apologize does not.
It can be difficult to admit when you make a mistake or hurt your your apologies become a tool to manage them and their feelings due to.
These past few weeks, we have seen what feels like an unusually high number of people faced with accusations of wrongdoing, sexual misconduct and unethical behavior. For most of them, the first response is one of denial and disputation. But as evidence and corroboration emerge, that strategy becomes harder to maintain.
That's when most people turn to a public apology--a statement expressing remorse over their actions and acknowledging that they've been hurtful to others.
It's not likely that you'll ever need to respond to such serious and public allegations, but all of us do things we regret and--intentionally or not--act to hurt others. We all have occasion to apologize and take responsibility for things we've said and done.
But a ham-fisted, insincere apology can actually create more harm. Here are some important distinctions to consider the next time you find yourself needing to make an apology:
One of the worst things you can do blame someone else for your own misconduct, misbehavior, wrongdoing or unprofessionalism--especially if the person you blame is someone you victimized to begin with,
When you try to defend your behavior by claiming it was justified, saying that different standards applied in this particular situation, or making any other excuse, you're only making yourself look worse.
When you downplay your hurtful actions, you send a message that the effects of your behavior on others aren't important to you. It's disrespectful not only to the people you've harmed but to everyone around you, and it makes you appear manipulative.
When giving an apology, many people are tempted to explain their actions. Even if it's well intended, this approach is likely to come off sounding like an excuse and will only weaken your apology. There may be a time to provide more background that helps explain what happened, but that time probably isn't now.
Be the first to admit that you did something wrong; don't deny or rebut. When you apologize, you're acknowledging that you engaged in unacceptable behavior. It's an act that helps you rebuild trust and restore relationships. Depending on the circumstances, it can also be the springboard to a conversation about acceptable standards.
When you accept full responsibility for the situation, you restore dignity to the person you hurt. This can begin the healing process and shut down any victim-blaming (by others or by the victim themselves). For example: "I know I hurt your feelings yesterday when I snapped at you. I'm sure it embarrassed you, especially since everyone else on the team was there. I was wrong to treat you like that and I apologize."
Acknowledging your wrongdoing is a good beginning, but the heart of an apology is expressing the thoughts I'm sorry and I hope you can forgive me. A sincere apology is itself a demonstration that you're taking responsibility for your actions. This can strengthen your self-confidence, self-respect and reputation. You're likely to feel a sense of relief when you come clean about your actions, and it's one of the best ways to restore your character.
While it's important to ask for forgiveness, keep in mind that the other person may not be ready. Give them time and don't try to rush them through the process. In the meantime, Think carefully about this step and what you can do that may be helpful. Token gestures or empty promises will do more harm than good. Similarly, don't go overboard out of guilt. Work to find an appropriate way to make amends.
Apologizing the right way, when you have hurt someone unnecessarily, by mistake or on purpose, is the first step in the path toward reconciliation--between the other person and you, or, if nothing else, between you and your conscience.
If you don't apologize at all or if you can't be bothered to apologize the right way, you can do lasting damage to your relationships, your reputation, your career opportunities, and your effectiveness. Most important, it lowers the respect in which others hold you and, likely, in which you hold yourself.
We all make mistakes and we all hurt others. When it happens, a sincere and well-thought-out apology is always the best first step in recovering your integrity.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
I deeply regret hurting your feelings and making you second guess our relationship. Please believe me when I say that I am truly sorry for.