Compiled by Audrey Lee

An insincere apology is like adding salt to an open wound. Never give an excuse when offering an apology otherwise the relationship will sour even more. If it cannot be done whole-heartedly, it would be better not to apologise at all.

An example of an excuse would be: "I'm sorry I'm late. There was too much work to do." This really means that the other person is less important than your work, and that her time spent waiting anxiously is of little consequence. The better way would be to call in advance the moment you know you will be late for an appointment.

Another example would be: " I'm sorry you feel offended." This really is saying that it is the other person's fault for being hypersensitive. It in effect shifts the blame rather than accepting the responsibility of the fault.

The best way to say "I'm sorry"

Be sincere and specific about the offence. State clearly what was done that was disrespectful or inconsiderate. Then show gratitude and appreciation for the other person's sacrifice - their time, effort, caring. Appreciation can be done by demonstrating that you spared some time to carefully select a gift that she values. Gift giving is a powerful language of love ( read the excellent book on The 5 Languages of Love by Dr Gary Chapman)

Apologising is also therapeutic for your own soul. It allows you to forgive yourself for your own shortcomings. Sincere apologies build character and show that a person has the strength to admit mistakes, learn from these mistakes and progress on. Keeping a baggage of wrongs only weighs ourselves down, and robs us of the joys of laughter that comes from purity. Look at the way children laugh uninhibitedly and you will understand.

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