Apologizing is something that we’re taught to do as children when we hurt someone’s feelings or grab a toy from them in the sandbox, but a lot of adults seem to lose that skill over time.
Being able to say you’re sorry and show someone that you mean it comes down to how much you care about that person. Are you willing to set aside your feelings to show someone else you know you made a mistake and that you want to make it better? Here’s how.
Step One Is Actually Apologizing
Before you do anything else, you need to make sure that you’ve actually apologized. You didn’t give a half-hearted “sorry” or simply wait for them to calm down so you could move on. Have you actually said the words?
Send Them Their Favorite Meal
The key to this one is don’t show up along with the meal. Let them know you’re thinking about them and that you care about them by giving them dinner, with no expectation that they also have to spend time with you if they’re not ready.
Gift Them A Pet For The Day
You should never give someone a puppy or a kitten before they’re ready for it, but you can give them a pet for the day. Borrow one of your friend’s dogs for the day and bring it to their house to play with for a few hours. You can’t be that angry while playing with a puppy, right?
Don’t Blame Them For Your Bad Behavior
An apology only needs to consist of two words: I’m sorry. It’s not “I’m sorry that you’re upset,” or “I’m sorry, but I was reacting to you doing X, Y, and Z.” You have to take responsibility for your role and not blame someone else for you behaving a certain way.
Fill A Gift Box With Their Favorite Candy
Who doesn’t want to receive a box of candy, maybe even with a note signed from anonymous? To really step up the gesture, pick a candy like Jolly Ranchers or Skittles and sort them so that you’re only giving them their favorite flavor.
Plan A Surprise Picnic Or Lunch At A Scenic Destination
It’s hard to be upset with someone when you’re sitting in a beautiful location. Simply picking a nice lunch spot isn’t going to mean you’re absolved of your crimes, but showing someone you want to spend time with only them and you’re willing to put in the effort to plan something is a good start.
Rewrite The Lyrics To A Popular Song
If you’re particularly talented with a guitar or you’ve been studying music theory, then you can write an entirely original song, but for the rest of us, you can settle for stealing someone else’s melody and rewriting the lyrics.
Write It Out. By Hand.
Don’t send a text, a DM, a Snapchat, or an email. Find yourself a piece of paper and a pen, and actually write out your apology or how you’re feeling. Spelling and grammar will be marked.
Send Them A Handmade Card
We’re not suggesting that gluing some macaroni to a piece of construction paper is going to solve all your problems like it did for Mother’s Day when you were 7. Make them a card, and draw a picture, or write a message inside of it. You could even take the snail mail route if you’re willing to wait a few days.
Say Sorry In A Way That Matches Their Love Language
Often, when people apologize, they say sorry in a way that would work if someone were apologizing to them, but this isn’t about you. Show them you’re sorry in a way that you know they’ll appreciate the most.
Don’t Expect To Be Forgiven Immediately
Just because you apologize, it does not mean that someone is obligated to immediately forgive you. Say what you need to say, and then give them time to process that.
Make A Playlist Of Their Favorite Songs
Give them something to listen to when they’re in the car driving or sitting in their room contemplating whether or not they should forgive you. Bonus points if you fill it with music that you always tell them is trash but you know they love.
Ask What You Can Do To Make It Up To Them…And Then Do It
It’s not about just asking what you can do to make it up to them, you have to be able to follow through and actually make the change. Listen to what they’re telling you and then do it.
Create A Photo Collage For Them
Collect all the photos you have of the two of you or of them and turn it into a collage for them to look at and remember how much they love you. It could be a phone background or something that takes up their entire bedroom wall—that’s up to you.
Don’t Think Of Apologizing As A Winning Or Losing Situation
When it comes to relationships, it shouldn’t be about who is winning or losing. Apologizing for something you did wrong doesn’t mean that you’re losing a fight, it means you’re both winning, if anything.
Come Up With A Creative List Of Ways To Apologize To Them
Come up with the most ridiculous or creative ways you could apologize to them, and then give them the list so they can hold you accountable. If #7 on the list says you’re going to serenade them in public, they’ll be waiting for you to do that.
Accept The Blame For What You Did
It’s not a legitimate apology unless you actually accept the blame for whatever it is you did to make the other person upset. You have to own up to your mistake.
Only Say You’re Sorry If You Mean It
Don’t apologize simply because you feel like you’re supposed to or it cheapens the apology. If you’re not sorry about what you did or said, don’t waste their time by apologizing and diminishing the value of the act of saying you’re sorry.
Make Them A Heartfelt Apology Gift Rather Than Buying One
It doesn’t matter if you have no artistic talents whatsoever, it really is the thought that counts for something like this. You could decide to knit them something, spend 50 hours creating the world’s worst sweater, and even though they’re never going to wear it, they’ll see you’re committed.
Spend More Time Doing Things They Love
Show them that you care about their feelings and care about them in general by agreeing to do more things that they love, regardless of if you like them or not.