If you hurt your friend's feelings, you may not know how to express your regret for your mistake. Perhaps there was a misunderstanding in your relationship, or you said something careless. Whatever happened, you most likely want to make things right and mend your relationship as quickly as possible. There are several creative ways in which you can show your friend you are sorry and make amends.
Accept complete responsibility. Make the difficult decision to put your friendship over your pride by accepting culpability. Resist using the word "but" after your apology. For example, you should not tell your friend "I'm sorry, but you shouldn't have been so difficult to get along with." Your apology must make it clear that you are accepting total responsibility in order to be effective, according Beverly Engel for the Family Business Center at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Demonstrate understanding. By showing your friend you recognize the impact of your mistake, you acknowledge the violation of a moral norm, according to psychiatrist Aaron Lazare in the "Psychology Today" article "Go Ahead, Say You're Sorry." You should be as specific as you can to make your apology even more meaningful. For example, saying "I understand that I violated your trust by lying to you" is superior to "I understand that I messed up."
Offer to remedy the situation. If there is anything you can do to make your friend feel better, offer to do it. It may be something small or large, depending on the situation. If you borrowed your comrade's car and got into an accident as a result of careless driving, offer to pay for the repairs, even if it takes you some time. Maybe the damage you did was emotional, and you can begin to make amends by purchasing a gift card to your friend's favorite store. Rely on your own judgment of what would make your friend happiest.
Be patient. While you may love for your friend to accept your apology and immediately be on good terms with you again, fixing your relationship may take a while. Although you may still feel bad about the mistake after offering your apology, you can feel good about the fact that you said you were sorry, according to TeensHealth.org. While you are not able to control your friend's response, you can control your own, and you can feel proud of yourself for taking the right action.
- Apology: The Importance and Power of Saying "I'm sorry"; Sheila Quinn Simpson
- Dynamic Graphics Group/Dynamic Graphics Group/Getty Images