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The Top 10 Ways To Apologize
To Someone You Have Hurt or Offended
We all have times in our lives when we have said or done
something we know has hurt or offended either a business
aquaintance, personal friend, "significant
other" or even a stranger. There are many ways to
apologize. The following run the gamut, and can prove
useful, depending on the person, the situation, and how
both of you feel about what you did or said.
1. "Reach Out And Touch Someone"
The telephone, while many times not the most personal or
direct way of apologizing, sometimes is the best option.
If you are in a different city, or if you feel the hurt
or offense resulting from what you did or said is not
great, a sincere telephone apology is acceptable and
It is also one way to apologize if you feel there is the
slightest chance of any violence or "abusive"
retorts to your attempt at apologizing. Sometimes people
are not willing, wanting nor ready to hear an apology. In
those cases, some "distance" is often prudent
2. The Apologetic Letter
Writing a letter...a love letter, a friendship letter, or
a letter expressing apologetic feelings, can often be as
powerful and have as great an impact as saying something
to someone in person. A letter is especially appropriate
and best if you are very nervous, have difficulty facing
the person, or do not live near them.
It is wise to compose your letter, do a couple of rereads
so the "language" and wording is exactly what
you want to convey, then let it sit overnight. The next
day, reread the letter, and see if it still says what you
want, or if it needs a final drafting. A fresh mind and a
fresh emotional state often can make what we say and the
way we SAY it very different!
Always remember: Once you have written something on paper
and signed your name to it, there is a chance it will be
around a LONG time. Make sure you can handle the
consequences should it be read by others, or by family
members in years to come.
3. The E-Mail/Voicemail Method
Also known as the more "impersonal" method by
many. Modern technology has unfortunately helped us in
many ways and hindered our communication skills in
others. If you cannot reach the person directly by phone
or mail, or if for some reason you simply do not want to
do it that way, this is an alternative.
As with a letter, email and taped messages can come back
to "bite you" if the person on the receiving
end keeps them and decides to let others in on their
content. If you are truly sincere in your tone and words,
you have nothing to fear or worry about. If you do it by
voicemail, it is best to WRITE OUT on paper what you want
to say, and keep it to 30 seconds, or a minute.
Many voice mails can go much longer, but some have 30-60
second maximums. You can always call right back and
record the rest of your message, but this is where being
succinct and friendly in tone is of great importance if
you want your message to be well taken.
4. Sending A Card And/Or Gift
The old "flowers, card, candy, fruitcake, necklace,
or other material token of your apology" approach.
Cards can be very nice. There are some VERY nice modern
cards now for all occassions...some have photos or a
verse on the front, and are blank inside for your HAND
WRITTEN personalized note (strongly suggested in all but
The addition of a gift is optional and situational. If it
is a "significant other"/loved one, it is a
nice added touch, but it must be something you KNOW they
like! No cheap candy or $5 teddy bear! True, it is the
thought that counts, but when it is a loved one involved,
think abit bigger than usual, and make it special.
If it is a business associate or friend, a gift is really
optional and probably overkill. Taking them to dinner or
lunch would be a better idea if possible.
5. The Face-To-Face, In-Person Apology.
This is the killer, "flop sweat," "mind is
willing but the flesh is weak" real McCoy type of
"tete a tete" apology that many do not like
because they must see the other person's expressions,
show theirs, and probably hear a verbal reply. Well...
.sometimes it is humbling, as well as a great character
builder to just face the music (or in this case, the
person) and do what you feel in your heart and mind and
soul needs to be done.
You will be respected by the person you are addressing as
well as by yourself more if you are able and willing to
make your apology in this manner. Smiles, laughter, hugs,
handshakes, and other displays of appreciation and
affection are added benfits for both parties that are all
possible when apologizing this way!
6. Apologizing Through An "Intermediary."
A.K.A. "The Cyrano de Bergerac" or "Miles
Standish" method. This is usually not recommended,
as most people would see it as being highly impersonal to
have an apology delivered to them via a "proxy or
Sometimes in RARE instances if you feel it is vital to
apologize, yet cannot physically or emotionally do it any
other way, this is better than nothing. Don't expect it
to have nearly the positive impact as any of the other
methods mentioned here however.
7. By "Righting" The Wrong If Possible.
Burn a coffee table with a misplaced stogie? Lose a tool
or other borrowed item from a friend or neighbor but you
are too embarrassed to fess up? Two things are necesary
First you accept and admit full responsibility for the
damages done. Secondly, you offer to either buy the
person a replacement, or give them whatever the
replacement value of the damaged or lost or broken item
Repairing or replacing hurt feelings or unkind words is
not as easy, and you can also ask if there is anything
you can do to "make it up" to the person.
Sometimes, an apology in combination with an act or deed
is a good way to "mend fences."
8. By "Righting" The Wrong If Possible.
This takes more guts than most of the other ways to
Sometimes, depending on what you did and what you are
apologizing for, you might find it appropriate to use a
public forum or medium such as a newspaper, billboard,
small dinner gathering or party, etc., where you make
your apology not only to the person you harmed, but also
to your work colleagues, friends, and even total
It is more dramatic, and it also works with the right
situation, and gives you some good experience in public
exposure or public speaking. Done with pinache, it is a
tough act to follow.
9. By Actions/Deeds Alone.
Doing a real kindness for the person to whom you wish to
note and accept your apology is another technique.
This could range from giving contact names and numbers to
a business associate with whom you have somehow been less
than fair, to showing up with flowers, balloons, a new
car, a clown suit, or whatever is appropriate and you
feel will get the point across, at the person's place of
work or at their residence.
Please keep it within reason so you do not add public
embarrassment to the original offense! Think it over, and
use common sense in what you do. Sometimes, actions can
speak louder than words. Also saying you are sorry at
some point is strongly advised as well!
10. The Combination Approach For Special People Or
If you feel you have done something egregiously awful to
a close friend or relative or business associate,
sometimes a combination of verbal, written and
actions/gifts is not too much. Use your judgment. Again,
well spoken sincere words mean the most to most people.
For more impact and to make sure your feelings and desire
to make amends are truly appreciated and felt, this
"shotgun" approach with various displays of
remorse and humility, is either going to work or you have
simply hurt the person too deeply that they are not
willing nor perhaps ready to accept even a grandiose show
of how sorry you are.
If this is the case, leave things alone for awhile.
Sometimes people need time to forgive. Some people
unfortunately NEVER forgive us, no matter what we say or
do. If that is your situation, tell yourself you did your
best, "let it go," and get on with life. You
took full responsibility and did what you could to make
things right. That is all one can *reasonably* expect.
The Top 10 Easy Ways
To Reduce Your Stress Level Daily
When You Only Have 10 Minutes!
Too much stress can KILL or cause disease or emotional
ills. This list will tell you what you can do if you only
have 10 minutes to reduce your stress and be more
productive and more healthy. It is geared for office
and/or at home
1. At The Office - Find Some Peace & Quiet!
Go to a quiet area (a bathroom works, as does a basement
or storage/lounge area that is infrequently used). Sit
quietly (in a stall works!) and think of your favorite
movie, TV show, person, or travel place. Close your eyes
if alone. Just "shifting" to a very positive
thought-image for ten minutes can relax you profoundly.
2. At Home - Take Your Own Quiet "Timeout."
Find the most quiet comfortable area and lie down or
recline. Close your eyes and listen to relaxing music
& think only of things you LOVE to do, see, or
experience. Allow the phone to ring or *take it off the
hook!* Serious calls will always be returned, or you may
choose to have voicemail or your answering machine turned
on. Savor the moments and the images. Allow your muscles
to relax and your eyes to rest.
3. At Home, After A Stressful Day At Work.
Take a very warm shower or bath and let the water relax
your muscles. Scent the bath water if you wish. If
possible, have some relaxing music in the room. Dim the
lights. Light a scented candle if you wish. Let the
stress dissolve into the water and be washed away by it.
Imagine you are a part of the water itself. Just allow
your mind & body to go "limp."
4. Meditate or Pray.
Learning how to calm the mind and body through meditation
or self-relaxation or prayer is very helpful. Once
learned, it can be used virtually anywhere and at any
time. If you need instruction, buy a book or tape at your
local bookstore on meditation, self-relaxation, etc. Keep
a small book of positive affirmations of prayers near you
(also sold in all major bookstores) to look at, repeat
silently, or upon which to reflect.
5. Exercise (Within Reason!)
Okay, the nasty "E" word! Seriously, 10 minutes
of simple walking briskly, riding a stationary bike,
Yoga, or other aerobic activity will help rid your body
of alot of accumulated adrenaline-like "stress
related" chemicals. You will find yourself both more
relaxed and more alert after this seemingly moderate
amount of activity.
6. "Hit The Road!"
If possible, take a 10-minute spin in your car in as
quiet and uncongested a neighborhood as possible. If the
weather is good, roll down the window and breathe in the
fresh air, even if it is a bit cool out! Relax to the
radio music, look at the landscape, the people walking,
and even the clouds in the sky (keep your eyes on the
road of course!). If you feel like it, sing along with
the music! It's *your* 10 minutes!
7. Take A "Chill Out" Break; Simple, And It
Go to the bathroom at your home, office, or wherever you
wish to take this time out. Run cold water and get a wash
cloth or towels and soak them in it. Apply the cool
compress to your eyes, forehead, face, and neck areas.
Hold the cloth in each area several seconds, eyes closed.
If you can sit down, all the better. Reapply several
times. Concentrate on the soothing effects and don't
think of business or what time it is. You'll emerge more
relaxed and refreshed than you might imagine!
8. Call Someone Just To Chat.
Call a parent, a spouse, a friend. Make sure when you
call they have 10 minutes to talk, and tell them you are
calling to *relax* and take your mind off your day. If
they are not in a positive mood, say goodbye as soon as
you can, and try someone else.
The point is, the chat needs to be with someone who is
happy to hear from you, who will not "dump"
THEIR stress on you, and who you really like. Make sure
to annouce up front that it is a "de-stress"
call for you, but do not "dump" on *them*
either. Tell jokes, talk about anything that is fun,
relaxing, or interesting.
9. Get A Healthy Snack And Eat It ALONE.
Stress depletes us of vitamins, minerals, blood sugar and
calories. A healthy snack like a piece of fruit, a
granola bar, a glass of juice or skim milk can revive us.
If eaten or drunk slowly in a quiet atmosphere (as quiet
as you can find) it can recharge our emotional and
Avoid anything with caffeine or nicotine or alcohol in
it! The "sense" of relaxation those chemicals
gives is either purely psychological, or temporary, and
we will end up more tense later, creating *more* stress
for us rather than less.
10. At Your Home Or Work Computer.
If you are not "networked" on your computer,
and/or you have your own PC, take 10 minutes out to play
a game of pinball, Solitaire, Textris (all or some come
with Windows95) or any other game which came preloaded if
your computer is fairly new, or which you can add for
Make sure the games are quiet, nonviolent and don't last
an hour. Do NOT worry about winning or even finishing the
game if it runs over your time frame. The point is to
distract and have fun. Just by *playing* you are