Knowing how to apologize
can save relationships

The book “Five Languages of Apology’ (Chapman & Thomas, 2006) offers five steps to move toward healing relationship injuries. Chapman suggests that people have preferred ways of receiving apology messages, and that knowing which language to use influences whether the apology will be successful. It can be helpful to simply use all five languages in each apology.
We need to hear : “I’m sorry”, “I was wrong”, “What can I do to make it right?” “I won’t do it again” “Please forgive me”

Here are the five languages of apology.

  1. Express Regret
    “I’m sorry” expresses regret. That is, when I say “I’m sorry”, I am recognizing that I have contributed to an injury to a person or relationship.
  2. Accepting Responsibility
    “I was wrong” or “I made a mistake” is recognition of our own error.
  3. Restitution
    “What can I do to make it right?” is about restitution – in some ways making up for or paying for the damage done
  4. Commitment To Change
    “I’ll try not to do that again” is genuine repentance – a commitment to grow, to learn, to change, and if possible, not to make the same mistake. Sometimes this needs to be “I will not do that again”.
  5. Requesting Forgiveness
    “Will you please forgive me?” is a request that puts the situation into the other person’s hands, and recognizes their feelings and their part in the process of healing.
    For tips on how apology processes can heal relationships, please contact me, Jenny, to meet in a session.
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