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11 Effective Ways to Apologize and Win Arguments

A good and effective apology needs genuine empathy, regret, and willingness to learn from previous mistakes. 

Acknowledging your wrong deeds and acting as an apologist will help get rid of guilt and esteem-robbing self-reproach. 

Every human has been on the receiving end of an apology, in one way or the other, and yes, admitting wrongdoing is not always easy, but finding effective ways to do can win the argument. 

Keep reading to learn the eleven ways to apologize effectively and win an argument.

1. Do not be defensive

Take responsibility by accepting your wrongdoings without excusing your behaviors or actions. Empathize with the person you’re apologizing to and let them understand that you’re remorseful for making them feel bad.

Effective apologies have to involve empathy for the person you hurt. Recognize the difference between explanation and justification to avoid defending your actions. 

An instance of accepting responsibility while apologizing “I shouldn’t have used an offensive comment for your shoes, I was curious about your size, but that’s no excuse for making a demeaning comment. 

I didn’t consider how that remark might make you feel, and I am sorry for hurting and inconveniencing you. 

Note that acknowledgment of a mistake can go a long way in helping you portray remorse. 

Do not be defensive by stating any reason for taking action because it will imply that the other person is at fault.

2. Apologize with regards to your offense

There is a need to understand why you are apologizing and the offensive action. 

When you have a clear picture of why you want to apologize, you leverage it to say “I am sorry” or “I apologize” for that particular thing. It may be challenging to express a sincere apology if an atom of regret is not present. 

What’s more, it’s crucial to spell out what you have done before saying you are sorry for it. 

Again, it shows the other party that you clearly understand what you did wrong, and it will help you not to repeat that. 

An example of this is “I remember promising to bring those books for you; I’m so sorry I forgot it. Do you still need it? Instead of saying, “what is the problem this time? Aright, I am sorry for whatever it is.”

3. Show remorse for that mistake.

Showing remorse is an effective way of tendering an apology because it makes the other party know that hurting them makes you feel bad. 

While expressing remorse, use sincere and authentic words in your statement. Let there be candidness in your remorseful words to portray honesty to the person you’re apologizing to.

Do not apologize because you want to end whatever you have the other party or have ulterior motives.  

An expression of regret that adds to the sincerity of an apology is, “I’m sorry for scolding you yesterday at the party; I still regret that very act up till this moment.

Expressing remorse shows you are aware of how your actions have impacted the other person and sincerely apologize not to repeat such.

4. Make amendments

Always figure out the means to amend the situation, as a good apology comes with a willingness to act. 

An effective apology has to do with repairing the situation at hand and doing anything possible to make things better. 

Some reparative behavior and what to say when you make amends includes the following; “How can I replace it?”, If you broke trust: “Is there anything I can do right now to help build your trust?” 

Empty promises, token gestures will do a lot, and more so, endeavor to be proportionate in what you offer. 

5. Accept and acknowledge their feelings

In friendship, apologies can heal damages, but apologizing when the other is still fussy without acknowledging their feelings can cause more damage.

Understand, validate, and show acceptance for the feelings of that person you have offended. Do not dismiss the feelings of the person you’re apologizing to; value their feelings instead.

How do you achieve this? While the person expressing how your attitude hurt them, say a word or use body language to make them feel that you are getting what they’re saying.

It’s necessary to stop other things that may distract you from hearing every word from their mouth. Reply with comments like ‘oh okay, uh uh’ or nod your head in a way that implies you shouldn’t have done what you did.

6. Reaffirm boundaries

Healthy boundaries are vital in any friendship, so it’s crucial to apologize is to reaffirm boundaries. 

Naturally, you cross boundaries when you conflict with someone; hence, an apology helps affirm the preferred future behavior. 

In a relationship, you are having issues agreeing to certain boundaries; you can work together to set expectations on how you should treat each other.

7. Own up to your part

Owning up to your part means you regret your actions or words that hurt them.

Make statements that let the person know that you truly regret your actions that hurt their feelings. You can achieve this by telling the person that you will not do what you did if you can travel backward into the past.

Not owning up to mistakes and apologizing well can expand the breach between both parties or cause more damage than the initial hurt.

8. Monitor your tone of voice

Most times, it’s hard to keep a handle on your emotion in a highly emotional situation. 

Monitoring of the tone of voice is vital when apologizing to the person you must have hurt. 

The tone of voice must be genuine and sincere because “am sorry” can come across as angry, mocking, sarcastic, bitter, and even defensive.

9. Don’t use phrases that worsen the conflict

There are specific phrases you should not use when tendering an effective apology. Those words can worsen the conflict and may not be what the person wants to hear from you.

Do not use comments like “your points don’t make sense,” “it’s not a big deal,” “I’m sorry if I hurt you,” or “I can make this better for you.”

The first two phrases are offensive, while the latter sounds more like comfort than understanding the person’s feelings to make things better.

Instead, apply the no.5 tips above. Use the words there and avoid these phrases and their likes. 

10. Let them know your plan to make it right

Whether you are apologizing via a letter or verbally, tell them that you plan to make the situation right.

On your part, do everything within your reach to see that you make everything right in order not to seem deceptive.

Similarly, you can let the person you are tendering an apology to state their preferred outcome. 

Ensure that the result is what heals the wound from the past mistakes and clears the feelings completely.

11. Ask them to forgive you

Not only that, an effective apology communicates genuine empathy, remorse, and regret. 

It should be able to overcome negative emotions like vengeance or resentment.

Asking them to forgive you means that you have nothing against the person, which implies no vengeance, no resettlement, or emotions that can bring back reasons to blame or be angry with the person.


A practical and wholehearted apology helps to re-establish trust, reaffirm boundaries, heal the heart and ease the pain and tension of the aftermath. 

Of course, tendering a proper apology is not easy, but it helps restore relationships and offers a conviction that the offender will not repeat such an act.

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