A Science-Backed Strategy for Making an Effective Apology

Learn how to make a meaningful apology.

how to make an effective apology

Verywell / Julie Bang

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Every Friday on The Verywell Mind Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin, LCSW, shares the “Friday Fix”—a short episode featuring a quick, actionable tip or exercise to help you manage a specific mental health issue or concern.

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Friday Fix: Episode 78

Whether you said something out of anger and hurt your partner’s feelings or you completely forgot about a deadline for work, your next move is critical.

And as tempting as it might be to downplay your mistake, minimizing your responsibility only makes things worse. You’ll risk damaging the relationship even more. 

But saying, “I’m sorry,” doesn’t automatically make things better. Apologies often fall short—or even make things worse. 

If your apology goes awry, you’ll likely meet resistance. And if things go really wrong, you might find yourself blaming the other person or telling them that they’re just being “too sensitive.” 

Fortunately, there are people out there who research what goes into an effective apology. And they’ve uncovered exactly what it takes to make an apology effective. 

In fact, when an apology is delivered well, you might make things better than they were before you messed up.

So on today’s Friday Fix, I share the exact things you should say to increase the chances that your apology will be accepted. 

More About the Podcast

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By Amy Morin, LCSW, Editor-in-Chief
Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.