Listen up, Tiger Woods: A good apology can excuse all manner of douchebaggery (see Hugh Grant, Eliot Spitzer, David Letterman). But it’s not just the fellas who need to learn how to own up gracefully. The next time you cross the line, follow these six tips that will have him saying I forgive you, babe, let’s get sushi in record time.
Don’t say it until you mean it. That doesn’t mean you need to wait until you’ve simmered down completely”especially if you’ve gotten er, creative with your adjectives”but there’s nothing more infuriating (or insulting) than receiving a muttered Sorry that’s about as genuine as TomKat’s marriage.
Never qualify your apology. If you’ve messed up, own up. Providing a litany of excuses for why you messed up in the guise of giving context will only dilute the sincerity of your speech. Your apology needs to be unconditional and sans insurance policy. Intention goes on the back burner”whether you meant to forget the drycleaning or snog his BFF doesn’t matter. The end result is the same and you need to fix it.
Avoid using the word if. Have you ever used this classic: I’m sorry if I upset you? Um, yeah”thanks. If suggests that the he’s somehow at fault by overreacting”and it’s almost guaranteed to bring out his inner Incredible Hulk. It’s essential to both acknowledge your mistake and validate his feelings.
Be specific about what you’re apologizing for. If you’re 20 minutes late for a movie date, apologize for that, not for general tardiness. You need to both show that you understand why he’s angry, and, if possible, not let the conversation devolve into a history of every time you’ve left him checking his watch by the popcorn stand.
Promise that you won’t do it again”and stick to it. The best way to win back his trust is to prove that you take your apology”and its consequences”seriously. Asking him to forgive you (when you think he’ll say yes, of course) will also help”it gives him back some power and agency, and allows him to be the gracious good guy instead of a grumpy grouch é la Simon Cowell.
Be patient. Even when he’s accepted your apology, it might take some time before he fully forgives you. Hint: Stock up on his favourite ice cream and be available for back rubs.