Apology Language

Have you ever wondered why, no matter how many times you apologize, the person never accepts and you don’t understand why they are not accepting your apology? Did you know there are different ways of conveying your apology? Firstly it is essential to know the other person’s apology language so that you know how to say you are sorry. Apology languages are some of the ways you tell that you are sorry. Knowing one’s apology language can help an individual to receive and express their apology.

Apology language was developed by Dr. Gary Chapman who focused on reconnecting and repair relationships. There are five apology language:

Expressing Regret

This apology language is an emotional language that involves you expressing your pain that your words and behavior have caused the other person. A person whose apology language is expressing regret expects an understanding of how deeply the behavior or words have hurt them. Just saying “I’m sorry” is not enough and seems empty and useless to them.

It will mean a lot to them when you say

  • I am sorry that I lost my temper and raised my voice. I know I came across as very harsh and that I hurt you deeply. A husband should never speak like that to his wife.
  • I never should have done that. I am sorry my actions have caused you so much pain.
  • Sorry, I got busy at work and couldn’t make it to the movies. I feel like I let you down.
Accepting Responsibility

This apology is initiated with “I am wrong” and then explaining what was wrong with the words or behavior. Taking ownership of the mistake by accepting the responsibility. The person whose primary apology language is “accepting responsibility” will always expect to hear the other person take responsibility for their words or action. A simple sorry won’t make any sense to them. This apology requires self-reflection and identifying the specifics of what they did that was wrong.

It will mean a lot to them when you say

  • I made the mistake of not planning the day properly to get home early. I was aware of us going out today, but I got carried away. I am so sorry. I am the one to blame here. It was my fault.
  • This happened because of me. I am so sorry.
  • I am sorry I lost my temper and spoke to you harshly. I should have talked to you when I was calm and composed. I am accepting responsibility for my behavior, and I know I was wrong.
Making Restitution

A person with this apology language seeks to make things right. They seek a way to replace or correct the mistake that took place. The person really wants to know if you still care and love them.

It will mean a lot to them when you

  • I am sorry I broke your favourite vase. Tomorrow, I will buy you a new one.
  • I have booked a dinner reservation for you to make up the last dinner reservation that we missed because I was late.
  • I am sorry. I cannot undo what I said or did, but I can make it up to you.
Genuinely Repenting

This apology seeks to make a plan so that the bad behavior or words don’t occur again. A person with this apology language expects the wrongdoer to commit and tries to find different ways to correct that behavior towards them. In this apology, actions speak louder than words. They expect the person to put in some effort to change, or else they see the apology as meaningless.

It will mean a lot to them when you

  • I lost my temper. I don’t like to lose my temper with you; it hurts me as well when I think about the way I behaved with you. I am sorry. Will you please help me change this so I don’t repeat it again?
  • I am sorry for the way I behaved with you yesterday. Please give me some time and space to reflect on myself so I can work on myself to resolve our conflicts in a healthy way.
  • I am sorry I said those harsh words to you. I didn’t mean to. I will work on myself to control my words when I am angry and think before I speak.
 Requesting Forgiveness

This apology language communicates to the person that you are sincere and that the apology is all about them. The individual who apologizes is placing the apology in the hands of the person, which gives them emotional power.

It will mean a lot to them when you say

  • Please forgive me for my rude comments during our phone conversation yesterday. I am sorry.
  • I hope someday you will forgive me for what I have done to you.
  • I kindly request your forgiveness for what I did. I am sorry.


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