Accepting an apology can be difficult, especially when the person affected is very hurt. It may be that this request doesn't sound sincere, that you need more time to think about it, or that you don't know what words to use to express what you're feeling. However, it's easier to find the right words once you've decided to accept it - and ultimately be able to forgive yourself. Finally, if the request seems sincere, try to forgive those who wronged you in theory and in practice.
Method 1 of 4: Reflecting on the Apology
Step 1. Pay attention to what the person says
Notice if it comes from its own perspective, such as "I understand I did something wrong and I'm sorry." This shows that she is taking responsibility for her actions, which is essential to any apology. Also, be aware of your tone of voice and body language. Most people make eye contact and use a sincere tone when they apologize-so much so that the lack of such clues could show just the opposite.
- A genuine apology must be direct and sincere. For example: "I understand that I did something wrong and I'm sorry. I apologize for my actions and hope you can forgive me."
- Remember that people's body language depends on their upbringing and other factors. For example, a person who has a social phobia may be sincere even though they don't make eye contact. In any case, apathy is universal and quite obvious in any situation.
- Notice if the person is "pretending" to apologize. This happens if she uses phrases such as: "I'm sorry if you were hurt", "Too bad you think that", "I didn't mean to", "We made mistakes, but it's all in the past" etc. This type of expression is a way for the person to distance themselves from the attitude that caused discomfort or hurt, that is, to escape their own responsibility.
Step 2. Observe if the person appears to be passive-aggressive
This indicates that the apology is not sincere. If the person doesn't want to "give up" and admit that they were wrong, they can blame you and say you were wrong. This is a sign that the request is not sincere, but an attempt to dodge her own responsibility.
- Here's an example of a passive-aggressive apology: "Well, I asked you to the party, but you didn't want to go. I went alone and I had to lie. If you had accepted the invitation, that wouldn't have happened. I'm sorry."
- The person in this example is not really apologizing, but trying to get out of an unpleasant situation.
Step 3. Trust your intuition
You can even try to analyze the person's intentions, but intuition is often the best indicator of the trustworthiness of others. Stop for a moment, reflect on her apology and think:
- Does your intuition tell you that the person is being honest and sincere?
- Did the person ask for forgiveness and promise that the behavior will not be repeated? These two elements are essential in any sincere apology, as is the fact that she takes her own responsibility and doesn't try to put the blame on your back.
- Are you in doubt or confused about the person? If you have feelings of fear, obligation and guilt (signs of emotional blackmail), then the person does not want your forgiveness - but rather manipulate their feelings and avoid being questioned.
- Does the apology sound sincere?
Step 4. Decide if you are ready to accept the person's apology
Before accepting the apology, you need to study the context of the apology and think about how well you know the person. For example:
- If this individual is a friend or relative of yours who has a history of bad behavior, consider whether he is using apology as a way to avoid the consequences. If you've promised to change in the past, but haven't kept your word, it could be that he just wants to avoid taking responsibility for his own actions.
- If a relative or your partner (or partner) is apologizing for something unusual and rare, you may be inclined to accept.
- Be wary if a person lives apologizing. It will be difficult to know when she is being sincere when it has become a habit and even a crutch for bad behavior. See if she takes responsibility for herself, looks repentant, and promises not to behave like that again in the future.
Step 5. Take a break or have a long conversation with the person
Anyone makes mistakes or hurts others for a variety of reasons. You need to be willing to let go of what happened in the past, especially if the apology seems sincere. On the other hand, call the person in for a longer conversation if you're hard pressed to believe their good intentions.
Acting like this is better than accepting the request even if you don't believe it and end up holding a grudge against the person anyway. What's more, this will help you clearly express why you're hurting and identify what's still the problem
Method 2 of 4: Accepting the Apology
Step 1. Thank the person for the apology
Start by telling the person you're grateful that they're sorry and trying to make amends. Even a "Thank you for apologizing" or "I'm happy with your apology. Thank you" will do.
- Be honest when listening to what the person says. It's okay and normal to expect a sincere apology, but you also have a responsibility: to listen carefully to what the person says. Don't interrupt it, criticize it, or start an argument during this process.
- Don't belittle the person's apology by saying "Okay" or "Forget it," as they will be hurt. To make matters worse, the situation will remain unresolved and may even create a feeling of double resentment between you. If need be, say something like "Thanks for apologizing. I'm still hurting and I need a while before I believe this sort of thing isn't going to happen again."
- Show that you are grateful that the person was brave enough to admit their mistake and apologize.
Step 2. Explain why you were (or still are) hurt
After thanking the person for the apology, make it clear why you were (or are) hurt. This will show your sincerity and the seriousness with which you are taking the situation. Say something like "Thank you for apologizing. I was really hurt by the lie you told" or "I appreciate your apology. I was really shaken when you yelled at me in front of everyone."
Be clear and direct when expressing what you felt when the person did what they did, but without using passive-aggressive tones or criticizing their attitudes. It's best to be as sincere and honest as she was when asking her forgiveness
Step 3. Say "I understand", not "Okay"
End by saying that you understand why the person acted as they did and that you are willing to accept their apology. For example: "I understand why you thought you needed to lie to me, and I accept your apology."
Expressions like "It's OK" and "Forget it" don't make it clear whether or not you accepted the apology. Furthermore, they give the impression that this request is unimportant - even more so if the person is being sincere. Remember that it takes a lot of courage to admit any mistake, no matter how silly
Step 4. Respond to the apology by message using it clearly and concisely
Receiving an apology by message isn't as cool as chatting in person, but it's better than nothing. If it does, try to express yourself in a way that makes it clear to the person what you are feeling. Don't feel forced to accept this request just because it came through WhatsApp and it was well written, for example.
- For example: write "Thanks for apologizing. This is what I needed to read. I was very hurt when you ignored me, but I understand what was going on in your life that day."
- You can also ask to chat with the person in person or by video call.
Method 3 of 4: Putting Forgiveness into Practice
Step 1. Try to get back to normal
You accepted the person's apology…but now what? The atmosphere can be a little tense and uncomfortable at first, but just hang in there and let the matter go. In time, your relationship with her will return to the way it was before (or something very close to it).
- It's normal for you to take some getting used to after accepting the person's apology. Things almost never go back to the way they were right away.
- You might even say something like "Well, it's over. Shall we go back to where we were before?" or "Okay, now enough of us getting so serious" if the mood starts to get heavy again.
Step 2. Take care of your well-being
You may have a hard time getting over what happened even after you accept the apology. Don't be scared: it's understandable to be anxious, sad or stressed about the situation again. If so, think of ways to take care of your emotional (and even physical) well-being: do deep breathing exercises, meditate, practice yoga, etc. This all helps to lessen the hurt over what happened and to end any resentment towards the person.
You may not forgive the person right away, but you may never forgive the person. Don't expect miracles
Step 3. Spend time with the person
You can show the person that you are doing your best to accept their apology and start over. So ask her to do some fun and relaxed activities. If necessary, say you're doing your best - and that since the hurt is still fresh, it's better not to pretend everything is 100% normal. This is the ideal time to let the wounds heal.
- Think of an activity that both of you need to dedicate yourself to: playing a sport, hiking, participating in volunteer activities, etc. This will show that you are willing to rebuild your relationship of trust and friendship with the person.
- Ask the person to do something that you both enjoy doing and that doesn't bring out negative feelings.
Step 4. Be prepared to react in case your problems surface
You need to try to trust the person again, especially if their apology was sincere. On the other hand, keep an eye out for possible warnings: minor moments that indicate the person may make the same mistake again or revert to old habits that led to the hurt before. If possible, even try to help her not make the same mistake again.
For example, if the person starts to be late for their appointments again, talk about it. Say that you are hurt by these delays, as she may not even realize it. Who knows, maybe she is committed to change?
Method 4 of 4: Dealing with More Tense Situations
Step 1. End the relationship if you can't forget what happened
Forgiving someone is one thing, but forgetting something that happened is another. Even if you can accept the apology, you may not be able to let it all go. In that case, it's better to put an end to the relationship-after all, no relationship is healthy when resentment is involved.
- You can say something like "I accepted your apology, but I don't know if I can forget what happened. I'm sorry, but I think we'd better back off."
- Or "Our friendship is very important to me, but I still keep thinking about what happened that day. I don't think I can forget, so I need some time alone."
Step 2. Take a step back from people who continue to misbehave
Giving someone a second chance is normal. But a third? Fourth ? There comes a point where people just apologize because they know they're going to be forgiven. If this happens to a friend, relative or colleague of yours, then he is not acting with the best of intentions. In the latter case, the best thing is to put an end to the relationship.
It is much better to apologize with attitude than with words. If the person keeps doing something that they know makes you hurt, then they're not really sorry
Step 3. Come to agree with people who are always apologetic
In general, people who are always apologetic have a very strong sense of guilt - and to make matters worse, hearing "I'm sorry" 20 times in a row can end up irritating and making things worse. In that case, stop saying things like "Okay" and "Relax" and say "You know what? You're right. You hurt me and I'm happy with your apology."