Nine Ways to Say Sorry Without Losing Your Face

Greta walked cheerfully into her office one fine day. She had all the reasons to be happy. Her husband had just gotten a promotion. He was awarded an all-expense trip for two to a luxurious resort along with that award. He got a brand-new car and a hefty salary increase. Everything was going rosy with her day.

Except that when she arrived home later that night, she failed to close their kitchen window. A stray cat took away their dinner. Her husband was looking forward to a sumptuous steak and a good wine to go with it. Nervous was an understatement to describe her feelings. She was completely at a loss. And why not? This had happened several times. She felt that saying sorry was no longer acceptable. She sat helplessly.

Do you find yourself in this situation? Have you ever wondered what to say instead of sorry when you have repeatedly committed mistakes? Sit back, relax, and inhale deeply. There are alternative ways to apologize without saying sorry again. Here they are:

1. Thanks for pointing that out

This focuses on what is needed to be done to bring about the desired outcome, not on what you need. Sometimes this is all it takes to undo a mistake. This is a proactive way to approach a mistake. You appreciate a co-worker or a family member for pointing out your mistake will shift their emotions to take action instead of focusing on the failure.

2. Empathize more than sympathize

Showing sympathy goes a long way. But empathy goes longer. You sympathize with a person’s misfortune, like if they have lost a job. But when you empathize, you walk into the other person’s shoes. You feel what the other person feels. You co-journey with that person as if it is your own.

Empathy is like a balm to a wounded feeling. Teaching empathy early on to your family members is essential to avoid conflicts. If you think you need an in-depth knowledge of empathy, attending family counseling sessions could teach you this.

3. Make up for what you have done

Offering compensation for wrongdoing is an effective and genuine way of expressing your genuine remorse. You may say, “What can I do to make up for this?” instead of saying, “I’m sorry.”

Immediately and adequately compensate for the mistake you have done to show your sincerity.

4. Acknowledge responsibility

Avoid making uncalled-for excuses. Justifying your mistakes won’t help either. This shows you don’t take accountability for your mistakes by blaming the circumstances. This weakens the sincerity of your apology and leads to distrust.

5. Express regret

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After acknowledging your fault, it is best to express your regret. You may say, “I am totally unhappy that this has happened, and I regret any inconvenience or pain it had caused you.” By conveying your regret, it means you are aware of the effects of your mistakes.

6. Adopt a more rational and practical approach than an emotional one

Sometimes, saying, “Sorry, but I don’t agree,” takes power from you. Instead, you could try, “Let’s look at this from another angle.” Or instead of saying, “I am sorry to break this to you,” it could be, “I know you are not going to like hearing this.”

7. Use “I desire” statements

This statement focuses on what you would like to happen or what both parties intend to accomplish after the mistake. This would give you the opportunity to be heard and understood. Hopefully, by doing this, you could come up with a fresh resolution

8. Say, “Will you please forgive me”

You use this to express your indiscretion, insensitivity, and error. It may be awkward to say this if you are not really sincere. But if you find yourself committing mistakes repeatedly, saying, ”Forgive me,” genuinely conveys your sincerity.

9. Use the expression, “What a shame that…”

Mistakes produce shame. But acknowledging the shame that you have caused to your loved ones or colleagues could make a lot of difference. It sends the message to the other person that you are unhappy over what had happened. This means you are not proud of your mistakes and make no excuse about them.

Committing mistakes is inherent to humans. But don’t be afraid to commit mistakes. It means we are learning. And the biggest lesson here is humility. Owning to our mistakes is hard. It strips our pride. We may even be branded as reckless when we commit one mistake repeatedly. But take comfort in the fact that there are other ways you could say sorry and still appear sincere. Try using them the next time you find yourself at a loss for words than sorry.

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