Everything You Need to Know About the Five Languages of Apology

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Author Name: Mia Barnes
Date: Wednesday February 17, 2021

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Relationships become complicated when you both communicate differently. When you frequently argue with your loved ones or friends, it’s likely because you have to work on understanding each other. The first step to making things right is learning about the five languages of apology.

Unlike romantic love languages, the five languages of apology work with everyone in your life. It starts with self-growth and ends with repaired feelings. Invest your time into learning the following steps and you’ll identify the issues preventing your platonic and romantic relationships from thriving.

1. Accept Total Responsibility

When something goes wrong, people have an instinct to find an explanation. Imagine that you’re talking with your coworker and you verbally snap at them. You insult their ability to clock in on time when they make a joke about your recent late arrival. 

You might eventually say sorry but follow up with an excuse. You didn’t sleep well the night before or you feel stressed out about personal problems. Even though those factors might have played a role in your attitude, excuses dismiss your behavior. Your coworker will feel belittled because your comment hurt them.

Accepting total responsibility is the first language of apology. Instead of providing excuses, state that you’re sorry and leave it at that. If the other person accepts the apology and asks if everything’s okay at home or if something happened recently, you can talk about what may have prompted the loss of your verbal control.

2. Repent With Genuinity

Expressing your regret is a one-time thing, but you shouldn’t live a life of constant apologies. People take notice when you’re always asking for forgiveness and then never changing your behavior. It makes your words worthless, preventing them from believing you in the future.

The French philosopher Michel de Montaigne started a well-known phrase when he said, “Saying is a different thing from doing,” in the 1500s. It morphed into “actions speak louder than words.” When you apologize, you have to repent privately and genuinely mean it. Repenting means you acknowledge your wrongdoings and strive to avoid saying or doing them again. It proves and conveys your apology differently.

3. Express Your Regret

When you apologize, ensure that you’ve expressed your regret. It’s essential when you fight about life-altering things. Your partner may argue about health precautions or risky behaviors during the pandemic or heightened flu seasons. Your words might have insulted their pride, intelligence or well-meaning intentions.

Saying that you’re sorry isn’t enough for wounds that cut deep. Follow your regret with reminders of how much you love your partner or what you wish you had done differently. Mentioning how you never want to hurt them or other similar feelings will convey how your apology comes from your heart and not the desire to move on from the fight.

4. Ask For Forgiveness

Pride often carries arguments well past when they should have ended. A terse apology can continue to damage your relationship with someone because they know you value your pride more than them. Humbling yourself and asking for forgiveness is another way to express your apology to anyone in your life.

It’s also something you should do after any argument. Even if you fight about common problems like finances or politics, asking for forgiveness mends the emotional bruises. There’s no problem too big or small for the humility of forgiveness. It’s another way to communicate your feelings that’s often received with understanding and acceptance.

5. Make Proper Restitution

Once you learn how to apologize, ask forgiveness and prove that you mean it, restitution is in order. It’s an action that should prevent the same argument from happening in the future. You might replace what you broke or pay for what you took.

Restitution can also happen by setting boundaries, so you solve your fight with intention. Pledge to never repeat the same hurtful words or bring up the topic. It’s a simple way to show someone you love them when they need the reminder the most. Set boundaries when you don’t see a monetary or physical way to make up for the fight so your friend or loved one can hold you accountable and feel confident in your regret.

Stay Flexible With Apologies

People understand and express the five languages of apology differently, so stay flexible after learning these tips. You may have to change the order of things or narrow your apology down to one step that matters to the other person in your argument. With time, you’ll grow from practice and your relationships will be better because you’ll never come across as insincere.

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