Starting a company is really hard. Unreasonable Institute got started under circumstances that are fairly prototypical: we didn’t have salaries for 15 months; we were working 18 hours a day; we had to make a lot of decisions without knowing what we were doing while racing against our quickly depleting savings.

Co-founder conflict is responsible for 65 percent of startup failures. Tweet This Quote

Under this tension, I definitely said hurtful things to my teammates that I didn’t mean. I dropped the ball. I let the team down.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve learned we all fall prey to stress, being overwhelmed, a lack of sleep, and a lack of self-care. In those moments, we sometimes hurt the people we care about the most. According to the author of The Founder’s Dilemma, it turns out that co-founder conflict is responsible for 65 percent of startup failures.

That’s why I think startup founders need to know how to apologize. Here are some tips and tricks I’ve picked up (through both delivering bad apologies and receiving apologies from others that left me unsatisfied).

1. Take 100% responsibility

Unreasonable Institute Board Member and VC Seth Levine coached our team through some internal tensions we had a few years ago. Here’s a pearl of wisdom he shared with us:

“You might ask yourself, ‘Why is it my job to apologize?’ I wasn’t at fault. But a good relationship isn’t one in which both people are 50 percent responsible for the relationship, where they might wait for the other to act. A good relationship is one in which both people are 100% responsible for the relationship. If something is off between the two of you, it’s always your job to do something about it.”

A lot of apologies don’t happen because both people in a conflict think it’s the other person’s job to initiate the healing process. People involved say things like “I apologized first last time!” or “Why should I say I’m sorry? I’m right!” Ultimately, keeping score and being right are far less important than being united. Have no doubt: it’s always your job to apologize first.

Keeping score and being right are far less important than being united. Tweet This Quote

2. Be specific

You’ve got to articulate exactly what action you’re apologizing for. This makes it clear to someone that you get what upset them. Here are some examples of how to be specific in your apology:

  • “I am sorry for not letting you run the meeting.”
  • “I am sorry for getting here late.”
  • “I’m so sorry that I didn’t acknowledge all that you put into it with the board.”

3. Acknowledge the impact of your actions

Sincere remorse requires understanding exactly how your actions affect another person. Here are examples of how to acknowledge someone’s emotions:

  • “I am sorry for not letting you run the meeting. I undermined you in your new leadership position.”
  • “I am sorry for getting here late. I know you have a meeting in 30 minutes and you had a lot of ground you wanted to cover today.”
  • “I’m so sorry that I didn’t acknowledge all that you put into it with the board. You worked so hard on this project and I want you to be recognized for it.”

Co-founder conflict is responsible for 65 percent of startup failures. Tweet This Quote

4. Leave the words “if” and “but” out of your apology

This point is so important that I wanted to explicitly mention it. Here are some bad apologies:

  • “I’m sorry if I made you feel angry”
  • “I’m sorry but you didn’t do a great job.”

These apologies translate to: “I did something I’m fine with having done, and it’s your fault that you have feelings about it.”

A lot of apologies don’t happen because both people in a conflict think it’s the other person’s job to initiate the healing process. Tweet This Quote

If you’re using the words “if” or “but,” you are communicating that the person you’re talking to doesn’t have a right to be mad at you. Maybe you’re right. But conflict will likely persist until you can find a way to recognize the validity of how they are feeling.

5. Make a commitment, even if it’s small

Apologies don’t mean much if you keep repeating the actions that hurt someone. Identifying your hurtful behavior sets you up well to avoid that behavior in the future. Committing, even to a small action, demonstrates your sincerity and reaffirms your relationship with the other person. Once you commit to it, though, make sure you deliver on it. Here are some examples of how to commit to future action:

  • “I am sorry for not letting you run the meeting. I undermined you in your new leadership position. I promise to play an observer role in our next meeting and let you facilitate.”
  • “I am sorry for getting here late. I know you have a meeting in 30 minutes and you had a lot of ground you wanted to cover today. It won’t happen again and I’ll commit to writing a thorough update on where the project stands right now.”
  • “I’m so sorry that I didn’t acknowledge all that you put into it with the board. You worked so hard on this project and I want you to be recognized for it. I will email the board right now and let them know what a pivotal role you played in this project. And next time, I’ll make a special note of what you’ve contributed to the project.”

Conflict will likely persist until you can find a way to recognize the validity of how the other person is feeling. Tweet This Quote

A good apology can work wonders to help startup teams (not to mention all human relationships) navigate immense pressures. Practice taking responsibility, being specific in your apologies, acknowledging the impact of your actions, leaving out “if” and “but,” and committing to a future action. It will go a long way to restoring peace and alignment in times of tension.

A version of this post originally published in June 2014. It has been updated and reposted to inspire further conversation.

About the author

Teju Ravilochan

Teju Ravilochan

Teju is co-founder and CEO of the Unreasonable Institute. He is driven by the desire to live in a world where every human being can be the master of their own fate, unbound by the chains of poverty, oppression, or injustice.

  • Teju Ravilochan

    These five points represent my understanding of what goes into a good apology, but I’d love to hear what else helps to heal tension! Any other thoughts on what’s important to remember when saying you’re sorry?

  • Teju! Thank you for yet another brilliant post! I had no idea confounder conflict accounted for 65% of startup failures, woah! Not necessarily another important thing to say when you are apologizing, but one best practice I have learned through conflict resolution (whether workplace, romantic, or friendship) is waiting 24 hours after the conflict happens before addressing it in order to give each person more time to logically assess the situation and address it. Just saying one more tip for mending relationships successfully. Thank you for all your wisdom Teju!

  • Sara Olsen

    I would add that startups are much more likely to be successful when there is a founding team (more than one person), so even though conflict is inevitable and a big risk, the ability to work through it is – literally – key to startup success! Teju, you and the UI team are remarkable humans and this just demonstrates all the more how much so! Thanks for sharing these very wise words.

  • Kevin Miller

    Super important to hear for us right now. Thanks for the time it took to write this Teju.

    Lack of open communication has been our biggest achilles heel right now and good apologies are a first step to people moving aside their ego and loving the team. It sounds corny, but that’s where I think the magic is.


    Fully agreed! Same for us at H2knO. GREAT ARTICLE

  • Teju Ravilochan

    Here’s another addition from this wonderful post:

    “[Ask] ‘Will you forgive me?’ This is important to try to restore your friendship. Now, there is no rule that the other person has to forgive you. Sometimes, they won’t. That’s their decision. Hopefully, you will all try to be the kind of friends who will forgive easily, but that’s not something you automatically get just because you apologized. But you should at least ask for it.”

  • D A

    Excellent post.

  • D A

    You’ve already mentioned it… not repeating the action or behaviour… this is the one that really kills trust, productivity, credibility and morale. Sometimes, people make a good apology a lifestyle habit, in fact they’re so brilliant at it that it takes quite a while for others to recognise ‘the game’. I have created a life rule after many years of being a good forgiver… three strikes and I don’t associate with the person again. Of course, when this occurs in the workplace or in team-work scenarios, it’s a tough one.

  • atozzi

    All in all an interesting and thought provoking read. You never really think about how your apology can come across as insincere or even hurtful. Definitely going to apply these things for when an apology is needed- best to come across sincere and meaningful then to apologize with another unintentional slap to the face.

  • epron

    Though this article focuses on apologies in in work relationships specifically in startups, everyone of these points is extremely accurate and insightful and are universal attributes of a good apology. As a very stubborn person who has had trouble bestowing good apologies in the past and have had relationships suffer from it, I am very grateful for this rubric of excellent advice.

  • Murugi Kaniaru

    This is such a brilliant post. I would also add that when you apologize, don’t apologize with any expectations. If the person refuses to forgive or forgives but discontinues working with you, then you have to accept that choice. Ultimately, you want both parties to forgive and rectify the relationship.

  • ryanhaberer

    Wow. I LOVE this article. People do not often realize how important it is to some people to apologize and acknowledge they did wrong. Apologies can go a long way and the sooner that you can learn to accept that you did wrong the better. I know recently I have been trying to improve this skill myself and apologizing when I know I did wrong. You have to be humble to forgive, and if you can not be humble and look outside the box in business you can never be successful.

  • Glassborow

    Thank you for this article I love it! The advice you have given is so on-point, I really agree with the second point, you need to make sure the person you are apologizing to understands you are being sincere, and if you know what made them upset this will make it a lot more believable to them. I also really like the last point, showing the person what you will do to make up for what you did wrong is a great way of showing them that you care about how they feel and want to make a better impression for them and yourself. How would you know if a person you have apologized had fully accepted your apology? I would be worried I hadn’t done enough to make it up to them.

  • evillarr6

    This is a fantastic article! To apologize is to humble yourself and make yourself vulnerable; no small feat. I personally have a difficult time swallowing my pride to apologize, and the article gives great advice on how to approach this gracefully.

  • rhildner

    Love this article! I find it very hard to leave my pride aside and apologize for what I’ve done wrong, which can have negative effects on relationships. This article really simplified it and took away the shameful stigma attached to apologizing, and made it much simpler to learn how to move on from my slip ups.

  • Skowronssj06

    Great Article! I am one that doesn’t like conflict and fighting but if I do get in a fight, of course I always think I’m right and the other person needs to apologize. But being the nice person I am, I do feel bad and always say sorry and make up for it. Learning these few extra steps in an apology can go a long way not just for me but a lot of people. To apologize, it’s very humble and sincere and everyone must learn that you are not always right and you should admit it.

  • sgawinski

    This is a great reminder of how to give a good apology. We always need to take responsibility of our actions. Even if we had good intentions and it didn’t get perceived that way, we need to realize that the person wasn’t wrong for taking it a certain way if we didn’t direct our message clearly. If we can put our pride away and apologize, it would help a lot of us be better co-workers!

  • Theresa Fitzsimmons

    Thank you for writing this article. I haven’t had too many experiences in life where I have been in a group setting and needed to apologize to a teammate but I have been in relationships and friendships where this information would have been very valuable. The one thing I really agree on is the saying to the other what you wish to do next time/ the commitment part. I have been dating my current boyfriend for 4 months now so we have had a few minor fights. When I say sorry to him I always say what I did wrong, that it wont happen again, what I will do different next time, and explaining that I should always consider how he feels. When he apologizes to me he always leaves out the commitment portion because he fears screwing up again although I trust that he wont. What would you recommend him to do?
    I really enjoy this article because if we all followed this method when apologizing the world would be much more peaceful!

  • Aarynn Bosshart

    I’m really glad you wrote about this. Social skills are a VERY important part of entrepreneurship. It’s amazing how easily we can let stress overcome us and say something or do something hurtful in a blink of an eye. As you say, the best thing we can do is humble ourselves. I really love what you said about being 100% invested in a relationship and not assuming a it’s 50/50. The healthiest relationships are created out of sacrifice and trying to out-serve one another.

  • knapprl17

    This article is good for anyone because we all have to apologize at some point in our lives. These five tips will help when I am apologizing to someone. This helped me realize that it is important to recognize how the other person is feeling and let them know that you feel bad about what you did.

  • Amanda Wood

    One of the best articles on WOW! Ever person should read this article. People these days really have a hard time at saying I’m sorry, me being one. I have learned a lot in my life that has taught me to be strong and say sorry for my mistakes and even if I don’t feel the need to say it, I will. These five keys above are by far the best and most honest things a person needs to know. My favorite is to “be specific”. To many people say I am sorry and that is it, but is that really true? Being specific shows sympathy, interest, commitment, etc. I cannot even get over how well this article was wrote. Thank you!!

  • Trista Radloff

    Yes I agree it is hard to put your own pride aside and admit that you were the one that did something wrong, not your teammember. I like that you added examples as to what you need so we are more effective in our apologies. Sometimes we don’t realize that what we say doesn’t always come out like we intented.

  • LeiderGM20

    I really liked reading these 5 steps. Very simple and to the point. Far to many relation ships get ruined because neither party is willing to take the blame. It I important to put aside your pride and initiate the apology conversation. I’ve had a few friendships end for this very reason. Thank you for sharing this!

  • Ananda Conlon

    I want my boyfriend to read this article. I think that the steps that you described here can be translated into any type of relationship that people have. Someone that is able to apologize effectively in my opinion is stronger than someone who tries to fight there case about everything. It is a common misconception that the other way around is true, but I think that it is more difficult to admit that you rare only human an make mistakes.

  • Alex Prailes

    This is too perfect! Many times when people make an apology they don’t mean it or are just apologizing to end the fight. What many people don’t understand is that it is often very obvious when that is the main reason for the apology. Putting the blame on someone while you are apologizing never helps the situation so meaning the apology and stating why you are apologizing helps show that you care about the other persons feelings.

  • Natasha Tynczuk

    Another great article! This is something that I find very useful. I don’t often get into big arguments with people, which is why I find myself confused on how to deal with the situation afterwards when I do. These are some tips that I will definitely keep in mind in the future!

  • thomas kearney

    I feel like the 5 points that you touch on were all important in giving a good apology. If you apologize to someone the right way it can go a long way. I think the first point taking 100% responsibility is one of the most important in my opinion because if you are going to give a sincere apology then you can’t play the blame game.

  • Mitch Sween

    Thanks Teju Ravilochan. All too often society today focus on “being right” vs. admitting that at times you are wrong. These simple yet effective steps to apologizing should perhaps be run on a quarterly basis in major newpapers/magazines.

  • Kyree Brooks

    I definitely agree with this article due to people who give bad apologies. Sometime people do not put their pride to the side. You have to take responsibility. Communicating at a high level your sincerity is important to get to a better state. Great article!

  • karinaz10

    Love this article! The number one relationship I think about in my life when I think about apologizes is my relationship with my boyfriend. I honestly don’t find it hard to apologize. After an argument it usually take me about 15 mins to realize what just happened was pointless and that there was a better way to go about the whole situation. I am usually the one to apologize and I have fallen guilty to being the person who says, ” I apologized first the last time.” But reading key point number one has made me realize how I was/am for feeling that way.. I shouldn’t feel bad for apologizing first because it is 100% my responsibility as it is my partners.

  • Tom Ashmus

    I really like this article. Too many people now do not know how to make a sincere apology. I think the main point to an apology is truly meaning it. You cannot be sorry and start new if you do not agree with the apology. Even a little bit, you need to be full on 100 percent sincere.

  • Tom Ashmus

    I agree, social skills are one of the most important parts of being an entrepreneur. They need to be able to sway people and companies in order to fufill their dream. They don’t necessarily have to lie or stretch the truth, they just have to not only sell themselves, but sell their idea and their dream.

  • Camillewuensch

    This is a really nice article! I think that it is very important to know how to apologize not only for start-up companies but in general. I think that many of us have a very hard time communicating our feelings but also admitting that we were in the wrong or we messed up. These tips are really good and I think that everyone should have to learn these or have them handy with them. What tip I really liked and will have to use is leaving out “if” and “but”. I think I use these terms when apologizing to make it seem like it was not all my fault, which is not ok.

  • d_millyy

    I really like your comment and agree with it. I think your main point is the main point when saying an apology but I think the true way to mean it when you apologize it to never do it again. So with that being said, if you were the person being apologized to, what would you need to hear or see to actually believe the apology?

  • d_millyy

    Thank you for your comment and explaining your own experiences. Admitting to being wrong and having to apologize for it can be very hard. I know you said it’s because you are stubborn but do you think it could be something deeper than that? I’m very curious if people have actually learned to not be good at apologies. People always say oh that just the way I am, but maybe repeated experiences changed you to be that way. I strongly believe this and I wonder if you have any examples of when you may have learned to not apologize well or be able to be wrong?

  • Shaquille Boswell-Downey

    Apologies are a great way to forgiveness. I believe if you follow these steps it will lead you there. I never thought of an apology like this. I would just say im sorry and move on but there is more to it. You have to really be sorry and believe the apology yourself so that the person can forgive you.

  • Schudakp21

    I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have done or said something that I regret and wanted to take back. I do like this article and the proper way to tell an apology. Apologizing and asking for forgiveness is the only way to get past a problem. These are great notes to help restore the flow of a relationship. If you don’t apologize then the tension can build and just grow and will inevitably come out again and maybe beyond repair so I am glad you wrote this article and I read it.

  • earose14

    Admiting you are wrong is one of the number one things you dont want to do. There is that feeling of guilt and shame that you dont want to have. Knowing your wrong and not wanting to fess up to is the worst feeling. Thats why in this article it shows the ways of apologizing the right way. I do agree with them because it simply tells you what to do and the things to avoid when apologizing. Why is it though that its so hard to say sorry and admit that your wrong? Thanks for sharing!

  • Kelly Martin

    I absolutely loved reading this article! There are many times where you believe you are not at fault for what ever the situation may be, but you need to take responsibility anyway and become the bigger person. Keeping healthy relationships is a key to doing business with anyone and having personal happiness. Humans are humans and we make mistakes daily, it matters how you fix them and move forward in a positive manner. The part of this article that said to leave “if” and “but” out of apologies is ingenious. I will use this list for many years to come. Thank you so much for writing this!

  • shackletka05

    Thank you for sharing! You made the important parts to apologizing way easier to wrap around peoples minds. Most of the time people struggle apologizing because they are holding pride over themselves in the belief that the other person was only in the wrong. It takes two people to fix a relationship and taking responsibility for ones actions to correct a problem is what truly makes the difference on how to move forward from a situation.

  • Cossioj14

    This article is one of my favorites so far. Apologizing, no matter how many times someone does it, isnt the easiest thing to master. This article helps the process of a genuine apology and think most people, including myself, can benefit from reading this article.

  • Amy Rink

    I truly loved reading this article so thank you so much for posting it! Every point you made I found to be key in an apology. There was one point that I never really thought about though that I think a lot of people don’t really think of and it is, “Leave the words ‘if’ and ‘but’ out”. It is so true with avoiding these to small words you go from sounding like a know it all to someone who truly cares.

  • ChaiseSheldon

    This was a good article. Even though apologizing is something that any people do a lot in there life there are not many people who are good at delivering a meaningful apology. It doesn’t have to be long as long as you address all the things that Teju mentioned your apology will be well recieved.

  • Rvann1

    I’m definitely in agreement with you on this. Many times I think that we often expect a person to forgive us or accept our apology just because we offered an apology. A person may not be ready to accept our apology so we should be ready for that as well. One of the things I’ve learned and that I read somewhere is that people will forget what you did for them but won’t forget how you made them feel.

  • spitfireneil

    So i read this article a few weeks ago and have been really putting thought and reflection on this article. I have to say that the advice given by Mr.Ravilochan has been amazing. I appreciate the time he put into writing this article and will definitely pass on the advice

  • Thomas Tessier

    I love this article i was actually forming an apology letter to write to someone at work. This has created an easy, simple, and efficient layout to structure and conform my letter too.

  • Kayla Martin

    I really liked this article, I think that more companies need to have a talk with their employees about how to apologizes. People need to take full responsibility for whatever they have done. I have been in situations at my current job where people don’t apologizes for things and they get swept under the rug. Then when something else happens the person who swept it under the rug brings it up and they get into big fights over things that shouldn’t be fought over. I really liked the statement where relationships are 100% on you. If i had used that in some of my past relationships there are chances I would still be friends with people I am not friends with now.

  • Julia

    I love this article!! Overall, I think our society always thinks they are right. It is difficult for people to give a genuine apology anymore. I always feel bad when I get in an argument, even if I truly don’t think I was “in the wrong.” Either way, I tend to feel like I’m the only one apologizing. I try my best to apologize because I personally respect a person more when they admit they are wrong and take responsibility. I just try to think of it as neither of us are right or wrong.

  • ali Alamri

    i’m using all of those kinds of apologies, I think apologies is great thing that people should do with others to remove bad feelings

  • Caroleigh Perkins

    I love that you recognize the importance of apologizing. Whether or not you feel like what you did warrants the person to be upset it doesn’t change that they are and if that really was not your intent then you have something you can apologize for. No one can change the past and an apology is about the closest anyone can get so I think it is a very useful tool and something people should know how to effectively use.

  • rall1

    As someone who finds it difficult to apologize in almost any situation, this article is a nice refresher on the importance of a simple apology in maintaining a healthy and cohesive work relationship. I think I need to repeat this to myself at least three times a day: “Ultimately, keeping score and being right are far less important than being united.”

  • lrodri38

    Apologizing is not one of my strong suits, this article has been extremely helpful when forming an apology. Avoiding the words “if” and “but” make sense to never use because it is almost as if you’re blaming the other person that you feel a certain way. Apologies can definitely go a long ways especially in a business setting. The lack of an apology or careless wording could possible end a business relationship. Great article, simple and to the point with importance.

  • whwatkin

    This is an article to remember. No one is perfect so at some point you are going to have to apologize, maybe to someone important to you. But whether or not that person is important to you, the apology should still be sincere and these 5 components are everything that your apology should contain. If an apology is not worded correctly, then it may leave the situation worse than before the apology.

  • Kendra Larson

    I found your article very helpful. I think everyone can learn a lesson from your words, and your message is something that everyone can relate too. We all have problems with apologizing to people that we are in a conflict with. Sometimes apologizing can be the hardest thing to do because no one wants to admit that they were wrong. However, you are right. Apologizing is the first step into resolving the conflict. Through apologizing, you are communicating with the person that you want to work things out, and that you are sorry for hurting them in any way. By apologizing you are showing that you respect the person and you care enough about them to put ur differences at rest, and that you want to move forward. Thank you for sharing this article, I learned a lot about the action of an apology and it also has helped me with a certain project that I am doing for a class.

  • alexlavine

    Having a good relationship with co-workers is vitally important to the work environment and overall success of any work place. We all get stressed out and sometimes overreact to certain situations. It is important that we apologize in the right way. If we don’t apologize at all then the tension of one incident just builds from one event to another. I think is it most important that we are specific about why we are sorry, admit responsibility, and then work to be better going forward. A lot of times people apologize, but they include the “but” word where they are trying to deflect some of the blame in other directions as opposed to owning it. Lastly, in my experience I think it is better to wait on the apology until you’ve thought what you wanted to say through and your truly remorseful about your actions. Sometimes we apologize immediately and then we haven’t thought through our reasoning fully.

  • Katelyn Vaughn

    I love this article! I find this article to be very helpful, especially in the work place. Some people absolutely hate being told what to do or being told that they are doing something wrong. People are very easily defensive about any situation where they may be confronted. It is so important to put your pride aside and keep a professional attitude. This article gave very important tricks on how to apologize by making it simple. This will be very useful to the individuals who hate apologizing and who may be stubborn.

  • Katelyn Vaughn

    I agree! Admitting you’re wrong is so difficult for most people. I liked this article because it makes apologizing simple and easy for the people who hate apologizing or people who do not know how to apologize properly. I think that most people do not like apologizing or admitting they are wrong because they do not want to be seen as weak or they want people to think they are perfect and are right about any situation.

  • Anniep1023

    We all make mistakes in our lives. It is important to recognize those mistakes and apologize. I think that it is important that we teach apologizing skills in schools. We as a society must learn that apologizing is not a sign of weakness, but as a sign of maturity. Apologies have the effect to mend broken relationships and change hard feelings we have towards one another. But apologies are only effective if they are true. Saying sorry when you don’t really mean it does more hard than good. By practicing these five steps of a good apology, we as a society can become closer and stronger than ever.

  • Ruochen Su

    This is an useful article. I often do not how to express my apology although I feel so sorry .

  • struckml03

    Oh my! This was so good! I liked this a lot. There is going to be problems everywhere, especially in the workplace. Nobody is perfect. So knowing the steps on how to apology the correct way is important. I thought it was a good way of looking at it by saying to leave the word IF out. The example you gave, “Im sorry if you feel angry” was cool to see how you related to it its translation – that person is used to acting that way and its the other persons fault if they feel that way. Thats a good thing to know too even if someone is apologizing to me for something. I will definitely think about this.

  • leeana liska

    I like how this article focuses on how to give a true apology. Many times I think people apologize in the wrong ways or do it because they just know they have to. when the time comes to give an actual apology this article is great for showing how you feel. Also, I think a lot of times people apologize when it is not necessary and we should learn to use apologies when they are truly meant so we don’t make them meaningless

  • Kendra Larson

    I completely agree. I feel that sometimes people just apologize, to apologize, and they do not completely mean it. The thing is, people know when you are not truely being apologetic. If you just say it to just end a conversation or argument because you just want to avoid the problem… then that is not making things any better. The right thing to do is actually take responsibility, and make it clear that you really are sorry. Once “im sorry” comes out clear and truely meaningful.. then the problem will gradually start to get better. But it all starts with those two words.

  • DuchAM21

    I enjoyed reading this blog post as it is something that we do not often hear or read about often. These are great tips for not just startups but all relationships in general. I wish I would have read this article a few years back when I was in a conflict with a good friend of mine. These tips could have potentially saved the friendship, as neither of us admitted we were wrong, and still do not talk to this day. I will definitely consider these tips in the future! Thanks Mr. Ravilochan for the blog!

  • Chelsea Haffele

    I am very stubborn at times and it’s hard to set my pride aside and admit that I was wrong.

  • Skalahe13

    Im hard headed and terrible at apologizing and this article made me think of saying sorry in a different way. it makes it seem like less of a bad thing admitting your wrong and apologizing. I liked this post because it made things simple and saying sorry isn’t something always talked about.

  • Sarah Kasiurak

    I think this is a great article and enjoyed reading the examples of a good apology. I agree with you and also think people may not be apologizing for the right reasons. I think it would be a great idea if more people read this article and understand what an apology truly means. Saying sorry does not sound meaningful at all, stating what you did wrong and being sympathetic towards the other’s feelings is a better way to do it and actually make an impact.

  • byrnesbk24

    This is a great find!!!! I am talking about communication in one of my classes right now and knowing the right way to apologize is so worth it. It can be so hard for people to apologize due to many things; being embarrassed, or thinking they are right or not finding the right words. Something like this can be very helpful. Has anyone had a horrible apology ever?

  • Samantha Lavenau

    Apologizing can sometimes be tough because we are saying we are wrong, and putting our pride aside to show it. In every case, someone is always wrong, and sometimes an apology has to be said. I love this article because it makes it seem easier to say “I’m sorry.”

  • Jennifer Diaz

    We all become stubborn during this situation. The hardest step for us to do is Step 1 “Take 100% responsibility.” Thinking that you’re “right” in a situation like this will never be solved. The best way is for both parties to take full responsibility and apologize to each other. I am guilty of not doing this and am sure others are also. This post will make me rethink about what is the right thing to do versus I am right.

  • milleram97

    Our words are a strong tool that can change the world.
    And apologies are a way that we can experience that change.
    I am one of those people who is bubbly and social, which is why admitting that I might be wrong can be so hard. Going back to another blog, success is thought to be attaining what we want and the opposite of that is failure.
    I don’t particularly like to fail in any of my endeavors, and being vulnerable with someone by telling them that they are right instead of me really sucks.
    In line with my Christian beliefs, we must give up our rights to be right (as Jesus did).
    In a accomplishment driven world, why should we have to bow down to someone and give them power over us to be correct? Well that may be the thought but that is not the actual truth.
    We make gains when we let things go and don’t let them affect our lives. Wrong or not, key to living is being in relationship with others. There is no job or career that does not have some part in this.
    The first step is learning how to work well as a team (indirectly or not) and that requires a few hiccups.

  • Ashley Gardner

    I love this article! We are learning about resolving conflicts in my stress management course and these are all things she talks about. I think one of the hardest parts of this is leaving out the “ifs and buts.” It totally takes away from the apology. I am defintely guilty of it and need to work on bettering that!

  • milkienr18

    I really like how this article starts out by saying that you should just own up to your mistakes and take responsibility for the problem instead of waiting for the other person to say something. I also like the part about leaving the “ifs & buts” out because when they are in the apology it kind of defeats the purpose of the apology because you end up just putting the blame on the other person instead of taking responsibility.

  • Jessica Peardon

    I loved this. It can be hard to apologize, but its necessary. If you don’t apologize that person and you could have tension for the rest of your life. These were great tips for how to apologize in a sincere and genuine way.

  • gaulrappkj17

    This is interesting. As adults, we rarely practice saying “I am sorry” to the extent that we actually mean it. It is so much easier on our ego, to just blanket it and not go into detail. If we make ourselves actually be responsible, and apologize like we mean it, we are far better off. Especially when we are the reason others are ready to pull their hair out. We need to understand that what we do does affect others, and yes at times, we are rude and are not helpful to others, just to ourselves. So, in those times, it is important that we step back and say, “what did I just do?” and then fix it.

  • esiever1

    Thanks for the advice! I am very bad when it comes to taking responsibility when it comes to problems with my family or friends. I have the opposite problem when it comes to work. Sometimes I end up taking too much responsibility for things that are not even my fault.

  • Kyle Gettelman

    While just learning about this in class, I feel that this article was a great “add-on” to what I remember from my lecture. With divorce rates being roughly around 50%…..I mean 1 OUT OF 2 marriages will fail, we dont understand why our fights are just mearly that….fighting. Conflict and arguing are one thing, but fighting is just nonsense and useless, nothing truly happens because of it. One thing that I STRONGLY agree with is the fact that Point #1 is Point #1…..Take Credibility. If we held ourselves accountable for actions that we take, and the way somebody feels of our actions, we have a better understanding of why it happens, and how we can fix it in the future. I think not only do our local populations need to read this, but also larger companies, it would benefit them with work production as well.

  • Alexa A Dralle

    I adore this. Apologies always have and always be the worst, and frankly most of us are not every good at them. We tend to apologize in a rude manner making the other feel worse than before the apology! i like how this article broke it down into the perfect apologize leaving both parties on the good side.

  • Alexa A Dralle

    That quote is so accurate, I can apply this to many times in my life. A lot of people (unfortunately me as well) tend to hold a grudge on someone that does them wrong. these grudges can be held for so long that we forget what happened in the first place, all we know is how that person made us feel.

  • Alexa A Dralle

    I am the same way. I hate dealing with problems so I end up just taking responsibility for everything because it keeps the number of arguments down.

  • alexlavine

    The part of apologies that is the most funny is that as children after we apologize its like our bad behavior is gone and the person we just apologized to will forgive us or they have to because we apologized. Like once we apologize our bad deed is erased and all is good. Very far from the truth.

  • alexlavine

    I think its better to wait on an apology because as times passes you will have thought through your actions and have a better and more appropriate apology. What happens is we apologize right away and it comes across as rude and sometimes further complicates the situation.

  • Alexa A Dralle

    I could not agree more. Especially if the apology isn’t filled with meaning, which is how most usually are, forced and fake. Actions to amend post apology, are what matter most!

  • Warhawk88

    As I grow older I find i much easier to apologize. I definitely agree that the number one thing is to take full responsibility. As grown-ups we need to realize what is most important within our relationships. Think about how you feel after an argument even though you may have been right. Apologizing right away and being sincere about it can save everyone a lot of headache and heartache.

  • Warhawk88

    I always used to do he same thing with my family especially. I never wanted to show them that i failed to do something. It definitely can be hard at times, but it always feels good to own up to your own wrong doings.

  • DavidMizelle1

    Really like this post, Teju. Too often many of us don’t take full responsibility and use language that places the blame on the person we are apologizing, too. I’m certainly guilty of using if and but in my apologies and it’s something I will be more cognizant of moving forward.

  • Erin

    I love how you say, acknowledging the impact. That is so important when making an apology. It can make all the difference. Apologizing for a mistake is good for the person you may have hurt but it is also good for yourself. Giving an apology leads you to forgive yourself and move on from the matter. You never want to hold onto a bad feeling for too long. So talking about it can really benefit you.

  • Erin

    It is very true that sometimes it’s extremely hard to apologize about something. I find it the most difficult when it is with someone that you really care about. The sooner you apologize the better because holding it in does you no good. It really can affect relationships and can cause difficult tension.

  • ryanstorto

    Great points. In a relationship, I’ve never thought to look at it as we are both 100% responsible for it. And I definitely never thought there would be so many ways to apologize and the actual meanings of each of them. Hopefully this will help me realize how my actual words are coming across instead of just thinking – “ok, I said I’m sorry” and then move on like nothing happened. I will be sure to remember this article and it’s examples and have it ready next time I’m in a situation where an “I’m sorry” is needed.

  • Timothy Joseph Basaldua

    I agree that this article gave a lot of good suggestions on how to apologize and improve on relationships. I’m stubborn and I’ve always been told that I have to be right all of the time. I will take this article into consideration when I get into an argument with someone. Take responsibility, be specific, and don’t blame others are all things that I need to work on. I also think it’s important to be open to suggestions and think of some ways to improve the relationship or the situation. I have also learned during my arguments, that an argument could have been avoided if I just thought about things before I spoke. A lot of arguments could have been avoided if I didn’t say something hurtful or criticizing.

  • Austin Jones

    I agree Sam, apologizing can be really tough. Alot of people have issues with their pride and its hard for them to ever apologize. I have a friend who will never say sorry and its really annoying sometimes

  • Ashleigh Hartlaub

    Having a sincere apologies have been hard to come by I have noticed. Lots of people say they are sorry for things when you can tell they don’t mean it and are stubborn. Teju saying people need to be united in a friendship/relationship is very important and knowing when and how to apologize for anything is important. I know I need to work on apologizing to some people in my life and I hope that people can tell that I am truly sorry when I apologize to them.

  • stangleram13

    I love this article it is so moving and simple but has a lot of information that you can take for and use it right a way. thank you for posting this article.

  • stangleram13

    I agree on the a lot a us don’t take full responsibility and also use the right language. I some time use the if statement and I am trying not to use them. Thank you for posting this.

  • stangleram13

    I totally agree most of us don’t do apologies very will. I some use the worry language what i apologies. Thank you for posting this. Have you used this apologies method yet.

  • stangleram13

    I take sometime too much responsibility for thing also. So you are not alone. I hope are trying to get this method in your life. Good luck. Thank you for posting this.

  • Sara_Kay0316

    Love #1. This is really the best way to go about an argument or dispute and being the most responsible about it. It’s better to own up to something than to drag it on day after day because nothing ever gets solved that way. If anything, the original problem becomes even bigger than it once was.

  • Nathan Tessar

    I really like this article and how it explains the 5 steps of a good apology but I also like this article but it shows that you need to take responsibility for your actions. Im glad its the first step because if you don’t take responsibility for your actions you will never be trusted as a person. People these days look for the easy way out and lie about different things so they don’t get into trouble but if you get caught in a lie thats when you can find yourself in a whole that can take awhile to get out of.

  • FalkinerRR23

    Taking responsibility for your actions is the key to realizing you’ve done something wrong. You can’t deny it when you take responsibility and once you can realize and understand that, you can move on and figure out what you need to fix and how to apologize sincerely.

  • Kaila Witthun

    I really like this. I feel like this can be applied to any type of apology. I like that the article also gives examples. I am typically the first one to apologize all of the time because I just want to move on. However, I also feel so crappy when I am, I need to learn to not “keep score” and just move on together with our relationship. I am not always right and it is more important to move forward than to hold on and move backwards.

  • Kaila Witthun

    I think this article is great for someone looking at how to become better at apologizing. It is really good. I love that it gives really good examples too. You can also put these tips into everyday life too, not just with in a business. I think in a business there is probably less apologizing for things, but the individuals who are not there yet and can practice these with the personal relationships they have now will only benefit for the future when it becomes a habit.

  • Kaila Witthun

    Also once you take responsibility the next step can be making a commitment and that only makes the sincerity even stronger. It goes to show that you are truly sorry and that will work on fixing that problem.

  • FalkinerRR23

    I agree! And by making that commitment you’re bound to have a better reaction from whoever you are apologizing to. The key to that commitment would be your actions because actions speak louder than words.

  • Kaila Witthun

    definitely. Once following through with that commitment will definitely speak even loader than words. It shows that you do care and that you were sorry. Also that you would like to continue a good relationship with the individual.

  • Kaila Witthun

    I totally agree. If responsibility is never taken, there will never truly be an apology because the individual will never believe they did anything “wrong” and worth apologizing for. I think apologies that are not sincere will only blow up in their faces eventually.

  • flaschbm09

    I agree that there are a lot of great examples. I feel that I have the problem of apologizing way too much which I know is kind of weird. I seem to always find myself saying I’m sorry for things that I know I really shouldn’t be sorry for. I think that for me, often times “sorry” is a way of me saying that I feel bad that a person feels a certain way, not necessarily that I am sorry for some action that I’VE done or I’VE said. I really need to work on being better about this.

  • DavidMizelle1

    That’s a great point Kyle. I don’t know if apologies would save all of those marriages, but they’d certainly at least open positive dialogue which could help solve a lot of problems if the people involved are simply willing to take credit for their part. Excellent post.

  • DavidMizelle1

    That’s an interesting question because even if the person apologizing actually means it we may not know how to read their body language, etc. in order to know it’s sincere. I think that’s the importance of communication and ending the conversation with an understanding from both sides that everyone feels good moving forward.

  • DavidMizelle1

    Pride is something we all struggle with and it gets in the way of a lot of healthy and positive things in our lives. Sometimes the best thing is admitting to yourself (and others) that you were in the wrong! Good post.

  • DavidMizelle1

    That’s definitely an interesting point. Hopefully we don’t put ourselves in the position where an apology doesn’t solve things! But, if it does happen, you certainly can’t force the other party to see things your way and have to move on and work with them to the best of your ability.

  • Emily Krueger

    I agree with the article that apologize can be hard for some people. I like how you shared the five ways for a good apologize. So next time when I need to said an apologize to some I will keep these five tips in the back of my mind.

  • afallon14

    I agree with you that it is hard to apologize for what I have done wrong in some situations. It has definitely affected some of my friendships but after reading this article it made it easier to know what I have to do in the future to avoid having any more problems.

  • Bjackson5

    Since a “good” apology comes from the “heart” it should be natural. By “coming from the heart” I mean in the most honest and sympathetic understanding an individual can obtain from any given situation. By “good apology” I mean most thorough to respect and the qualities of equal happiness.

  • purperoar21

    The overall theme of this article is to be straight up and honest with your apology. I think that is a big part in having a good apology. Nothing is worse than a apology that is followed by a made up excuse. If the excuse was plausible, you would not need to apologize. Also, I think leaving if and but out of an apology is also important, because they tend to be followed by a explanation trying to take the person away from the wrong doing they have done. Those who try to downplay what they have done makes it seem like they think they should not be apologizing, leading the persuade to not want to grant forgiveness.

  • barema28

    Exactly! Apologizing is hard to do. Taking responsibility is huge though and that is something I want to personally work on. But you’re right there is a shameful stigma to apologizing and that’s what makes it so difficult for people! Thanks for sharing

  • McKenzie Foster

    I can totally relate! I’m so stubborn that it will take me forever to apologize when I’ve done wrong or sometimes I won’t even bother to apologize! After reading this article though it really did open up my opinion about apologizing and helping me realize that I shouldn’t be scared to apologize.

  • Elaminsj25

    I know this article is specifically about working relationships but this applies to all relationships in life! It is so important to know how to put your pride aside and admit that you were wrong. I have no problem apologizing but after reading this article I see that I dont always apologize correctly. I never really like to take full responsibility for things. I always want to make it partially the other persons fault. And in most cases, it probably was the fault of both people. But I need to learn that it’s okay to just take responsibility for it and move on. I enjoyed the whole article but that really stuck out to me.

  • Storm Hurwitz

    I really enjoyed reading this article. Learning how to deliver a good apology is tough, but necessary. Having all of the steps lined out, as you have done in such a succinct manner, is great. I will use them the next time I need to apologize, in or outside of the workspace.