I’m not sure when or how to apologize for something I did. Can you help?

Usually you will know in your heart when you should apologize. Typically you will feel badly if you said or did something that hurt someone else. Sometimes you may not know that you did anything wrong right away. It may take a while for you to realize it. Admitting that you were wrong and apologizing for your behavior can often settle an argument or take away the hurt that you may have caused someone-even if you didn’t mean to. Other times, it may take a while and more talking for the other person to accept your apology.

Depending on the situation, you may need to simply say that you’re sorry or you may also need to explain why you did what you did. An apology might sound something like this:

I’m sorry. I should have come home before my curfew. Can you give me another chance? I want you to be able to trust me.

I’m very sorry for hurting your feelings.

I’m sorry. I should have been more careful when I borrowed your _____.

I’m not sure why I lied to you, but I want to make things right between us.

There will be times when saying you’re sorry doesn’t necessarily make things better. It could take time for a friend to want to hang out with you again or for an adult to trust you again. You may decide to wait it out and see if things get better with time, or you may realize that it’s too complicated.  There are other times when you might apologize to someone and their reaction is very harsh, even threatening. No matter what you are apologizing for, it doesn’t mean you deserve to be the victim of someone else’s anger. If this should happen, tell a parent or a trusted adult such as a teacher, counselor, or your health care provider right away.