Giving Apologies

Giving Apologies by Dr. Randy Gilchrist, LDS Psychologist (FREE LDS online dating site)

An apology is, by definition, "a regretful acknowledgement of an offense or failure". A couple of scriptures supporting the concept of apologies are as follows:

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
--Matthew 5:9

"For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin."
--Psalms 38:18

Most of us learned growing up that when we wrong another, we should apologize, such as for hitting, for stealing, for saying hurtful words, etc. Our parent(s) would say something like, "now you tell him (or her) that you are sorry", or "now you apologize right now". Often this dictate would be followed by a begrudging "sorry" by the child in a half hearted manner, followed by the parent reiterating, "no, say it again and mean it". An apology would then be given by the child with a little more sincerity in the tone of voice, and the matter would be over for a while. Most parents seem to understand the value and necessity of apologies from their children. Apologies heal, mend, reconnect, and allow relationships to go forward in a positive manner.

Ironically, these childish apologies are often better when compared to the apologies (or lack thereof) that we adults give in our grown up relationships. Often, we adults simply refuse to apologize or use the opportunity to apologize to simply argue more, further blame the other, and/or or justify ourselves. We even have our own form of an insincere apology full of pride and self justification, which basically goes like this: "I apologize for _____, but…", or "yes, you were right about that, however…". "But…" statements, "however…", "be that as it may…", and "that being said…" are all discounting statements. Such statements basically disqualify that nice first part of the statement and minimize an apology sounded like and being taken as real or genuine.

So now that poor apologies have been reviewed, it is now time to review what a good, ideal apology looks like:

Giving a Good Apology

A good quality apology begins with positive, genuine, sincere warmth in one's tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions. If you are not sure how you look and sound in these ways, you may wish to video tape yourself giving a hypothetical apology to someone and then decide for yourself: if someone were apologizing to me like this, how would I take it? If poorly, make the adjustments with these attributes until you look and act genuine and sincere. Then, when you have an awareness and a refinement in your nonverbals, the next important aspect of a good apology is the words you say. An excellent 5-step general apology outline you can always use and refer to that covers all of the main necessary bases is as follows:

1) I apologize for__________.
2) Because__________.
3) I understand__________.
4) So therefore, I apologize.
5) And I agree from now on to__________.

In step 1, you are clear and specific about what you are apologizing for, such as for calling a person a bad name. In step 2, you express what it is ideally that you are hoping to accomplish by apologizing, such as because you "want to get along again" or "get past this". In step 3, you express some empathy, validation, and understanding of how your choice effected the other person and/or where they were coming from. For instance, "I understand that this really hurt your feelings" (again, do NOT follow this up with a "but…" statement. In step 4, you reiterate that you are apologizing. And finally in step 5, you state how you will try to approach any similar situations or circumstances that may arise in the future in a certain better, healthier fashion.

Apologies are peacemaking, are Christ-like, and are essential to promote forgiveness, peace, and happiness in marriage and in relationships in general. So therefore, I highly recommend apologizing whenever needed in your relationships and to be a peacekeeper. Sacrifice your pride for the sake of getting along. It is worth it. Because "…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11).

Dr. G
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2016-09-12 Randy Gilchrist Healthy relationships, Communication, Conflict resolution, Psychological health, Spirituality

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About the author

Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (, practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at; email me questions to