Personal Accountability and Responsibility

Personal Accountability and Responsibility by Dr. Randy Gilchrist, LDS Psychologist FREE Online Dating

Today in the 2020s, a common problem and challenge is people not being accountable and responsible when they fail, make bad decisions, or otherwise “drop the ball”. We regularly see politicians, actors, media personalities, and other “rich, popular, and/or important” people avoid consequences for theft, lies, infidelity, assault, and other poor choices in a very public way. These poor examples have trickled down to regular people who also commonly work to avoid responsibility as well for poor choices. Courts have also been working to be soft on criminals, letting them out early from prison or allowing them to avoid prison altogether, thus adding to the problem. All of this is a problem for society.

Privately and interpersonally, people often carry on this theme of avoiding responsibility through minimizing, denying, and blaming away accountability for poor choices. Apologies have become rare today. In their place, justification, rationalizations, and other words are often given in their place to somehow excuse or exonerate themselves of poor choices. In dating and marriage relationships, such trends are dangerous and often lead to resentment, contention, and potential break ups. Therefore, it is important to “buck the trend” and be more appropriately responsible and accountable for faults, poor choices, and mistakes when problems occur.

Ideas to Become More Responsible in Relationships:

*Give strong apologies: When you know you are in the wrong, please apologize quickly. Using the phrase, “I apologize” is stronger than just saying, “I’m sorry”, which sounds less sincere. Show some empathy to demonstrate an understanding of how your choice impacted the other person. Commit to making better choices in the future. And please, do not apologize while adding qualifier words like “but”, “however”, “that being said”. Such words disqualify and discount the apology given, and sound like a creative way to still excuse oneself and rationalize the choice, or even worse, blame another.

A decent outline that you can use for an apology is as follows:

1) I apologize for _______ (whatever the specific offense was)
2) Because _______ (why you are apologizing; meaning, what you hope to accomplish by apologizing)
3) I understand _______ (how your choice impacted the other person)
4) So therefore, I apologize.
5) And I commit from here on out to_______ (make what better/improved choices in the future)

*Freely admit mistakes: When you make a choice that hurts or otherwise negatively impacts the other person, admit it quickly and often. The best way to admit a mistake is as soon as you realize it, hopefully before the other person says something about it. And if the other person does ask you about your poor choice or even accuse you, please just own it. “Yes, I did that and I apologize”. Such a response will go a lot better than, “no I didn’t”, “well I only did that because you”, or “if you wouldn’t have done_______, I wouldn’t have_______”.

*Improve your self-talk and empathy: When you are in a conflict, having a problem or challenge, and/or are having a difference of opinion with another, practice asking yourself some key self-reflective questions. This can help create your own inner accountability and personal responsibility. For instance, you can ask yourself the following kinds of questions:

--What (if anything) did I do wrong here?
--If I were in the other person’s shoes, would I be upset at me?
--What part of the fault is mine?
--What could I have done better or differently here to help get a better result?
--What is a better way I could have handled that?
--If I could go through this whole situation again, what could I have done better or differently?
--Is there anything here that I could have done but didn’t?

Any of these kinds of questions help you to become clear about your role (or potential or partial role) in a conflict or a problem. And when you identify and focus on your role in the equation, now you are empowered to make better choices and improve the situation. Think about it: if you never accept and own your fault and part in problems, how could you ever change and improve how you approach them in the future? You couldn’t. You wouldn’t. Therefore, the more you take true and appropriate accountability and responsibility for your choices and roles in problems, you benefit both yourself and others involved in the situation.

Final Thoughts:

To not accept personal accountability and responsibility is, unfortunately, the way of the world today. Blame can then be passed off onto others. But then somewhere inside a person still has to live with the fact that they caused part or even all of the problem. And having to live with a guilty, unsettled conscience just isn’t worth the price. Please practice both owning and correcting your role in problems. You will better help the situation, you will gain more respect and appreciation from others, and you will have a better conscience inside. Such a positive trait will help you in your relationships with everyone, but especially a future spouse. And remember that “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Dr. G
P.S. If you have any questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at

2024-04-22 Randy Gilchrist

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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