A Southern Girl's Guide to Apologizing

"You’ve hurt someone; it’s just that simple and that complicated. If a relationship is worth mending (which, according to my brother, would be nearly everyone – “You should never just cut people out of your life”), then an apology is necessary.

Start with the words "I'm sorry," which are powerful in and of themselves. Then move on to something bigger.

A good apology is in person. No, it's not easy. There are many, notably easier, outlets for communication. But, I'm over it. Don't put you're apology in the same place where someone receives "today's daily deals". Don't put your apology next to a Groupon.

It takes emotional courage to pick up the phone and call someone, or talk to them face to face. Hearing someone's voice, seeing the look on their face, pausing to catch your breath because the words are too hard to say - that is what makes it real. It's honest, and awkward, but it makes an apology a conversation.

A good apology is selfless. Stop thinking about yourself, because chances are, thinking about yourself is probably what got you into this mess in the first place. If you still feel the need to defend yourself or make excuses, don’t bother apologizing at all. This is the easiest way to go from having hurt someone, to royally pissing them off.

A good apology is timely. Don’t wait. Chances are the guilt and hard feelings will do nothing but continue to build with the increasing amount of time that passes. You have the best chance at mending a relationship if you practice honesty and humility from the get-go.

With all of that said, a good apology happens. An apology, any apology, is good. It's easy to blame someone for not saying the right things in the right way at the right time. But, the sheer fact that an apology has been offered means something. "

This is part 1 in a 2 part series. Part two is titled A Southern Girls Guide to Forgiveness. It will be published next Wednesday!

[ Sarah Cutler is a native of Alpharetta, Georgia. She is currently a senior at the University of San Diego studying Communications and Philosophy.

The last time she apologized was to to her parents for a series of car related issues.  You know, the usual ... “Sorry for leaving my GPS out in a visible position. Sorry someone shattered my window and stole it. Sorry for that $33 parking ticket. Sorry I hit a wall while trying to park.” She did it over the phone.]

This is the third installment of A Girls Guide. The first was 'A Navy Girl's Guide to Goal Setting', followed by a 'A Brazilian Girl's Guide to Adventure'


  1. Very good advice, and I agree wholeheartedly.

  2. man i love this. and man i hate apologizing.

  3. Such a great reminder, even if it's a big pill. Thanks for sharing :)

  4. Excellent -- well done. I agree completely. I try to apply all of these when I apologize and although I'm not quick to take offense, always feel a bit slighted when someone apologizing to me doesn't expend the same effort.

  5. Kimia : Me too, and I'm not very good at it. I once, unfortunately, ruined a friendship because of it. I found Sarah's advice so helpful I had to share it!


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