Imagine a loved one hurt you.

If they said, “I was wrong, and I regret not listening to you more carefully,” would it feel sincere to you?

What if they said, “I’m going to make it up to you”?

Your preference for what sounds sincere has to do with your apology language.

I recently wrote about the love languages. Those show that there are many different ways to communicate love. The same is true for communicating that you’re sorry. That’s where the apology languages come in!

These are the apology languages:

  • Expressing regret: When the person tells you they feel bad for not doing right by you. 
    • Sounds like: “I’m sorry I ______. I wish I hadn’t done that.”
  • Accepting responsibility: When they acknowledge the blame they hold for the wrongdoing, and the negative effects they’re responsible for.
    • Sounds like: “I know what I did really hurt you, and I was wrong. I should have  ____ instead.”
  • Making Restitution: An offer to make things right. 
    • Sounds like: “I’d like to make it up to you by recovering what I made you miss out on.”
  • Genuinely Repenting: Acknowledging that they did the wrong thing and expressing a sincere desire to change
    • Sounds like: “I don’t like what I did, and I’m going to ______ from now on.”
  • Requesting Forgiveness: Asking for forgiveness, and thus giving the hurt person the power to make that decision.
    • Sounds like: “I’m so sorry. Could you possibly forgive me?”

Knowing someone’s apology language helps us understand how to show them we’re sorry.

Oftentimes, if you apologize in a language the person doesn’t share, it won’t feel like an apology to them. That’s why this tool can be so powerful in helping us communicate with those we love.

Take the apology language test here to find out what yours is.

How would knowing your own apology language help you better understand yourself? 

By Matt Burton