3 Types of Apology

Posted on April 18th, 2022

3 types of Apologies and key components on how to communicate being sorry to another person.


Remorse / Regret / Social Harmony

First type: REMORSE apology–>

You hurt someone or caused pain AND You were wrong for doing it.

Examples: 1. You took credit for someone else’s contribution. 2.You lied. 3. You broke the trust of someone or a group. 4. You spread gossip that wasn’t verifiable.

Second type: REGRET Apology–>

You hurt someone or caused pain AND You were NOT wrong for doing it.

Examples- 1. You had to fire one person on your team of four. All four bring equal returns and your budget has been reduced. You have no choice but to release one of the four and you are forced to make the choice on which of the four will be released.

2. You are playing a game and have to pick teammates. You have two friends left and one choice you can make. It is just a game. Right? Your choice may hurt a friend’s feelings but you still have to make a choice.

Third type: SOCIAL HARMONY Apology

You hurt someone or caused pain (whether you knew it or not) AND You do not think you were wrong.

Example: 1. You said something or made a decision about a situation or person without knowing all the pertinent points. 2. You made an assumption before having enough information but did not know other affected parties would be hurt by your statement or decision.


You have to stand up, step up and own your part in whatever situation or decision unfolded. Do not play blame games by offering that you were: tired, overwhelmed, distracted or coerced into doing what you did.

–> Be direct and firm in phrasing that you are responsible.

–> Use “I” statements about what you did and reinforce that you intend to avoid doing it again. Avoid trying to explain how you know how they feel about things. You may be able to relate by way of empathy but you cannot imagine how they feel from what you did but you can share how you think you would.

–> Insist on doing something (making reparations) to make up for

the pain you have caused

consider offering that you know they did not deserve what you did

repairing the damage you made

replacing what you have broken

***How you own your mistake and how you invest in repairing it will directly affect the ability to salvage the relationship you are working on.



In any given conflict or dispute, someone feels like the victim (princess), someone feels like the hero (knight), and something (dragon) bad caused the whole thing.

When you think of the conflict you are in, think of your role. Are you the princess, the knight or the dragon. Whichever role you play, try to imagine your role from a different perspective. If you were the princess (victim), try to imagine yourself as the knight (hero).

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is that ability to consider and appreciate someone else’s circumstances, viewpoints and stressors without having actually experienced the same thing they are sharing with you.

Many believe the EI doesn’t come naturally. People develop their EI as they move through life experiences.

Here is wonderful resource to better understand Emotional Intellgence: https://professional.dce.harvard.edu/blog/how-to-improve-your-emotional-intelligence/

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