Now that we’ve established that we should apologize for our own good, here are some tips to make sure it goes over smoothly!

1. Do it quickly! An apology that is given as soon as you realize a mistake is prone to be much more heartfelt than one that is put off and ignored for some time (I know this from experience), though you should be calm and prepared for a bit of backlash if the wound is still fresh.

2. Be sincere. If your intentions aren’t 100% positive, you might as well not apologize. Think about what you really want from the apology– if it’s just to get someone back on your good side and you lack true remorse, they will probably see right through your facade. Through deception, you’ll end up making things worse for yourself.

3. Make your “sorry”s count! For many people, sorry has become a meaningless word, as often thrown around as “Bless you” after a sneeze. If you’re constantly apologizing for things like…oh…coughing, your efforts lose emphasis.

4.Curb your bad habits. If you’re regularly committing the same offense, apologizing for it will do nothing. This may go along with being sincere, but with the addendum that you take care to change destructive habits.

5. Forgive Yourself. This one is just for you, dear reader. If you have sincerely apologized to the best of your ability as soon as you realize you were in the wrong and are determined to change your course, let the anger you have directed at yourself go. You might think that beating yourself up over your mistake will do you or the one you have wronged some good, but it honestly won’t. In fact, I believe you are more forgivable when you are at peace with yourself.

Have any anecdotes or further advice? I’d love to hear them!