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Respectfully Yours: Sincerity key in apology to relative

Dear Jacquelyn,

I made a big mistake and I need to apologize to a close family member. I feel terrible because I unintentionally hurt my relative’s feelings. I’m terribly embarrassed about my actions and I don’t know how to make an apology. How can I attempt to repair the relationship?

Dear Reader,

Apologizing takes courage. It’s very difficult to admit we said or did something wrong.

By owning up to your mistake, you open a dialog with the other person. That way you can reflect on and take responsibility for your actions.

Making this amends to your family member will go a long way, helping you to be a better person, healing the wound of the person you wronged, and repairing the relationship.

Crafting an apology that can make the person you’ve hurt feel better is no small feat. You can’t undo what you did, but you can show you want to repair the relationship.

Sincerity is key. Gather your thoughts ahead of time because apologies tend to be highly emotional and your mind can go blank.

To start, you simply must tell the other person that you’re sorry for what you did. For example: “I’m sorry. I realize I hurt your feelings.” Accept responsibility and offer to make the situation right.

If you aren’t sure how to make it right, just ask, “Is there anything I can do to make this up to you?” Whatever you do, don’t make excuses.

Including an excuse will come across as insincere. Trying to do this will show you don’t feel that you were in the wrong.

Occasionally, we all say or do something that, depending upon our mood, hurts others either accidentally or intentionally. A person of very high moral principles understands the importance of admitting when he or she is wrong.

Respectfully Yours,


Have a question? Email: jacquelyn@ptd.net. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation.

All Rights Reserved &Copy; 2021 Jacquelyn Youst