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Respectfully Yours: Apologies a two-way street

Dear Jacquelyn,

My dear friend and I had a fall-out. She would like to meet up and apologize in person. I want to reestablish a good friendship with her, but I know I will feel uncomfortable during this discussion. How do I gracefully respond to her apology?

Dear Reader,

It takes humility to own up to a mistake, but it also takes humility to accept an apology after you’ve been hurt.

Obviously, this friendship is very important to you and you want to salvage it. Even though it’s difficult, accepting her apology gives you both the opportunity to start with a clean slate.

Forgiveness is a powerful thing, but it is not always easy. When a close friend causes us pain, it hurts even more. In order to heal the friendship and get back on track, it’s important to be sincerely ready and open to her apology.

The good news is there are ways to handle such a sticky situation with grace.

When it’s time to meet up with your friend, your first gracious act is to just listen. Give her the opportunity to speak without interruption.

When it’s your turn to contribute to the conversation just be sure you choose your words wisely to avoid sounding disingenuous.

For example: “I appreciate your apology. I was upset and I’m glad you understand that. Let’s move on.”

Or: “We all make mistakes. I accept your apology.”

If you took part in the conflict even if it seems minimal, take responsibility for your behavior. Tell your friend: “Thanks for apologizing. I wish you hadn’t said those things to me, but I also wish I hadn’t responded the way I did.”

Apologies are a two-way street. It requires both people to be humble and put pride aside.

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