Tips On How To Ask For Forgiveness When You Mess Up Big Time

Learning how to ask for forgiveness from someone is a weird and complicated process. You are basically putting yourself at the mercy of someone you have deeply hurt and hoping that they somehow forgive you and accept that it’s all good. 

Sounds crazy, but it’s truly possible if you truly give a meaningful apology.

There is no right or wrong way to learn how to apologize to someone you hurt deeply. And just saying a simple ‘sorry’ through a text message isn’t going to cut it (no matter how much you want it to). No matter how regretful or remorseful you feel, crying emojis you use, or how heartfelt your voice sounds. 

Honest apologies, the ones that actually work, come from the deepest corners of your heart. You only learn how to ask for forgiveness when you face your vulnerable self and expose and accept your flaws

The art of learning how to apologize to someone you have deeply hurt is a combination of empathy, good communication, and truthfulness. Even if you are apologizing for something small, it’s still a pretty big deal emotionally for the other person. Plus, there’s always the part where you have to regain the lost trust of the person you’ve hurt. 

While there are no sufficient answers to ‘how can I ask for forgiveness,’ if you’re honest and speak your heart out, things will hopefully turn out fine. Here are the most efficient and non-intimidating tips to help you learn how to ask for forgiveness from someone you have hurt. Let’s dive in.

How Do You Ask For Forgiveness Genuinely?

how to ask for forgiveness

1. At the very first step, decide if you really want to apologize. 

One of the first tips on how to apologize for hurting someone you love is to understand whether you really feel guilty or not. Analyze your situation, probably. Maybe you feel like you haven’t done anything wrong, even if the other person feels upset with you. If this is the case, stick to your opinion no matter what. 

But if you decide that you really want to learn how to apologize to someone you hurt, then be genuinely selfless. Don’t discuss how difficult this situation is for you or how you feel. An apology is about the person you’ve knowingly or unknowingly wronged. So focus on them. 

2. Dig deep into your true feelings.

The next step in how to ask for forgiveness from anyone is to take some time with yourself to really put your thoughts into words or actions. It’s vital that you make the correct assumption of the situation and understand how you are feeling before learning how to apologize to someone you have hurt. 

You need to understand what happened, why and how you are responsible for the situation, and how the other person feels. If you go in without thinking things through, you might make things worse.  

3. Acknowledge the other person’s feelings. 

Most of the time, when people are hurt or angry, they don’t really care about your apology. We don’t mean to say that apologies aren’t necessary. But what’s really essential for people is that you understand their pain

Therefore, another essential tip in learning how to apologize to someone you have hurt unintentionally or intentionally is to understand and acknowledge the other person’s feelings. Even if you don’t understand their hurt initially, taking your time to know where they’re coming from will only make the whole process easier for you.

Ask for Forgiveness

4. Accept your mistakes. 

There’s no answer to ‘how do you apologize to someone’ without telling you the importance of genuinely owning up to your mistakes. There’s no apology before this acceptance. Therefore, learn to take responsibility for your actions and accept where you went wrong. 

Proper communication is the key to properly apologizing to someone. Living in denial about your actions and their impact on people will only worsen things for you. Once you admit your mistakes (genuinely), you give the other person one more reason to take steps to forgive you. 

5. Be extremely mindful of the tone you’re using. 

When you’re learning how to ask for forgiveness, it’s imperative to understand the importance of your tone. 

Use your natural tone. Any imbalance can hamper your ability to apologize appropriately. If you overcompensate and put a facade of remorse in your tone or try to downplay the gravity of the situation by keeping it too casual, you will only worsen things. 

The tone of your apology is a highly essential part of your apology. Therefore, keeping a neutral or natural tone is the apt way forward. 

6. Don’t rush the whole process. 

Heartfelt and genuine apologies take time. Therefore, rather than rushing into the process and hoping to finish it as soon as possible, let things go with the flow. 

We always have this temptation to apologize as soon as possible. However, without thinking things through, you might go in with inadequate emotions or residual anger, making the whole process even messier. 

Additionally, if you force your apology on the other person, they might feel it’s an attempt to push things through and move on. 

Therefore, always remember that a genuine apology only comes when you have understood your mistake and the person you have wronged understands and accepts what has happened. Putting a timeline on the process isn’t going to help. 

7. Listen and then listen again and again… 

The process of learning how to ask a friend or loved one for forgiveness includes listening. Listen to what the person you’ve hurt wants to stay, even if it means sitting on the hot seat and listening to your mistakes. 

And these conversations take time. They aren’t going to happen in one go. Therefore, give them the required time and always be open to listening more. There’s nothing better you can do for the person you’ve hurt than lending them an empathetic ear. 

8. Prepare a heartfelt and genuine apology in advance, if possible.

Learning how to apologize to someone you have deeply hurt is all about the right communication. And not all of us communicate in the same way. Therefore, it’s always helpful to go over what you really want to say before getting to the actual apologizing part. 

If your apology is in person, try practicing what you will say beforehand. If it’s in writing, show the rough draft to someone you can trust. Full-proofing what you’re going to say can make the process smoother.

However, this does not mean you memorize your apology and robotically utter those words without feelings when the time comes. You only need to understand what you are going to say. Don’t be ready for an open mic. 

9. Be highly specific and detailed in your apology.  

The mere declaration that you’re sorry isn’t going to cut it for the other person, unfortunately. Therefore, another practical tip on how to ask for forgiveness is to be highly detail-oriented and specific in your apology. Be vulnerable and explain where and how you went wrong. We understand that it can be really painful for you, but that’s what will make your apology sound genuine. 

Once you are done apologizing, telling the other person how you will never repeat your actions is essential. 

In case you don’t have details or can’t understand where exactly you’ve messed up, accepting those facts will also help. 

10. Let your actions speak as well. 

There’s no point in just using your words for an apology if you aren’t going to follow through with your actions. Therefore, once you have learned how to ask for forgiveness in a relationship or even with a stranger, you must convey your genuineness using your actions as well. 

It’s essential that you don’t just slide back to your original behaviors. If you do so, that’s just basically telling the affected person how insincere your apology was. 

Here’s What Not To Do While Learning How To Apologize To Someone You Love.

While those were tips on how to apologize for hurting someone you love, there are some don’ts for the process that you’ll also need to learn. 

There are a few hallmarks of the worst apologies. For instance, giving a reason for your mistakes or justifying why you did what you did is definitely a big NO. Therefore, try not to use the following phrases:

  • “Sorry if …”
  • “Sorry, but …” 
  • “Sorry in case …”

Additionally, do not use words like unfortunately, regrettably, etc. 

Simply put, any statement that blames the whole situation on the person you’ve hurt will only make the situation worse. 

It’s very normal and human to point out that we are also hurt. However, that’s a separate conversation to have. When you ask for forgiveness, the affected person’s feelings are the sole focus. 


Learning how to ask for forgiveness is one of the most important life lessons we are taught early on in life. Unfortunately, these teachings don’t really follow up with us as we grow up. When the moment comes, we all wonder, ‘How can I ask for forgiveness?’ 

The best way to apologize to someone you’ve hurt is to simply accept your mistakes and try your best to convey your honest feelings. These ten tips on how to apologize to someone you have hurt deeply will hopefully help you get started in the right direction. 

While apologizing for your mistakes is essential, learning how to forgive people is a different ball game altogether. Here are some tips on how to forgive people

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