How to offer a kickass apology

How to offer a kickass apology (even when you don’t want to)


We all say stuff we regret when we’re upset, tired, stressed or triggered. One helpful tool for repairing these miscommunications before they explode into something bigger is taking responsibility and repairing with a kickass apology.

Some examples:

  • You got home from work really stressed and snapped at your partner about something minor – that moment escalated into a nasty fight.
  • You’re distracted so when your partner starts telling you about their day you aren’t paying attention and you don’t offer them the support and empathy they are looking for. 
  • You criticized your partner rather than sharing your own feelings and needs.

Even if you feel responsible for only 5 percent of what went wrong between you and the other person – take responsibility for that 5 percent! Sometimes, taking responsibility will look like changing your actions. But it may also look like an apology. 

Offering an apology is a skill that can be fine-tuned. 


Here’s 3 simple steps to a kickass apology.


  1. Be specific. The more specific you can be the better. Instead of just “I’m sorry,” say, “I’m sorry I left a pile of dishes in the sink.”


  1. Validate your partner’s feelings! Don’t just say “I’m sorry.” Say, “I’m sorry I left a pile of dishes in the sink. I know that drives you crazy. I get why you’re upset.


  1. Now that you’ve said I’m sorry,  follow up with open-ended questions about how your partner is feeling, what they need, and what their understanding of the situation is. This keeps the conversation and dialogue open rather than shutting it down.


Now, try it yourself.

Think of a recent episode in which you let your partner down or your partner expressed they felt upset with you. 


Now think of what you can take responsibility for.


Use the guide below to write down what you could say in this situation next time to defuse tension and help your partner feel heard and loved.


The situation: 



I’m taking responsibility for:


My kickass apology: 



If you and your partner could use more help in communicating better, repairing hurtful fights and deepening your intimacy, feel free to reach out for a free consultation.