Uh-oh. You messed up, and now your boyfriend, relative or best friend is really mad at you. Do you even know why? Dr. Romance explains how to figure out what's wrong and resolve the anger.

Dr. Romance’s 4 Steps: How to apologize

1. Surrender to your responsibility. When you become aware that you have made a mistake, admit it and apologize. Use it as an opportunity to learn and grow. You don’t have to be afraid of punishment or rejection – apologizing makes it easier to be forgiven.

2. Don’t be afraid to admit you're wrong. This fear comes from a culture of blaming and accusing -- where your early family or schoolmates may have picked a "culprit" when something went wrong, and focused on blame, rather than on fixing the problem and healing the hurt. Don’t approach every situation as if you're on trial, and don’t compulsively try to convince everyone you're not guilty. Apology and subsequent forgiveness is stress-releasing, and healthy for the relationship, which turns out to be healthy for the participants in the relationship. Relationships which include healthy apology and forgiveness are less stressful, more supportive, and therefore healthier for the individuals within them.

3. Follow the following pattern for apology: * Admit your mistake: Speak directly to the person to whom you need to apologize.* State what you did (so the person knows you’re aware)* Say you’re sorry* Do a re-take: Describe what change you’ll make to fix it, and so it won’t happen again * Say “I hope you can forgive me.”

4. If that doesn’t work, ask the other person what he or she wants you to apologize for (in case you misunderstood your mistake)

Following these steps should work. Don't expect the person you're apologizing to to forgive completely and instantly. Give it a few days, and then see how the other person is feeling.

Excerpted from: It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction

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For low-cost counseling, email me to tina@tinatessina.com

Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.