Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What do You Need to Hear to Believe an Apology is Sincere?

In November I wrote about my discovery of the book The Five Languages of Apology. Today I want to share a recent experience that illustrates how the languages work and how they can help you achieve more healing in the relationships in your life.

We had a play date at our house with a couple of Tyler and Alyssa's friends. One child came to me to tell me that another child said something that really hurt his feelings. The offender responded with, "I said I was sorry."

Image: Arvind Balaraman /
So, with my knowledge of the five languages of apology, I asked the offended child, "Your friend said he was sorry, but it seems like that is not enough to make you feel better. What do you need to hear?"

The offended child replied, "That he will never do it again."

Oh my gosh! Out of the mouths of babes comes this profound, but basic language! This language is straight out of the book -- and it was spoken by a nine-year-old who has never read the book. That's how spot on this concept is! I didn't need it, but I've got to say, this whole experience was further proof to me that this five languages of apology stuff really works!

What the offended child communicated was that he needed to hear the offending party genuinely repent for the offense. That is language number four according to the book. Genuinely repenting means saying, "I'll try not to do that again."

I asked the offender if he could make that promise, which he easily did ... and off they went!

I can't say enough about this concept. How many times has someone apologized to you, but the apology didn't make you feel better? If that was the case, it could be a simple language barrier. If we could all be more aware of these five languages of apology, we could be experiencing much more healing and joy in our lives on a daily basis!


  1. Thank you for this great example of our concept. May I please share this on my blog? I will, of course, link back to your blog. I'm at BTW, I'm in NC. What state are you in?

    1. Jennifer, I would be honored. I believe what you are teaching with this book is truly life changing! I first heard the show on Focus on the Family. Then I had to get the book! I have already taught this concept to the 8th grade students at my son's school -- because I believe we all need to learn how to apologize from a very early age! I plan to continue to do more with this topic, including sharing it with my clients! P.S. I am in the Chicago area.