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How to Apologize to Someone Without Verbally Saying That You're Sorry

by S. Grey

"I'm sorry" may be the most common form of apology, but you can apologize to others without uttering a word. Your actions and generosity can demonstrate apologies in unspoken ways. Send flowers or show remorse to nonverbally offer an apology. While hearing the words "I'm sorry" offers validation to those hurt by your actions, that statement is not the only way to show someone that you truly are sorry for your behavior.

Give Flowers

Flowers engage at least three senses -- sight, smell and touch -- and can be used to demonstrate many feelings, including regret. Any flower may work, especially the favorite flower of the person to whom you are apologizing. If you want a flower that carries the meaning of apology, look to the hydrangea. These flowers come in shades of blue, pink and purple, and they are bountiful and vibrant.

Offer Compensation

Compensation can be used to express apology as a nonverbal form of repayment. If you feel you have hurt another's feelings, do something for her. According to a December 2010 article in "Psychology Today," offers of compensation are one of the three essential components of an apology. To render compensation nonverbal, forego asking what you can do that would equate to an apology and instead perform a task that she needs to have done. This could mean doing more of the chores, if you live with her, or doing an unasked favor, if she is a friend or relative.

Show Remorse

Part of a verbal apology is demonstrating that you have been affected by hurting someone else; wordless remorse can demonstrate this as well. According to a "Greater Good" article from fall of 2004, apologies must encompass an expression of remorse, shame or humility in order to be effective. By showing someone you've hurt that his pain elicited feelings of regret in you, you illustrate that you care for him and did not wish to hurt him intentionally.

Make Something

Using your talents to make food or crafts is a creative way to offer a nonverbal apology. Make something that is significant to the person receiving your mea culpa. Creating something shows that you care enough to make something just for her. For instance, if you know she loves apples, make a homemade apple pie. If she enjoys crafty items, fashion something like soap or body lotion to provide a physically soothing element to your apology.

About the Author

S. Grey has a Master of Science in counseling psychology from the University of Central Arkansas. He is also pursuing a PhD and has a love for psychology, comic books and social justice. He has been published in a text on social psychology and regularly presents research at regional psychology conferences.

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