Ditching plans that you have made with your girlfriend is a nearly guaranteed way to get yourself into some hot water. To mitigate the potential damage of your actions, you will want to provide an effective and sincere apology. While apologizing cannot undo your actions, it will demonstrate your care and affection for your girlfriend, while also showing your remorse. Apologizing is often not an easy task, but when done properly, it can go a long way to mend a wrong.
The Elements of An Effective and Sincere Apology
Make a clear statement of remorse by telling your girlfriend that you are sorry for having ditched pre-arranged plans to spend time with her. It is important that you clearly and explicitly state what it is that you are sorry for and that you are, indeed, sorry. Avoid getting off topic by providing reasons or explanations, as these may be viewed as excuses and will undermine the sincerity of your apology. Do your best to honestly acknowledge your mistake and to express sincere remorse.
Ask your girlfriend to forgive you. It is important that you do not rush this stage of an apology. Although you ultimately do want your girlfriend's forgiveness, asking too early can make your request for forgiveness appear flippant or rushed and can make your girlfriend think you just want the problem to be over and dealt with or that you do not fully appreciate how you have hurt or upset her.
Empathize with your girlfriend's feelings. Ditching plans with someone can make her feel uncared for, neglected, ignored or abandoned. Offering an effective and sincere apology will be greatly aided by your ability to understand how your actions have made your girlfriend feel. By empathizing with your girlfriend, you will be able to tailor your apology specifically to how she is feeling as a result of your actions. It is important when you are apologizing to express not only what you have done wrong, but also your understanding of why what you did was wrong and how it contributed to hurting your girlfriend's feelings.
Offer to make amends for your actions. If it is possible to reschedule the same activity, make a sincere attempt to express your interest in doing so. If the plans that you ditched cannot be rescheduled, acknowledge how this contributes to your girlfriend's feelings and ask if there are any alternative plans that she would like to make with you instead. Be sure that you do not ditch these plans as well. Asking someone to forgive you for ditching plans once, or at least very infrequently, is more likely to meet with success than repeatedly having to ask for forgiveness due to constantly ditching plans with your girlfriend.
- Four Principles of Effective Apologies: Cat Saunders
- Journal of Experimental Social Psychology: Better late than early: The influence of timing on apology effectiveness
- Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Interpersonal Forgiving in Close Relationships: II. Theoretical Elaboration and Measurement
- 5 Steps to An Effective Apology
- Journal of Psycholinguistic Research: How Effective Are the Things People Say to Apologize? Effects of the Realization of the Apology Speech Act
- If you do find that you are frequently ditching plans with your girlfriend to do other things, it is worth it to consider the reasons why you are doing this. Not wanting to spend time with your girlfriend may be indicative that you do not want to be in the relationship any longer. Alternatively, it may indicate that there is something going on in the relationship that you are trying to avoid. Be honest with yourself and with your girlfriend, otherwise you will just continue to hurt her feelings and damage your relationship.
Karen L. Blair has been professionally writing since 2001. Her work has been published in academic journals such as the "Journal of Sex Research," "Journal of Social and Personal Relationships" and "Psychology & Sexuality." Blair received her M.Sc. in psychology at Acadia University and her Ph.D. in social psychology at Queen's University. She is currently a post-doctoral fellow and research consultant.