Apologizing and admitting that you done something wrong can be difficult. It's even harder when you must apologize to an important loved one, such as a boyfriend, and you must do it from a distance. Although long-distance relationships can be successful, one of the main challenges faced by long-distance couples is effective communication. Without the reinforcement of body language, you and your partner may suffer from miscommunication when attempting to converse when you're not in the same room. If you need to apologize to your long-distance boyfriend, it will help to understand the basic elements of an effective apology so you can deliver the apology clearly using the forms of communication available to you.
Provide an Effective and Sincere Apology
Make a clear statement to your boyfriend that acknowledges your regret for whatever transpired. Be clear in stating that you regret the occurrence and in naming precisely what you are apologizing for. An apology that does not clearly state what you are sorry for may lack credibility and will not be as effective as one that clearly states the issue. When apologizing from a distance, you can write your boyfriend a letter or email, make a phone call or make a video call. Keep in mind that an apology made through chat or text is subject to misunderstanding.
Request forgiveness from your boyfriend. Part of an apology is acknowledging that you have done something wrong and you would like the other person to acknowledge your regret and forgive you for your transgression. Making a clear request for forgiveness can help make your apology more effective.
Express empathy toward your boyfriend. Try to imagine what your boyfriend might be feeling as a result of whatever transgression has transpired. By expressing your understanding and acknowledgement of his feelings, you will validate his feelings and demonstrate that you understand the consequences of your actions. Empathy can be difficult to express from a distance. Without visual cues and body language, you may have a hard time determining how your boyfriend is feeling. To get some hints, try talking about the problem through video chat, where you can see his facial expressions, or seek advice from friends and family who may be able to help you understand how someone in his position might feel.
Offer some form of compensation to your boyfriend. In other words, offer to make things right. Sometimes the best way to do this is to directly ask what you could do to remedy the situation and make him feel better. Offering to make things right lets your boyfriend know that you value him and your relationship. It is important, however, to balance your offer of reconciliation and compensation with recognition that you cannot erase or undo what has been done. The best way to make things right is to try to do something related to the transgression. For example, if you forgot your anniversary, do something special to acknowledge your relationship and what it means to you. Matching the apology to the transgression will make it more effective. Trying to make up for something may be challenging in a long-distance relationship - be creative coming up with ideas for what might make him feel better.
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- Cat Saunders: Four Principles of Effective Apology
- Pick the Brain: 5 Steps to an Effective Apology
- Journal of Experimental Social Psychology: Better Late than Early: The Influence of Timing on Apology Effectiveness
- Journal of Psycholinguistic Research: How Effective Are the Things People Say to Apologize? Effects of the Realization of the Apology Speech Act
- Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Interpersonal Forgiving in Close Relationships: II. Theoretical Elaboration and Measurement
- Journal of Pragmatics: Social Distance and Speech Behavior: The Case of Indirect Complaints
- When Distance Is Problematic: Communication, Coping, and Relational Satisfaction in Female College Students' Long-Distance Dating Relationships
- In Times of Uncertainty: Predicting the Survival of Long-Distance Relationships
- Even if your boyfriend is also to blame for the issue, focus on your own role in the situation and make your own apology, without expectation of or demand for an apology in return.
- Make your apology clear and avoid bringing up other, unrelated topics.
- Apologizing can be very difficult, so do not rush your apology. An apology offered too soon may seem disingenuous. Think about your actions and craft a well-thought-out apology.
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.