How to Make Amends for Mistakes

Mistakes happen. A mistake can be the result of misinformation, confusion or a simple accident. Once discovered, a mistake can shake the foundations of trust and cause people to question your abilities. Making amends in a mistake's aftermath is one of the most important things you can do. It helps you move beyond the confrontation and prevent the same mistake from happening again.

Accept responsibility. Admitting that you made a mistake and indicating to others that you know you are to blame makes people accepting of your apology.

Apologize to the people you offended. Be genuine and forthright. Without going into detail, explain the reason you made the mistake and reassure the person it won't happen again.

Make things right, if possible. Take any opportunity to reverse the effects of your mistake. You cannot erase the mistake you made, but striving to improve or return the situation to normal is crucial to making amends.

Back off. Some people feel wounded when they are the victim of a mistake. Pushing for acceptance of your apology may leave them resentful. Give them time to recover and re-establish trust.

Offer your assistance with new projects and activities. Approach the person you have hurt humbly and listen carefully to their reactions. Prove through your actions that you have learned a lesson.

Regain a sense of normalcy in your relationship. The other person's demeanor and body language indicates when you've made satisfactorily amends. Move forward and put the incident behind you.