The Only Apology That Means A Thing Is Changed Behavior

Photo: WeHeartIt

The words "I'm sorry" have all but lost their meaning. 

It's a temporary bandage over a wound that needs some serious medical attention. It's the quick-fix we give when we don't want to do any real work. 

Think back to the last time you said you were sorry. Sure, you probably meant it, but did anything change?

Did you even plan on changing?

Or did you eventually go back to the bad behavior that got you into trouble in the first place? 


In relationships, fights happen and feelings get hurt. In the heat of the moment, everyone is right and no one wants to back down. But when the dust settles, and we're finally ready to call a truce, the most we can muster out is an "I'm sorry."

Our guilt may be real, but our respect for the other person is not. Because if you really want a relationship to work, you'll try to right the wrong. You'll try to change.

Like really, actually change. 

Romantic movies give us a kind of screwy idea of what a good apology looks like. Holding a radio over your head outside your girlfriend's window or making a slightly embarrassing speech at a party may be done with good intentions, but they don't last.

Those few seconds of feeling like a really special person that will eventually fade unless some real action is there to follow that beautiful speech.

The best kind of an apology is a changed behavior.

It's listening to what the other person is upset about, and then doing something — like actually doing something — to change it. 


Real, lasting apologies are quiet and humble. They don't require an audience or much attention. And they definitely wouldn't be the climax of a movie. 

It's making an effort to be home every day at 5:30 because your boyfriend is hurt you aren't spending that much time together anymore. It's deleting an ex on Facebook (without making such a big fuss about it) because your girlfriend is tired of her liking all your photos. 

Fights and arguments will happen in every relationship.

If you try to sweep them under the rug, then your relationship probably won't last long.

But if you use them as a way to understand your partner better and figure out what kind of relationship works for the both of you, they can bring you closer. 

So next time you find yourself about to say "I'm sorry," make sure you have a way to prove that you really are.