Move aside love languages: Knowing your apology language is more crucial for your relationship.

While love languages are obviously of huge importance, your apology language is just as crucial - as it is the way we forgive and express an "I'm sorry".

Human nature means each individual functions differently, and while an admittance of wrongdoing such as "that was not okay, and I am sorry," works for some - it definitely doesn't work for everyone. 

That's where apology languages come in. 

Watch Mamamia's How To Apologise Effectively. Post continues after video. 

Video via Mamamia.

Why do apology languages matter?

People mess up, and expressing remorse, taking responsibility and accepting blame are all key to delivering a well-meaning and real apology. However, the delivery of an apology can sway from acceptable to err, not so acceptable. 

So knowing all about apology languages, and expressing the right ones to those around you - especially your partner - can lead to fulfilling, and longer-lasting relationships.  

Gary Chapman, Ph.D. and psychologist Jennifer Thomas, Ph.D. developed and created the apology language system, in an effort to cater to the multitudes of ways people want to be approached with an apology.

Chapman and Thomas delve deeper into apology languages in their book: When Sorry Isn’t Enough.

While there are many people who can lean more strongly into one apology language, it is very possible that you can have more than a few depending on the situation.

Here are the five apology languages, what they mean and how to recognise which one you connect the most with.

1. Expressing regret. 

This apology language is key for people who believe words only mean something if remorse is evident. 

Remember that for this specific language especially, the apology doesn’t count if someone is only saying sorry because they got caught.


While saying "I'm sorry" is a good start, for those whose apology language is expressing regret, they need to understand why you're sorry and feel that genuine guilt and there is a true responsibility over their actions. 

This may be your apology language if:

  • You desire for someone to acknowledge their blame and the hurt they have caused.
  • You want your emotions to feel validated and respected. 
  • You want someone to express genuine regret. 

2. Accepting responsibility. 

It's always easier to say "you were right", instead of "I was wrong", but the weight of the latter can go a lot further. 

While it may feel like sometimes people can sweep an apology under the rug, those with this apology language require a person to fully and completely accept fault before forgiveness comes into play.

This may be your apology language if:

  • You want someone to take complete ownership of the hurt they have caused. 
  • You want a clear admission of guilt, so that person can prove they know exactly what they did wrong. 
  • Excuses are a no-go for you. 

3. Making restitution. 

Those who feel someone who has wronged them should make amends and search for ways to correct the problem, likely feel more inclined to believe making restitution is the apology language for them. 

While some people prefer just an admittance of guilt or an acceptance of responsibility, those who fall under number three are more willing to forgive when they feel as though amends are being made to them. 

This may be your apology language if:

  • You want someone to prove they're willing to correct the problem. For example, this could mean therapy or an apology gift.
  • You want that person to improve the particular fault that caused an issue for you, and make things right. 
  • You want the person to take the lead in righting the wrong. 

4. Genuinely repenting. 

A genuine act of repentance means a person reviews their actions, feels regret for their wrongs and makes a commitment to prove they have changed. 

Those who feel like repentance is a genuine form of an apology will most likely feel number four is their apology language. 

It doesn't always mean throwing money at the problem, or promising they will change; it means expressing genuine regret and a deep desire to cultivate a brand new, fully fledged person. 

Unfortunately, it is much easier said than done. 

This may be your apology language if:

  • You desire and require proof that the person is fixing their issue, instead of just apologising. 
  • You need assurance it won't happen again. 
  • Words are not nearly enough for you. 

5. Requesting forgiveness. 

Those who align most with this apology language feel as if though they need time and space in order to forgive someone for their misgivings. 

While they don't need gifts, money or repentance to fix the problem - giving a person space to heal and rethink the situation can be just as difficult and painful.

This may be your apology language if:

  • You're not quite ready for reconciliation and often need time to mull over the situation.
  • You need more from a simple apology and desire the space to ask for it. 
  • You need the person apologising to grant you room to wait until you are ready to discuss the situation. 

Once you've established what your apology language is, and what your partner's is, you'll be able to empathise and adapt to make sure any conflict is addressed in the best way possible for both of you. Trust us.

What are your apology languages? Let us know in the comments below!

Image: Getty.

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