Nobody’s perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. In general people tend to expect their friends to be understanding and forgiving. Sometimes friends become so familiar that they forget that care is needed to keep relationships in good shape. Things can not go unsaid forever.
Apologies can not go unsaid. There can not be an assumption that friends know each other well enough that apologies are no longer needed. That famous saying “Friendship means never having to say you are sorry is a recipe for disaster.
A simple “I’m sorry” works occasionally, but there are circumstances when a true apology is needed. It is a matter of respecting the friend and the relationship. Begin by admitting the mistake without blaming or even mentioning anyone else. If you involve anyone else it comes out sounding more like an excuse than an apology. Using the word “if” I upset you or “if” I offended you also turn an apology into an excuse. Simply admit your part in the wrong doing or offensive behavior.
It is important to wait until you are truly sorry to make the apology. Your body language will give you away if you are not sincere. About 65% of what someone perceives emotionally comes from your body language. So wait until you are truly sorry for the problem.
Tell your friend how you feel about your mistakes. Emotional pain has been experienced by both parties. Friends in crisis hurt. It is best to use emotional words to show true feelings and remorse in the apology. Do not be afraid to share the pain that both of you feel.
Fix anything that you can. Sometimes there are things that can be repaired or at least explained to others to help solve the problem. This is not always an easy thing to do, but it is an important part of an apology.
Have a plan and explain how something like this will not happen again. It shows true commitment to the friendship.
Relationships are complicated and friends need to be vigil to keep a friendship a trusting and healthy relationship. Part of the work needed is to truly apologize when there is a problem. It is also important to accept an apology as it is given. Even if the apology is not perfect, it is a good idea to accept it with grace and move on. Grudges are detrimental to everyone and the sooner the air is cleared the better for everyone.