6 Reasons to Stop Asking for Forgiveness

Okay so you fucked up, and you know it.

You sit the person down, maybe you call them. You explain why you’re a douche bag. You acknowledge what you said what you did and why you understand that it was hurtful. The emotions are strong. You’re seriously sorry and you want to mend the frienship/relationship. You want things to return to how they were.

You’ve said you were sorry, but somehow things just don’t feel right. You NEED something else from the person. You need to know that they still want to be your friend. You need to know that it’s all going to be ok.

“Will you forgive me?” you say.

Hold on. Stop right there.

Here is a new perspective on the whole “asking for forgiveness” part of the apology. If you haven’t already, you should dispense with that bullshit. It actually taints your apology and here’s why.

  1. Asking for forgiveness implies that you need something from the person you hurt. The truth is, you don’t need anything from them. They need something from you. They need you to be sorry. They need you not to do it again. See, how it works? THEY need something, not you.
  2. It puts the obligation on them. Now the onus is on them, and they have to respond with an “I forgive you” or “I’ll think about it” or “Hell no” or whatever their response will be. If they don’t forgive you, now they look like the bad guy. Truth is, the obligation should be on YOU, not them. You fucked up. Not them.
  3. It puts the focus on their behavior, not yours. Just apologize and leave it at that. It’s about what you did, not what they’re going to do.
  4. You’re asking them to give you something. Right after you just hurt them or messed everything up, you’re turning right around and asking for something. This isn’t the time to ASK for something, it’s the time to GIVE something. Give your apology and be done with it.
  5. You don’t need their forgiveness. You need your own. They can forgive you or not, but really, you’re feeling guilty. Asking for their forgiveness is a way of making yourself feel better. Who is consoling who? Deal with your guilt yourself, don’t make them responsible for it.
  6. They’ll forgive you if they want to. Your request isn’t going to make the difference, your apology will. Say “I’m sorry.” Explain why. Let them know how much you regret what you did. And then don’t do it again.


The above items are all really saying the same thing. By asking for forgiveness you are shifting the responsibility from you to them. You’re now asking them to be responsible for the mending of the relationship, when that’s actually your job. They didn’t screw up, you did. Say you’re sorry. Do better. Instead of asking them for forgiveness, show them you deserve it.


Featured image by Camille King via Flickr.