You’ve gossiped about a friend… who’s overheard everything

Once you’ve done something to break a friend’s trust, accept that he or she won’t necessarily trust you again. It’s best to confront your friend and to control the damage as soon as possible afterwards – before the issue becomes a long-term grudge. Express how sorry you are and let your friend know that the gossip was a result of your own failings and inadequacies, not theirs.

If gossip is your weakness, appeal to your friend for help. Say, ‘This is a good lesson for me. Please stop me when I start gossiping about other people. I really want you to feel that you can trust me again.’ Whether or not you’re able to rebuild trust depends on the length and depth of your relationship. If you’ve been close for years and supported each other through difficulties in the past, it should be possible. If not, accept that your friend may choose to dismiss you and move on.



Using the s-word could make all the difference. We all mess up from time to time – and the best thing to do afterwards is apologise.

Saying sorry can be good for you

When you refuse to forgive others or to forgive yourself for mistakes you’ve made, you eventually make it impossible for yourself to love and be loved. Don’t let that happen.

It’s (sometimes) okay to say sorry without meaning it

Occasionally a tactical apology is required – when you know the other person won’t back down, for instance, or when conflict has been sparked by a misunderstanding or inadvertently hurt feelings. Going through the motions – with your fingers crossed if you have to – can clear the air and help you move forward. However, don’t fall into the ‘I’m sorry, but…’ trap. If you decide to apologise, say sorry and leave it at that. Tempting as it is, avoid stating your case or reminding the other person why he or she is still wrong and you’re right. This usually just fans a dying argument back into flame.

It doesn’t mean you accept all the blame

You’re entitled to say, ‘I’m sorry I upset you’, without apologising for what you originally said or did. Saying sorry doesn’t necessarily mean having to acknowledge you were at fault or assuming a position of weakness. And it doesn’t make the other person all-powerful, faultless and blame-free. It simply means you were big enough to say the words.

You don’t have to say sorry

Remember, you have a choice. You can give someone the finger and walk out. Just make sure you’ve considered what’s at stake before packing your bags. With those important to you – partners, friends, siblings, parents – remind yourself that you love them, and realise that it probably won’t kill you to say sorry.

Don’t always be the one to apologise

Always saying sorry? It’s a sign that you’re insecure in your relationship. Realise that if the other person is never willing to back down and apologise, the relationship is unlikely to be happy or healthy in the long term. If, as the apologiser, you’re often left feeling angry or disempowered after conflicts, you owe it to yourself to start asserting yourself more, or perhaps to rethink the relationship.

Do it for yourself

Offering an apology or forgiveness can help you take back your power and free yourself from the burden of resentment. There’s a risk your apology won’t be accepted, but if the other person also values the relationship, you’ll be forgiven eventually. If not, withdraw graciously and move on, satisfied you’ve done what you can. Finally, remember it’s never, ever too late to say you’re sorry.