How to Apologize to a Friend for Being Rude (and Mean It)

April 18, 2019


Do you know how to apologize to a friend for being rude? Often we find ourselves saying or doing things to our friends, colleagues, or partners that we later regret.

Then we are forced to apologize for these rude words or actions. However, unlike in the formal work setting, when apologizing to a close friend, you must show genuine remorse.

Endeavor to show your friend or partner that given a chance, you would bite your tongue and take back the inappropriate words or actions. So how do we apologize to our friends? Here is a quick guide.


Deal With It Immediately

One easy way to kill a friendship is when you don’t deal with challenges as they come. Instead, you maintain a long uncomfortable silence, hoping things will eventually work out. This approach always ends in a terrible breakup.

So, if you have just made an insensitive comment about your friend, learn how to apologize to a friend for being rude immediately. Make a deliberate effort to seek pardon and explain why you acted out like that.

Usually, when we act out to our friends, there may be many emotions involved. If you have to, excuse yourself for the shortest time possible. Use this time alone to gather yourself. Later, come back and deal with the rude remarks you just made.

apologizing to a friend

Sorry Is Not Enough

Have you ever had someone tell you "I am sorry" and you wished he/she could do more to apologize? These days, the phrases “I am sorry” or “I apologize” are often overused to cover up for mistakes that one would rather avoid.

It is for this reason that often such sentiments sound fake and lack a level of empathy if not accompanied with other appropriate gestures.

The best approach on how to apologize to a friend for being rude is by reminding him/her how important they are to you. Visit your favorite meeting place. Do what you enjoy doing together.

Engaging in activities that remind you both of your good old days will help both of you deal with the issue from a wider perspective.

Body Language Matters

When it comes to friends, what you say is equally as important as how you say it. Choose the right time and place to apologize to your friend for your inappropriate behavior. As much as you can, seek a pardon when you are physically face-to-face with your friend.

How to Apologize to a Friend for Being Rude

Hold hands, share hugs, or even a quick joke to diffuse the tension. When it’s not practical to apologize face-to-face, make use of a video call via Skype, WhatsApp, or any other online social platform.

Never Make an Excuse

Own your mistakes. Make very brief explanations of why you acted the way you did. Remember, it is about the other person, not you. Therefore, focus your narration on your friend or partner and not on you.

Nevertheless, even as you explain your actions, ensure you don’t put yourself down unnecessarily. This whole unfortunate episode should not end up hurting your friendship. Instead, use it as a learning point to strengthen your relationship.

Match Your Words with Your Actions

Now that you have apologized, what do you do next? Replace your rude remarks with a gesture of complement. Do this by, for example, offering to assist your friend with any upcoming errands.

It could also be taking your friend out for lunch or to watch a movie. Whatever activity you choose should be in your friend’s best interest.

Is the impact of your rude words or actions extending beyond the two of you to the general public?  Make sure you extend your apology to the third parties as well.

A rude comment on social media, for example, may have exponential ripple effects online, tarnishing your friend’s image. Ensure you own the mistake and apologize for it on the same social media platform.

The bottom line is, let your friend see that you are willing to go out of your way to rectify the mistake you’ve just made.

Involve a Mutual Friend

When you are rude to a close friend, it can result in him/her losing trust in you. Should this happen, saying sorry alone won’t get you out of the woods. In case both you and your friends are emotionally charged by the incident, you may need some backup.

The best way to apologize to a friend for being rude when you compromise on trust is by seeking a third party to intervene on your behalf.

How to Apologize to a Friend for Being Rude

Approach a friend or colleague that both you and your friend respect. This mutual person can be a parent, a classmate, or a roommate. Humbly explain your actions and seek his/her advice on resolving the issue.

Involving a mutual friend helps in circumstances when you feel your friend is overreacting. It also helps when your friend is already going through another tough issue that can easily cloud his/her judgment. In such circumstances, never expect to be pardoned immediately. Give your friend time to calm down.

An Apology Is Not Always About Reconciliation

Even though your friend or partner may forgive you, they may not necessarily relate to you like before. Often, the friendship may not fully recover from this experience.

Do your part to ask for forgiveness and be ready for a change in the relationship. Never force your friend to relate to you as they did before. Instead, respect their decision moving forward. Use this instance as a learning experience, appreciate the good times and move on.


When you find yourself in a situation where you fail to bite your tongue, always apologize for it. Although hard at first, learning how to apologize to a friend for being rude helps you to deal with the issue objectively.

Start by showing how sincere you are. Never wait for your friend to raise the matter with you. Instead, anticipate their reaction and plan to deal with it. The worst you can ever do is sweep the issue under the rug and expect everything to be OK.

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