How to apologize for betraying someone's trust

Written by noreen wainwright
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How to apologize for betraying someone's trust
Some people find it too difficult to recover from a breach of trust. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Some people find it quite easy to apologise. The words trip easily from their lips. Indeed, they may find themselves apologising a lot. However, there is a world of difference between someone who trots out platitudes for her own ends and somebody who is truly sorry and wants to make amends. claims that it is more difficult to forgive a breach of trust than other misdemeanours because a person's trust in another is closely tied up with his belief system. If a person betrays your trust, you have to adjust what you believed about her. This takes time and a lot of effort on the other person's part.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging


  1. 1

    Apologise sincerely. Do not rush in with justifications. There may have been reasons why the betrayal happened, but this is not the time to mention them. Listen to what the other person says, and acknowledge how she is feeling. Validate her feelings. One of the worst things you can do is to somehow trivialise how she is reacting or expect her to bounce back immediately from this betrayal.

  2. 2

    Allow time to elapse before you expect trust to be restored. Accept that your relationship will have changed in a fundamental way. There may be a way forward for you both, but this is going to take much effort, especially from you. Without apportioning blame, discuss some of the problems that may have existed in your relationship before the betrayal. If you do this carefully, it may actually give the other party a way of allowing your relationship to get back on track.

  3. 3

    Promise that you will not break the person's trust again. This is likely to be a deal breaker. Only say this if you mean it sincerely and if you are sure that you will be able to keep your promise. Accept that if you ever betray the other person's trust again, the relationship will be over.

  4. 4

    Make the effort to regain the other person's trust and accept that this will not happen overnight. There is a saying about words being cheap. You have to prove by your actions and your future behaviour that you sincerely regret what you have done and that you deserve this second chance.

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