Advice: Ask Natalie on how to say you’re sorry

"Dear Natalie,

I'm in a bit of a pickle. I said some things and now a few of my friends are mad at me. But the thing is I don't know how to address it. I feel like the time has passed where a simple 'I'm sorry' would have worked. What should I do?"

You've come to the right place. I am pretty much the queen of putting my foot in my mouth. Usually multiple times. Usually making it worse when I try to fix it. But that means I can help you learn from my mistakes.

Since I don’t know enough about your situation to give you a full breakdown, I can offer up a few solutions.

One: You're the only one who thinks the time has passed for a simple ‘I'm sorry.’ You have to really gauge how other people think and feel about what happened. Was this something petty? Something that would be easily fixed by swallowing your pride and pulling your friend(s) aside and giving an honest, simple apology?

I can't tell you if this is your case, but if it is I urge you to just get it over with as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the less sincere you will come across.

Two: The situation cannot be fixed with a simple apology but is still easily repairable. These are the cases where you've crossed a line that you've been edging for a while, and only afterwards did you realize what you've done. In these cases, I recommend a longer, more open-ended apology where you address each person separately.

Do this soon, but make sure you've thought about what you want to say; nothing takes away from an apology more than some "ummm"s and "well..."s.

Three: You done bad. You really crossed that line, ignoring all signs and warnings. This is the one you have to really, really have to go all out and apologize. You have to get your friend on their own and sit them down. Explain how you feel terrible and you did not think, about how you've thought about it after and you are really, incredibly sorry.

These are the apologies that make or break a friendship. How far did you cross that line? How deeply did you hurt them? Can they ever forgive you for this? Put your heart into this apology because there is a chance that this is the last thing you could say to your friend.

You need to address this. I've seen so many times where people have just let issues and side comments build, and then, suddenly, everyone is dealing with the fallout.

You clearly want to save these friendships. You just need to put in the leg work to do that.