"Sorry" is for little things or little people. If we bump while passing in the kitchen, a quick "Sorry" works. If a little kid destroys a one-of-a-kind autographed baseball that was snagged at an out-of-state Major League Baseball game while on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, "Sorry" is the most one can expect. Since you don't want to be seen as a little kid and you will make big mistakes, be ready to do more, to make amends.
Show remorse as soon as possible. If you aren't really sorry, consider why. All people make mistakes. It's what you do about your mistakes that matters. If a big mistake is made that isn't fully your fault, own the part that is, even if small in comparison. Be brave and be first to make amends.
Say, "I'm sorry" and add details of what went wrong. Avoid adding, "if", because making amends is about owning mistakes.
No: "I'm sorry if you think I called you a jerk." Yes: "I'm sorry I called you a jerk."
Make it right. Say, "I won't (describe mistake) again. I will (explain how you will make it right.)"
Yes: "I won't borrow your stuff and damage it again. I'll replace this broken ipod this weekend."
Ask for forgiveness. Say, "Will you forgive me?" Give the person as long as they need to forgive you. Don't expect forgiveness.
Admitting mistakes can be hard work and feel embarrassing. Yet, asking for and receiving forgiveness is worth the effort because of the rewards it brings: relief, peace, clear conscience, confidence, and positive relationships.
Feeling burdened? Feeling distant from people you care about? Consider making amends. You can do it!