Relationship Repair

Relationship Repair allows students to fail and have a way to come back. It also supports healthy conflict and relationship restoration.
a person holds a sign that reads "I'm sorry"

Apologizing is a good topic for discussion early in the school year.

It can be a good segue into discussions about empathy, point of view, forgiveness, or learning from mistakes depending on where your students take it.

Discussion points can include:

  • Real vs Fake Apologies
  • Is there more to an apology than the word “sorry”?
  • What are some criteria that an apology should have in order to be authentic?
  • Do people have to forgive someone right away when an apology happens?

Some things to consider when establishing guidelines for apologies and repairing relationship are that it if a person is genuinely wanting to repair a mistake than it is not the time for excuses and defensiveness. Do not rationalize with the frequent use of the word “but”. Here are some examples of things not to say; “Sorryyyy…” or “I’m sorry you feel that way”, “Stop being so sensitive”, “I was just kidding”,“You did __________ so…” or over-the-top apologies. An apology should not be a monologue, it should be a conversation.

Own it:

Acknowledge what happened and take responsibility for it.

“I did a thing that harmed you.”

Fix it: 

Empathize and ask.

“That must have felt _________. Is that true?”

Offer repair.

(“What can I do to make it up to you?” or “How can I repair this with you?”)


Learn from it and don’t repeat again.
Sorry! Teaching Why and How to Apologize - Social Emotional Workshop
Teaching students how to apologize is simple when you focus on the underlying skills and steps students need to go through. Teach them to apologize meaningfully, provide them with practice opportunities without judgment, and you will see them internalize this powerful social-emotional skill.