Image caption appears here

How to Apologize When You Forget

  • 3 min read

Whether you forget a birthday, fail to congratulate someone, miss an anniversary, or overlook a social event, there will be times when you will need to apologize to someone – whether it is a colleague, friend, or family member.

Fortunately, there are numerous ways to accomplish this, which should allow you to keep those relationships without too much difficulty.

Why do we forget?

In this day and age, life is extremely hectic – from tight deadlines to hectic workloads and social schedules, it can be difficult to remember what day it is, let alone a special occasion. Unless you have everything programmed into a planner or an extremely efficient PA, forgetting something as simple as renewing your car insurance, replying to a message, or even an anniversary or a birthday is more common than you might think.



So, what should you do if this occurs to you? It is critical to apologize as soon as possible to avoid losing contact with the other person! Everyone makes errors, but not everyone chooses to admit them. It is critical to own up to your forgetfulness in order to overcome it and move on. Being defensive or making excuses will not help the situation.

The best tips on how to do it …

1. Be open and honest.
2. Go out of your way to emphasize the apology.
3. If necessary, provide an explanation (this needs to be valid)
4. Move on and don't think about it.

Ways to Apologize

There are many ways to express regret for forgetting something, and the approach you take will depend on the type of event you missed and your relationship with the person. We've compiled a list of some of the different ways to say sorry so you can choose the one that feels right for you.

Apologize verbally.

First and foremost, express regret with sincere words. Saying the words "I'm sorry" goes a long way, whether you send a letter, visit the person you're apologizing to, or call them. It shows you've admitted your mistake and want to move on, or better yet, make amends.

Send a present

Alternatively, you could send the individual a gift, such as a lovely bouquet of flowers. This effort will go a long way toward demonstrating to the person that you truly care. If you live far away, sending an apology gift through an online florist like Sophy Crown Flowers is a quick and easy way to reach out to that friend, colleague, or family member you want to apologize to.


It's likely that they'll forgive you quickly if they come home to a massive, over-the-top floral arrangement. Flowers, after all, are one of the most common ways to express regret and are almost always well received.

Recreate the situation.

Why not recreate the moment if you're apologizing for forgetting a birthday or anniversary? Recreating the forgotten special occasion, whether it's a romantic candlelit dinner or a fancy restaurant meal, a weekend getaway, or a surprise party, is a great way to show your regret.

It's also an excuse for a second celebration, one that will undoubtedly be remembered for a long time.

Write a letter

A handwritten letter expressing your regret is often preferable to a phone call because it is more personal. You can even include a note explaining how you plan to make amends to the person in question, such as flying out to see them right away, treating them to a fine meal, or whisking them away for a weekend getaway to their favorite hotel or destination.

Before you both speak face-to-face, write everything down so they can really absorb your apology.

Don't make the same mistake twice.

Make sure you write down the correct date in your diary so you don't forget it the following year. Our phones even have alert features that can be set a week or a few days ahead of time, allowing you to be notified of upcoming events in plenty of time, usually through an alarm or pop-up message.


Adding calendar dates to your smartphone is a great idea whether you need to buy a gift or book a flight. You can even choose to have these dates roll over to the next year, so you don't have to enter the same information over and over.

It's a lot easier than we think to forget important dates, and while this makes us feel terrible, it's important not to dwell on it. Because actions speak louder than words, try to do something to demonstrate your regret to the person in question.


    Commonly searched