Never the Right Word

Never the Right Word

Scripts & Templates for Life’s Uncomfortable Conversations.

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Most of us have hurt the feelings of our friends or significant others with a clumsy choice of words or two. Sometimes when we’re really close, we take things for granted and forget about their feelings.

We get comfortable and drop the polite facade reserved for acquaintances and strangers – pay less attention to how our words are perceived and as as a consequence say things that hurt those closest to us.

This can have devastating consequences potentially putting our relationships at risk and is especially true if our friends are feeling particularly sensitive and vulnerable as the result of their own personal circumstances.

Upsetting or insulting someone is easy and you can do it without realizing how hurtful your words can be. Sometimes you had no intention for your friend to overhear your words but somehow, they did, and this has exacerbated the situation.

Whilst it’s tempting to get defensive as you know that you didn’t deliberately say whatever you said to cause friction, we recommend that you push your ego aside and act fast to not allow negative feelings to snowball.

Over the years, we’ve found that texts and phrases similar to the ones outlined below have helped repair numerous friendships. When you mess up, please send them.

If your friend opens up- really listen and issue a genuine apology and then if the worst possible case scenario happens i.e. your friendship/ relationship is over- at least you did what you could.

For more texts like these you might also like our other article: We Asked Our Friends for 4 Text Messages They Sent to Their SO to Make up after Unwittingly Insulting or Embarrassing Them – and This Is What We Got.

Now, here’s 8 texts to send to your friend or significant other after you accidentally hurt their feelings:

Illustrations courtesy of Shutterstock.

Text Template 1 | Sometimes We’re All Ignorant

 

I’m an idiot and didn’t really think about what I said before I said it

What does this really say? 

It acknowledges that the remark was extremely hurtful while reassuring your friend that no malice was intended on your part.

How does this work?

Being self-depreciating is a good tactic and shows that you accept your own failings. You are admitting that you have weaknesses and exposing your fallibilities, so your friend can see that you aren’t as perfect as they might think.

Text Template 2 | I Got Carried Away

 

I am really sorry, and I let the banter go too far. I genuinely didn’t realize that what I said would cause offense and I promise to be more careful in the future.

What does this really say?

It tells your friend that you recognize that you have different values in terms of what is acceptable ‘banter’, but that you value the relationship that you have with them more than your own feelings and sensibilities.

How does this work?

It works because it acknowledges your differences while reinforcing the idea that you are still good friends.  It also shows that you intend to be more careful in the future.

If you're looking to develop your communication skills for professional environments even further, we think you’ll like the following video course from LinkedIn Learning. Check out the preview below:

Click here for full access to "Communicating with Empathy" On LinkedIn Learning
In this course, communication expert Sharon Steed explains the principles of empathetic communication and shares specific strategies to help improve your approach to difficult conversations. Get ready to learn how to converse empathetically to improve your one-on-one conversations and team interactions.

Text Template 3 | What Can I Do Now?

 

You’re my friend and I’m really sorry I hurt your feelings. Is there anything that I can do to make it up to you?

What does this really say?

It shows that you value your friendship enough to make an effort to make up for the hurt that you may have caused.

How does this work?

It works because it implies that you are now ‘in debt’ to them. You give your friend the impression that they a psychological advantage over you which puts them in a position of power.

Text Template 4 | I Made A Mistake

 

[Insert Name], please forgive me; what I said was stupid and I didn’t mean it. I certainly didn’t mean for you to hear it

What does this really say?

Here you are admitting that you have made two fundamental friendship errors:

  1. You said something that was insensitive and inappropriate and
  2. You lacked discretion and discrimination in choosing when and where you said it.

 

How does this work?

It works because you are admitting two mistakes.  Not only were your words inappropriate, you were also wrong in saying it in that particular context where your friend was able to overhear.  It shows that you are self-aware and willing to admit to errors when you make them.

If you're looking to develop your communication skills for professional environments even further, we think you’ll like the following video course from LinkedIn Learning. Check out the preview below:

Click here for full access to "Developing Your Emotional Intelligence" On LinkedIn Learning
Emotional intelligence can help you build effective relationships at work. Executive coach and organizational psychologist Gemma Roberts explains what emotional intelligence is and why it's important. She helps you become more self-aware so that you can identify triggers that may hijack your performance. She also helps you align your intentions and your impact so that you can build strong and collaborative relationships.

Text Template 5 | Say it From the Heart

 

[Insert Name], hurting You Is the Last Thing I Intended to Do. You Are My Best Friend and I Would Be Lost Without You.

What does this really say?

This shows your friend that your words were never intended to cause them any pain. It reiterates how your friendship with them is important to you.

How does this work?

It works because it shows them how much you value the friendship, and how essential your friend is in your life. It also reassures them that you have reflected on the events and now understand why you may have offended them.

Text Template 6 | I Said What I Said Because I Was Insecure

 

Hey [Insert Name] I know this isn’t an excuse for my behavior and I’m aware that I’m completely in the wrong. I said what I said because of [Insert Relevant Life Situation]. I never intended to hurt you I just wanted to feel better about how things are going for me. Please forgive me.

What does this really say?

This is very straightforward. It tells your friend that you accept that you were in the wrong and that you are sorry.

How does this work?

This is a way of drawing a line under the events and letting your friend know that what you said wasn’t a reflection of them but rather a reflection of what’s going on with you.

Be prepared for potential backlash as it most likely isn’t your friend’s fault you’re in the situation you’re in but as long as your friendship is strong enough you should both be able to move on without the need to discuss the issue any further.

If you're looking to develop your communication skills for professional environments even further, we think you’ll like the following video course from LinkedIn Learning. Check out the preview below:

Click here for full access to "Interpersonal Communication" On LinkedIn Learning
In this course, learn strategies that can help you hone and master your interpersonal communication skills. Join personal branding and career expert Dorie Clark as she shares techniques for getting your message across effectively in the workplace, and explains how to tackle potential communication challenges with your colleagues and supervisor. She also discusses how to grapple with tricky situations, taking you through how to handle interruptions, respond to critical feedback, and communicate across cultures.

Text Template 7 | Mention What’s Really Important

 

[Insert Name] please forgive me. Our friendship means more to me than anything else.

What does this really say?

It tells your friend that you wish to be forgiven but that there are other things going on in your life that you need help with.

How does this work?

Not only does this show how much you value your friendship but hints that there may be mitigating circumstances which could explain your behavior. Your friend may wish to take these into consideration when deciding whether or not to forgive you.

Text Template 8 | For When You’ve Been Shut Out

 

[Insert Name] I know you are angry with me, and I made a mistake. Please forgive me and I am here for you when you are ready to talk.

What does this really say?

It tells your friend that you understand their anger and acknowledges that you were in the wrong. It also tells them that you are prepared to wait for their forgiveness

How does this work?

You are offering your friend some ‘cooling off’ time which allows them to reflect on what has happened and to put the events into perspective. It shows that you appreciate how they are feeling and that you are prepared to recognize and admit to your own shortcomings.

Illustrations courtesy of Shutterstock.

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You and your friend may have the kind of relationship where you are able to open up and talk to each other frankly, but it may also be that you are both more guarded in showing emotions and feelings. If you have a good relationship with your friend, then they should know already that your mouth tends to run faster than your brain and willingly accept your apology. You may also need to review and revise your own behavior in the future to prevent it from happening again. It may be time to do a bit more groveling before you are completely forgiven. If you are looking for more templates of this nature please check out our other article: We Asked Our Friends for 4 Text Messages They Sent to Their SO to Make up after Unwittingly Insulting or Embarrassing Them – and This Is What We Got 

At Never the Right Word, our aim is to give you practical examples of how to handle life’s difficult conversations. If you have an awkward situation that you’d like example templates for, request a topic here.   

If you’re interested in further reading, we’ve also included links to our trusted resources and related posts below. To find out more about NTRW and our recommended tools, you can do that here.  

Lastly, if you found this content helpful or want to share your own examples, let us know in the comments. We’d also be delighted if you shared this article and joined us on social media too!

Never the Right Word

Never the Right Word

Hi there! I’m Amy, and I’m the person behind Never the Right Word. I’m a designer-by-day who’s fascinated by human psychology; you’ll find me learning about what makes others tick through all types of media and good old-fashioned conversation.

In 2019 Never the Right Word was born to fill the gap of ‘how-to’ websites with copy and paste examples showing you EXACTLY what you need to say to steer difficult conversations into positive outcomes.

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