Step 1. Take Responsibility
Know that if someone is upset with you, it is very likely for a good reason. Take the time to reflect on what you might have done to upset them consciously or unconsciously. If you haven’t done anything wrong, then don’t apologize, if you have, proceed to step two.
Step 2. Apologize Immediately
If you have done something inappropriate, don’t hang around trying to justify your position in your mind. Let the other person know immediately that you didn’t mean to upset them. Ideally, doing this face-to-face is most powerful or by phone if they live far away. Avoid doing it in an email or through your Facebook page!
Step 3. Acknowledge They Are Upset
Be really clear what it is exactly that you are sorry about. Acknowledge how your lack of awareness has upset them. If you need to explain yourself, only do it to show that you didn’t mean to upset them, not to bring out the pity card, to make yourself feel better or to wiggle yourself out of making the apology.
Step 4. Ask Forgiveness
When you ask forgiveness, let them know that you will not do it again. If they do accept your apology, say thank you and move on.
Step 5. Forgive yourself
If they don’t accept your apology, then there is nothing more you can do. Whether they do or don’t, you must let it go at that point as guilt is only going to harm you internally, so forgive yourself.