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jsc3791's avatar

How can I best apologize and make it up to a dear friend?

Asked by jsc3791 (1973 points ) September 16th, 2012

I was supposed to help a very dear friend move into her new apartment today. She’s moving just two blocks from me and I’ve been helping her while she looked for a place. We also work together. She recently helped me move into my new apartment. Well, my alarm didn’t go off this morning and I slept in way too late. She called me once to check in, saying “no rush”, but then I actually fell back asleep. I feel like a complete and utter horrible friend. I took dinner and flowers over to her apartment tonight and helped her move some last minute things. I apologized and I cried because I feel so bad. She said it’s not worth beating myself up over, but I know she has to be upset. Is there something I can do or say that might make her understand how badly I feel or otherwise make it up to her? She helped me tremendously when I moved recently and now I feel like I’ve lost the opportunity to repay the favor. Any suggestions you can provide are greatly appreciated.

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12 Answers

jordym84's avatar

First and foremost, sometimes things happen and like your friend said you shouldn’t beat yourself up over it. I think a genuine, heartfelt apology would have to suffice for now until you have another opportunity to offer your services. I don’t know your friend so I can’t speak on her behalf, but speaking for myself, I wouldn’t let something like that upset me (unless it happens frequently, which doesn’t seem to be the case here), so don’t assume that she must upset and just isn’t showing it. I think you’ve done all you could do to show her how sorry you are and she seems to be fine with it so, again, don’t beat yourself up over it. You sound like a good friend despite what happened in this situation.

zenvelo's avatar

Don’t keep bringing it up, bu the next five times you hear her saying she wishes she had help getting something or shopping or needing a hand, volunteer and this time meet your commitment.

I hate to say this so blatantly, but you are now completely in the unreliable column, and the only way to get off is to be 100% reliable for a good long time. Three times and then a miss, and it’s “oh, you can’t depend on @jsc3791” . Five years from now it will be “oh, she used to be so unreliable.”

Pandora's avatar

You can pay her back by helping her clean out her old place. I’m sure she could use her deposit back to help with the money she had to pay for the move.
I had that happen to me on a move. Flowers or dinner will not make up for the aches and pain your body feels and the mental exhaustion. But had the lame people who did not help me, helped me clean my old place out, I would’ve been thrilled and forgiving because it is all a part of the moving experience and it would still lighten my load.

Shippy's avatar

You’ve pretty much done all you can, perhaps buy her a small gift for her new home, but really I think you have apologized enough.

flutherother's avatar

You’ve let your friend down pretty badly. You can apologise for sleeping in through your alarm but for going back to sleep after she called you? I don’t know how you can explain that. It appears from the evidence that your friend thinks more of you than you think of her. It will take more than a few flowers to put this right. Friends have to feel they can rely on each other. The only way you can attempt to put it right is to devote a lot of your time to her while she gets settled in and hope she has a forgiving nature.

Shippy's avatar

@flutherother That’s a bit harsh? I think in this life, we don’t expect too much from people, it is up to the person whether or not they supply moving service as a mate or not. I have friends who didn’t even come to important funerals with me, simply because they don’t like funerals. I think people have limits you know. And also @jsc3791 did more than enough to make it up. More than I would certainly expect from any friend.

zenvelo's avatar

@Shippy If that’s your level of “more than enough” I’d hate to be dependent on you. The oversleeping was one thing, but going back to sleep is a pretty tough fault to overcome.

flutherother's avatar

@Shippy Without knowing the full circumstances you could be right. There could be an acceptable reason for not helping her friend. If there is then her friend is entitled to know what it is. That would help clear the air.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t know if you can make it up. I think you just have to try to always follow through on promises in the future. Perhaps the most important thing to learn is to think twice before making promises.

I assume this is not the case, but for some people it could be—drugs or alcohol might cause the unreliability. In that situation, that would become an issue for the person to start to face, and maybe take this as a warning sign that this is something they need to take care of.

As to the guilt, all I know is that too much guilt is dysfunctional. You have to forgive yourself at some point, or you will always be acting from guilt, and that’s not what friends do. Accept her forgiveness. Trust that your apology is enough. Accept that you may be in the unreliable category now. Work your ass off to move back into the reliable category.

Like I said above, to be reliable you must only promise things you can carry through. So think twice before you make a promise. Once you do make a promise, make damn sure you do what you said you’d do.

Shippy's avatar

@zenvelo Honestly? I would hate you to be “dependent” on me, I’d hate anyone to be. I would also hate to be dependent on people I care about, including friends. Forgive me if I sound blunt, maybe my expectations of friends are too low? I’d be so grateful the friend rocked up later with dinner and flowers. I would be mortified if she cried. I had caused her such pain? Hopefully not.

gailcalled's avatar

I too have trouble with the second snooze. Sleeping through an alarm is one thing, doing it after a wake-up call from your friend is worrisome.

Why not try to figure out how to prevent this from ever happening again; supper and flowers and sobbing would make me very uncomfortable. Why should I have to shoulder the burden of your crying fit, in addition to the other issues.

Actions speak louder…..always.

jsc3791's avatar

Well, there was no “fit” of crying at all, @gailcalled. I just teared up, and quickly brushed it off so I didn’t make her uncomfortable.

I made a secondary heartfelt apology today and we’re good. I emphasized that this was in no way trying to make her uncomfortable or burden her with my guilt, but I just wanted her to know that I was very sorry. I told her I didn’t expect her to accept the apology or to give forgiveness but I wanted to put it out there that I was sorry.

We’re moving forward.

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