How to Say Sorry when You Forget

Whether you forget a birthday, to say congratulations, miss an anniversary or overlook a social event, there are times when you’ll need to say sorry to a certain someone – be it a colleague, friend, or family member.

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to do this, which should enable you to maintain those relationships without a great deal of fuss.

Why we forget

Life is extremely busy in this day and age – from tight deadlines to busy workloads and social schedules, it can be hard 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 such as renewing your car insurance to replying to a message, or even an anniversary or a birthday is easier than you may think.

So what can you do if this happens to you? To avoid losing your connection with the other person, it’s important to apologize quickly! Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone chooses to acknowledge them. Making sure you own up to your forgetfulness is key to overcoming it and moving on. Being defensive or making excuses simply won’t help the matter.

Top tips on how to do this…

1. Be transparent
2. Go above and beyond to emphasize the apology
3. Offer an excuse if appropriate (this needs to be valid)
4. Move on and stop dwelling on it

Ways to say sorry

There are many ways to say sorry for being forgetful, and the approach you need will be dependent on the type of occasion you missed, and your relationship with the individual. Here we’ve listed some of the ways to say sorry, so you can find the one which feels best for your situation.

Say sorry with words

First and foremost, say sorry with heartfelt words. Whether you send a letter, visit the individual you’re apologizing too or call them up, saying the words ‘I’m sorry’ goes a long way. It shows them you have admitted your fault and wish to move on, or better still, make up for it.

Send a gift

Alternatively, you may wish to send the person a gift, such as a beautiful bouquet of flowers. This effort will go a long way and will show the person that you really mean it. If you live further afield, opting for an online florist such as Serenata Flowers to send an apology gift is an easy and efficient way to reach out to that friend, colleague, or family member you wish to apologize to.

When they arrive home to a huge, over-the-top floral arrangement, it’s likely they will forgive you pretty quickly. There are also options to send letterbox flowers, meaning the recipient won’t need to be at home to receive them. After all, flowers are one of the most prevalent ways to say ‘I’m sorry’ and are almost always well received.

Recreate the moment

If you’re saying sorry for forgetting a birthday or anniversary, why not recreate the moment. From a romantic candlelit dinner or a meal out at a fancy restaurant to a weekend getaway or a surprise party, recreating the forgotten special occasion is a great way to show your remorse.

It’s also an excuse for an additional celebration and one that is likely to be remembered for some time to come.

Write a letter

A handwritten letter detailing your apology is often better than a phone call and it’s much more personal. You can even add a note stating how you intend to make it up to the individual in question – be that jumping on the next plane to visit them, treating them to an upmarket dinner, or even whisking them away for a weekend getaway to their favourite hotel or destination.

Writing this all down will allow them to really take in your apology before you both speak face-to-face.

Avoid forgetting again

To ensure you don’t forget the same date again the following year, be sure to add the correct date to your diary. Our phones even have alert features, which can be set a week or a few days in advance, allowing you to be notified of upcoming events in plenty of time, usually via an alarm or pop-up message.

Whether you need to buy a gift or book a flight, adding calendar dates to your smartphone is a great idea. You can even select that these dates roll over to the following year, to avoid you having to put the same dates in over and over again.

It’s easier than we think to forget important dates, and although this makes us feel extremely guilty, it’s important to avoiding dwelling on this guilt. Actions speak louder than words, so try to do something to show the individual in question just how sorry you are.


Lily Calyx is our in-house flower whisperer, an expert on all things botanical and an enthusiastic orchids collector. She loves discussing the insights of the secret world of flowers, shares her gardening tips and hacks and moons over the latest additions to Serenata Flowers flower range. Ask Lily anything about flowers and we can guarantee she will have the answer.

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