How to Have an Effective Forgiveness Conversation

How to Have an Effective Forgiveness Conversation

During my monthly coaching call this month, a question came up about how to have an effective forgiveness conversation with someone. I thought I’d share my thoughts on this topic with you should you be in a situation where a forgiveness conversation is in order.

How to Have an Effective Forgiveness Conversation


The first thing I recommend when asking for forgiveness is acknowledging the hurt you did. Be emotionally and physically present with the person. Listen to them and validate their feelings. This is very important so they feel heard and understood.


Then, if the issue involves money or some other item, right the wrong; whether you have to pay back the money involved or pay for whatever was involved. Next, you have to resolve never to do it again.


Lastly, you have to ask for forgiveness. I recognize this isn’t easy. Apologize with grace and humility. Be honest. Be ready to accept the answer you receive. Understand that if you’ve hurt someone, they may not be at a point where they can truly hear your apology yet. Everyone heals differently. Everyone must recognize that forgiving is for them to experience true freedom and be willing to release all the hate, anger, contempt, blame, resentment, judgment, etc… around the situation. This can take time. Check out this article here I wrote about how to forgive when you really want to hurt someone.

Difference Between Forgiving and Trusting

Recognize that there is a difference between forgiving and trusting.

Forgiveness has to do with the past. If someone forgives you, that doesn’t mean they want you in their life. Respect their decision and know that setting boundaries about what someone will and won’t tolerate in their life is a healthy thing to do. Trust, on the other hand, has to do with the future. When having a forgiveness conversation, you can incorporate everything into one sitting or you can have separate conversations… one for forgiveness and another conversation at a later time around trusting and a possible future relationship. Just be clear what your intentions are in the beginning. Just know that if someone forgives you, it doesn’t automatically mean they TRUST you or want you in their life.


Trust takes time to build and seconds to destroy. When rebuilding trust, it takes time, patience, love, compassion and boundaries.


It’s Your Turn: Do you need to have a forgiveness conversation with someone? What would you add to these tips for having an effective forgiveness discussion with someone? Please comment below!

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Tandy Elisala

Founder and Chief Inspiration Officer at Center for Inspiring Greatness
Tandy Elisala is passionate about bringing hope and wholehearted living to people going through cancer and their caregivers. Tandy went through cancer four times and learned how to heal using conventional, complementary, and alternative therapy. She left her 23-year corporate career to take care of both parents simultaneously for 2 ½ years. She now teaches what she learned on her journey and how to thrive during and after cancer using the true sources of health and healing: hope and mindset, spiritual connection, relationships, alignment and mind, body healing. Tandy is a multiple best-selling author, radio show host, mother of three grown kids and her precious dog, Roxy. Learn more about Tandy at

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2 replies
    • Tandy Elisala
      Tandy Elisala says:

      I agree, Mitch. I also think sometimes people think that in being forgiven, they are also being trusted again when they are two different things.


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