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

Family Caregiver Coach, Cancer Empowerment Advocate and Chief Inspiration Officer at Center for Inspiring Greatness | Empowered Family Caregiver
Tandy Elisala is passionate about helping family caregivers go from being overwhelmed and stressed to empowered and calm. Tandy went through cancer four times and learned how to heal using conventional, complementary, and alternative therapy. Tandy left her corporate career to take care of both parents simultaneously while raising three kids as a single mom. She took care of both parents for 2 1/2 years until their respective deaths. Tandy now teaches what she learned on her journey. Tandy is a family caregiver coach, a multiple best-selling author, inspirational speaker and mom to three adult kids, one angel dog and one diva cat.

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2 replies
  1. Mitch Tublin
    Mitch Tublin says:

    Agree with you across the board. Sometimes people know they must say the forgive words, however, they never rebuild trust as the reality is they were not sincere in real forgiveness.

    • 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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