I made a dumb comment to my sister about a friend of hers. I regretted it as soon as I said it. But my sister is totally rigid and unforgiving. She told me I was “canceled” and hasn’t spoken to me in many months. I’ve apologized several times. Any ideas? —B.B.

Once we apologize sincerely, it’s generally out of our hands whether we’re forgiven. But sincerity requires more than puppy dog eyes and a somber tone of voice. Maybe your sister would reinstate you if you convinced her you understood why your comment was nasty and what you learned from the episode. It couldn’t hurt, right?
—Adapted from “Social Q’s” in The New York Times Magazine