An apology

An apology

An apology is one of the most profound interactions two human beings can have with one another.

Research by Lazare and others suggests effective apologies—meaning those that are accepted by an offended party—all tend to share a set of underlying features.

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Communication

theatlantic.com

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Assure the victim that the bad behavior won’t happen again.

You should be more focused on the other person, making sure they really believe that you get what you did wrong. Without that emphasis on the other person’s emotional state—and the promise of change—an apology sounds insincere.

Apologies also have a law of diminishing returns, and overdoing it can make each individual apology feel less sincere. 

If you apologize too frequently to someone, it becomes background noise. 

When people make the common mistake of saying they’re sorry too quickly, they can miss a crucial step towards reconciliation.

If someone commits a serious transgression, it’s best to apologize only after the victim has had a chance to “yell and vent” and fully process the betrayal.

Apologies that come too late, like those that come too early, are likely to fail; the sweet spot is somewhere between the two.

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Be sincere

The only time to apologize is when you’re genuinely remorseful. 

Avoid any apology that is forced. The person you are apologizing to will pick up on your insincerity, causing further feelings of distrust.

Apologies are not about right and wrong

They're about taking responsibility for unintentionally (or even intentionally) hurting someone emotionally or physically.

You apologize less because of you and your crime, but because of its effects on someone, usually someone you say you care about.

Apologies bring us face-to-face with the fact that we have something to apologize for, triggering a sense of guilt and shame. 

Saying sorry puts one’s shameful behavior out there. That’s why transgressors often view an apology as threatening to their self-image and consequently hesitate to offer one. 

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