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Why we've been saying 'sorry' all wrong

Apology Is Complicated

  • An apology is useless if spoken too soon. It is important to first let the grieving party speak their minds.
  • For public figures, the sincerity of the apology is trickier, as their public apology (to a grieving party or family member) may sound good to the world but may not be enough for the recipient.

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Why we've been saying 'sorry' all wrong

Why we've been saying 'sorry' all wrong

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200512-why-weve-been-saying-sorry-all-wrong

bbc.com

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Key Ideas

The Rules Of Sorry

  • Accept Responsibility.
  • Acknowledge harm and suffering that you may have caused.
  • Do make a promise of future correction of the mistake.
  • Be sincere.
  • Make an offer of an immediate remedy.
  • Don't forget to include the words ‘sorry’ or ‘apologize’.

The Gratitude Trick

A recent study in a marketing journal advises to use gratitude, and start with a note of thanks towards what has been endured by the recipient.

For Example, Saying “Thank you for your patience’ instead of ‘Sorry for the wait’.

Explanations and Excuses

... along with justifications is all we normally blurt out during a heated discussion or argument, and it just makes things worse.

Focus on the present and the future, and not try to justify the past.

Apology Is Complicated

  • An apology is useless if spoken too soon. It is important to first let the grieving party speak their minds.
  • For public figures, the sincerity of the apology is trickier, as their public apology (to a grieving party or family member) may sound good to the world but may not be enough for the recipient.

The ‘Apology Gift’

While apologizing, a certain cost has to be paid up. The point of this cost is not to benefit or enrich the recipient of the ‘Apology Gift’ but the sacrifice or the hurt the giver is willing to undergo.

For Example, an offer to cancel a weekend trip in order to spend that time with the partner.

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A Long, Hard Look in the Mirror

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 beha...

The Chance to Move Forward

When people focus on their core values, they seem to become more willing to sincerely apologize. 

By understanding the many barriers to an apology— the indifference to another’s pain or the fraying of a relationship—we can glimpse what’s holding us back from saying “I’m sorry” in a particular situation. 

From there, we have the opportunity to change course and let the healing begin.

How to Make a Good Apology

A high-quality apology has three elements:

  1. It accepts responsibility for the wrong and doesn’t even hint that outside forces, or the victim, caused the offender to do what they did.
  2. It’s unqualified. If the apology contains a “but,” it fails. There’s time later—after the injury has had time to heal—to bring up any qualifications that might be relevant to future interactions.
  3. It offers to make amends to avoid the transgression in the future.
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 ...

Timing

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.

Assuring the victim
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.

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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 ...

Be honest and vulnerable

In order to show your sincerity when apologizing, you must be honest and vulnerable. That can lead to the cultivation of meaningful relationships. It can also lead to rejection, which is what makes it so scary. 

When you apologize, be willing to share openly and candidly, allowing emotions to flow freely, so that you can be fully seen.

Admit fault

Take responsibility for your actions and admit your mistakes or transgressions. State them out loud. Yes, it will be scary. It will feel shameful for a time. But it is worth it.

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