How to Apologize

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Yesterday I was contacted by 7 TV News to comment on what makes a good apology, the state of etiquette today and why we need manners. The journalist interviewed me for around 5 minutes, and of course only one sentence ended up on the news report which you can watch here.

 

It made me think, particularly about public figures who make mistakes but never apologize, or give a quasi apology – the kind that isn’t really an apology, as in “I’m sorry if you were offended” which does not admit to any blame and is in fact, not an apology, but a shifting of the guilt.

So why does sorry seem to be the hardest word to say in a genuine way? It’s an admission of guilt. An admission that we are not perfect. An admission of being human and fallible. An admission of weakness.

Apologizing from the heart is a sign of strength not weakness. It shows courage to publicly admit you were wrong. We lose respect for people who won’t apologize or admit they made a mistake, particularly when it’s very obvious that there has been a major transgression.

So what is the best way to apologize?

Admit you were wrong, misguided or made the error of judgement.
Say sorry and that you were wrong. Take the blame. Do so in a genuine and sincere tone of voice. Stop talking!

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3 Comments

  • I think that even when we have to apologize we have to check whether we are really guilty or not. Sometimes apologizing for the things that anyone would normally do in any situation reduces the self worth of a person. Just because the other person is angry, it does not mean that we reduce our self worth and say ‘sorry’ when it is actually not needed.

  • I left this comment on the TV news site. Slight oops but I am not sorry 🙂

    Imogen
    A nice clip but not the best they could have used, no doubt. I think the two “apologies” were simply awful and were indeed all about the offenders and not the least but sincere. I think it’s hard for these people to say I’m sorry because they are not sorry at all. They took cheap shots, drew attention to themselves and feel smug and superior when they are not.

    There are reasons SOME public figures are advised not to say I’m sorry, which often have to do with legal liability. Sadly, connecting as humans takes second place to legalities.

    Robin

  • Accepting and saying sorry is not a form of defeat and weakness, instead it is a courageous deed to do. It takes courage to accept your mistakes and ask for apology.
    Thanks for posting great article here.

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