A wise piece of advice
Not from me, a study about how to issue an effective apology:
There are six components to an apology – and the more of them you include when you say you’re sorry, the more effective your apology will be, according to new research.I think we could all use a primer on how to effectively apologize. I know I sometimes forget how to do it right and I've been apologizing for decades ...
But if you’re pressed for time or space, there are two elements that are the most critical to having your apology accepted.
“Apologies really do work, but you should make sure you hit as many of the six key components as possible,” said Roy Lewicki, lead author of the study and professor emeritus of management and human resources at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business.
In two separate experiments, Lewicki and his co-authors tested how 755 people reacted to apologies containing anywhere from one to all six of these elements:
1. Expression of regret
2. Explanation of what went wrong
3. Acknowledgment of responsibility
4. Declaration of repentance
5. Offer of repair
6. Request for forgiveness
The research is published in the May 2016 issue of the journal Negotiation and Conflict Management Research. Lewicki’s co-authors were Robert Lount, associate professor of management and human resources at Ohio State, and Beth Polin of Eastern Kentucky University.
While the best apologies contained all six elements, not all of these components are equal, the study found.
“Our findings showed that the most important component is an acknowledgement of responsibility. Say it is your fault, that you made a mistake,” Lewicki said.
The second most important element was an offer of repair.
“One concern about apologies is that talk is cheap. But by saying, ‘I’ll fix what is wrong,’ you’re committing to take action to undo the damage,” he said.
The next three elements were essentially tied for third in effectiveness: expression of regret, explanation of what went wrong and declaration of repentance.
The least effective element of an apology is a request for forgiveness. “That’s the one you can leave out if you have to,” Lewicki said.
Update: While googling something else I came upon this piece about effective parenting in which a woman says she doesn't make her child say she's sorry for being mean to one of her peers anymore because it's insincere:
I’d rather she apologize when she understands, and genuinely feels like it is important to reach out and mend the fences. Now, that does not mean I ignore her offending behavior and let it lie, it just means that I don’t make her say it until she means it.
By making her say words to someone, that she does not yet comprehend, or even mean in her heart, I am teaching her that it is more important to care what others think, than to speak her truth.
Blecccch. If you want to know what the hell is wrong with our culture, this sort of tripe is a good example. No wonder everyone acts like animals.