How to apologize to anyone

Scientists have come up with an ideal apology algorithm!

So you screwed up. I don’t ask what it was: I forgot about my little brother’s birthday, I didn’t call a friend to the party, I wiped my laptop with my girlfriend’s cat, and the cat snagged or — oh no! – called the girl from accounting an adder, and she, an adder, heard.

Of course, you can pretend that nothing happened and wait until the arrangement, friendship, sex and the agreements signed in the accounting department come back into your life by themselves … But it’s better to apologize, and not just anyhow, but according to science!

Scientists have published six key arguments that make apology effective.

Expression of regret

That’s right: “I’m so sorry I wiped the laptop with Butters!”

Wrong: “I’m so sorry you saw me wiping my laptop with Butters.”

An explanation of what you did wrong

That’s right: “I should have thought that Butters is the same family member (hereinafter inaudible).”

Wrong: “I should have thought that he could bite my finger.”

Declaration of repentance

That’s right: “I will never do that again!”

Wrong: “Butters will regret that he refused to wipe the laptop with himself!”

Repair Offer

That’s right: “Do you want me to buy Butters food with lobster?”

Wrong: “C’mon, he was already battered already. Let me buy you a new one. Better yet, the X-Box! ”

Request for forgiveness

Right: “Forgive me!”

Wrong: all other words.

Scientists went further and asked a group of volunteers to test their apologies. Some used all the key arguments, others several and in different combinations. The most working pair was “Explanation of what you did wrong” + “Proposal for repair”. The least effective were those who simply apologized.

Psychologically, it works like this: the offer of repair – actions aimed at resolving the situation – shifts the focus of attention from the negative to the positive, while with the usual request for an apology, you fix attention on your misconduct.

By Cindy
August 7, 2019

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