Apology - How to Deliver a True Apology
By Arthur J. Grossman © 2011
Has anyone ever apologized to you, and it seemed lackluster? Do some apologies sound more like excuses for bad behavior? What is a true apology and why does the quality of an apology matter?
Many attempts to make an apology resemble the following:
- "I apologize for whatever I might have done."
- "If you were hurt because of something I did, I am sorry."
- "I don't know why you are so upset. If I did something, I am sorry."
- "Sorry if I did something to offend you."
What is the meaning of "apology" and why do many apologies fail?
Ask others to define apology, and you will likely receive a myriad of definitions. The definition of an apology can also vary by culture. Aaron Lazare, in his book, On Apology, states that an apology is "an encounter between two parties in which one party, the offender, acknowledges responsibility for an offense or grievance and expresses regret or remorse to a second party, the aggrieved."
The origin of apology comes from the Greek word apologia meaning a spoken or written defense. The bottom line is that many attempted apologies fail because
1. They do not acknowledge and accept responsibility for the offensive conduct/behavior.
2. They fail to express authentic remorse for the bad conduct/behavior.
3. They fail to offer any ideas to remedy the hurt.
How does one apologize effectively?