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Do you know how to say “I’m sorry” and mean it?

Or are your apologies grudging and filled with excuses instead? When was the last time you gave or received an apology? How sincere or meaningful was the apology? Did it soothe hurt feelings or remedy the situation? Or was it defensive, unconvincing and insincere — only making things worse? In “Is a Grudging Apology Better Than No Apology?” Jessica Grose writes about her struggles to get her children to make sincere attempts at saying sorry: I eke an apology out of my younger daughter several times a week. She is generally a serene child, but when she loses her temper she can go from bleating lamb to aggressive honey badger in seconds. She only acts like this at home, and often her upset is focused on her older sister for some perceived injustice — “She only wants to watch ‘Friends’ and it’s boring!” Because she’s the younger sister and only 6, and doesn’t yet have the verbal dexterity to spar with words, she occasionally resorts to charging and tackling. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t feel particularly remorseful about sacking her older sister. But when this occurs, I insist that she apologize and agree that we don’t put our hands on anybody — even when we’d rather watch “Full House.” Deep down, I think we both know this is a farce and that she might wake up and tackle her sister again tomorrow, but I still find worth in going through the motions of apology, though I’m not always sure why.
I was thinking of this when I read “Sorry, Sorry, Sorry: The Case for Good Apologies,” a helpful new book by Marjorie Ingall and Susan McCarthy. They argue that apologizing well is a difficult art, and that we’d be a more just and kind society if more people — including our young children, celebrities and politicians — learned how to do it. The authors list the qualities of good and bad apologies. The No. 1 reason they give for not apologizing at all is: “You don’t mean it.” As they explain, “You’ll just apologize badly and risk making things worse.” They have six and a half concise and straightforward rules for a good apology, and these apply to villains of all ages: “1. Say you’re sorry. 2. For what you did. 3. Show you understand why it was bad. 4. Only explain if you need to; don’t make excuses. 5. Say why it won’t happen again. 6. Offer to make up for it.” The additional half-step is to listen. I agree with Ingall and McCarthy that grudging apologies, especially those from public figures, can often backfire — we’ve all rolled our eyes at the “if I offended anyone” frame — though I think that in some circumstances, a sorry that might not be full-throated still has its place. In the kid context, it’s pretty straightforward: I don’t want to let my kid think it’s OK to body-slam someone without making amends, and I don’t want her to think she can skate through life without even attempting to remedy or reflect on her mistakes. My students, read the entire opinion essay, then tell me: How good are you at apologizing? Do you feel comfortable saying you are sorry? Or do you typically offer defensive, grudging and excuse-filled apologies? Have you ever given an apology when you didn’t really “mean it”? What makes a good and a genuine apology? What’s the best apology you have ever given or received? How did the apology help to remedy or repair the situation? What makes a bad apology? What’s the worst apology you have ever given or received? Why was it so bad? Have you ever received a halfhearted or conditional apology? What do you think of the six and a half concise rules for a good apology offered in the essay? Which, if any, would you like to incorporate into your own future acts of contrition? What are your apology dos and don’ts?
How would you answer the question in the headline, “Is a grudging apology better than no apology?” Is it worth “going through the motions” of remorse and regret? Or do insincere and unconvincing apologies just make things worse? Why are apologies important for the person who gives them and for the person who receives them? Ingall and McCarthy write that a strong apology is valorous, that “the aftermath of a good apology can improve the lives and spirits of everyone it touches.” Do you agree? What value do you see in apologies? After reading the article, are you more or less likely to give a full-throated, heartfelt and sincere apology in the future?
Yes, I know how to feel and say the same yet I don't whine when the same is never reciprocated.
Apathy makes one a better sentient.
Torsten · 36-40, M
when i know i done wrong and feel bad over it, i give genuine apologies. I wont ever apologize for any other reason though
jshm2 · 41-45, M
No,

Mainly as I don't do things I feel sorry about.

Also, China called, they want their wall back.

 
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