THE #1 GET AHEAD SKILL TO BUILD NOW!
What fauxapologising can do to your wellbeing.
Our heartfelt regrets to the apology, that cornerstone of common decency. You had quite a run as two words that couldn’t be minced. Now you send nothing but mixed messages. You can be cryptic (see: Katy Perry tweeting that she might collaborate with Taylor Swift “if she says she’s sorry”… for something). You’re defiantly sarcastic (in her hit single “Sorry,” Beyoncé spends three minutes and 52 seconds saying anything but that). You’ve made history, for all the wrong reasons (Hillary Clinton was the first presidential candidate ever chronicled to say the words I’m sorry in a concession speech). You hijack conversations so often that some companies have created “Sorry” jars, with female employees contributing a $1 bill for every gratuitous apology that slips out. Still, that scarlet S has lost its emotional currency. It’s come to mean nothing, when it should mean everything.
“It’s not hard to apologise,” says Cynthia Frantz, PHD, a social psychologist and professor at Oberlin College who has studied the science of the S-word. “But it’s hard to apologise and mean it.” Our resistance to acknowledging we messed up runs deep. “Saying ‘sorry’ means we have to be vulnerable and admit we’re flawed,” says Marjorie Ingall, cofounder of Sorrywatch, the apology analysis website. But done right, the word is mental dynamite, knocking down walls and saving relationships from the verge of ruin. Intrigued? Read on.