Women's Health (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS -

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.

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