!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: How to Apologize

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

How to Apologize

A sincere, convincing apology is a key part of the process of recovering from making a mistake. Thanks to research by Barry R. Schlenker & Bruce W. Darby1, it is clear what elements an apology needs to include in order to serve its purpose:
  1. Saying "I'm sorry."

  2. Expressing remorse.

  3. Offering to make up for the damage, i.e., offering restitution.

  4. Castigating oneself. ("I was an idiot" is the example Schlenker and Darby give.)

  5. Asking for forgiveness.
Making a point of having these five items memorized is one of the easiest steps one can take in the ongoing effort to polish interpersonal skills.
1 Barry R. Schlenker & Bruce W. Darby, "The use of apologies in social predicaments," Social Psychology Quarterly, Vol. 44, pp. 271-278.