Saturday, December 16, 2017
 

I'm Sorry... Really

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There are some people who have no problem saying that they're sorry. There are some people who rarely, or flat-out refuse, to say they're sorry. And then there are people who apologize at the drop of a hat and profusely without truly being sorry. The latter group could include an airline gate agent who has to appear remorseful when your luggage is lost even though they couldn't care less.

When it comes to saying you're sorry, I'm not talking about the infamous media "non-apologies" we hear so often from celebrities and politicians. These almost always start out, "I'm sorry if I offended anyone..." and are often used when someone isn't sorry or is trying to avoid being sued. The easiest way to tell if someone isn't really sorry is whether they actually admit fault or guilt when delivering the apology. But I'm not talking about these people; I'm talking about friends and colleagues with whom we associate with every day.

Did a coworker take credit for a task you did? Did your neighbor borrow an item and break it? Did your son or daughter do something that you specifically forbade them to do? These are the people we expect to own up to their mistakes.

So what types of people are willing to swallow their pride and truly make an honest apology? An article on The Huffington Post titled, Some Personalities Are More Likely to Apologize than Others, references a study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences that used the HEXACO model of personality (honesty/humility, emotionality, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness). In that study, researchers noted that people who scored high in conscientiousness, honesty, and humility were also more likely to say they apologized more frequently. Consequently, and surprising to the researchers, agreeable people were less likely to offer quick apologies.

Take this into consideration during your everyday interactions and learn to recognize someone who is genuinely sincere in his or her apology. Likewise, if you're the one that's responsible, then accept your mistake, apologize, and move on.

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