The perfect excuses: The 3 ingredients that cannot be missing

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Robert Maurer

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We all make mistakes, it's part of life and learning. But when our mistakes harm others, we must try to repair the damage caused, or at least minimize the consequences. Then that's when excuses come into play. In fact, apologizing in time can avoid greater evils, or at least it can serve to indicate to the person that we are truly sorry for what we have done. For an apology to be truly effective it must come from sincere repentance. Unfortunately, this kind of apology is less common.

A company where apologies are automated

As children they taught us, or rather forced us, to apologize for our mistakes. If we were wrong, our parents would ask us to apologize immediately. So, it often happened that we apologized without knowing what we had done wrong. Therefore, these were empty excuses in which there was no sincere repentance, because we did not recognize the mistake made. As a result, apologizing has become an automatic mechanism, so many have gotten to the point where, without knowing why, they apologize all the time. From an early age they have learned to recognize the signs of disgust in others, very subtle gestures that denote annoyance and react to them by apologizing automatically, without taking responsibility and without even being aware of the extent of what they have done. situation is: “I apologize if something I said or did hurt you”. But this sentence only denotes that we are still behaving like children. In fact, it would be very helpful and as a mature person to ask: “Did something bother you that I said or did?” This way we could understand where we went wrong in order to avoid such behavior in the future and, ultimately, if we see fit, offer a genuine apology to show our sincere repentance.

Excuses are not as effective as we think

A study by London Business School psychologists has shown that excuses are not as effective as we think. These researchers organized a game in which each participant was offered ten euros and then asked to work in pairs. If the person decided to give the partner the money it would triple, so the partner could decide how much money to give back. However, it was all organized in such a way that the partner only returned 5 euros so that the person would feel robbed. Afterwards, half of the people were offered an apology while the other half were only asked to imagine they were getting an apology. So each person had to evaluate how effective the excuses had been, both real and imaginary. Interestingly, those who imagined the apology gave a score of 5,3 points while those who received the real apology offered only 3,5 points - a simple experiment that confirmed that we tend to overestimate the value of the apology. This does not mean that apologies are ineffective, but we must be aware that in a society where apologies are automatic, they are only the first step in obtaining forgiveness. Indeed, if the apology is truly honest it can restore dignity to the victim and save the wrongdoer, but most people are better at inventing justifications or denying the mistake they made than apologizing and taking responsibility. Therefore, it is not surprising that psychological studies indicate that some excuses can go so far as to irritate people.

How to apologize effectively?

Khalil Gibran said, “A man must be old enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to take advantage of them and strong enough to correct them.” A recent study conducted at Ohio State University revealed that the Lebanese poet was right. The key ingredients of an effective apology are as follows: - Expressing regret - Explaining what went wrong - Recognizing responsibility - Declaring repentance - Offering to repair the damage - Asking to forget responsibility. Basically it is about recognizing that we were wrong. Obviously, to do this we must first be aware of what we have done wrong, so it is not worth offering a generic apology.The second most important factor is to try to repair the damage done, because in this way the person understands that we really are. willing to do something to correct our mistake. This aspect is a declaration of goodwill.The third is the expression of repentance, which is understood as a confirmation that we have really felt bad. And it's the hardest detail to fake because it doesn't just include our words and actions, but it also includes our facial expressions and posture, which must indicate we're truly sorry.
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