5 Key Components of a Good Apology

TIME

Apologies do make a difference. People often prefer them over money, even if they’re just cheap talk.

What does the research say about the best way to apologize?

One

Don’t apologize for what you think you did wrong. Apologize for what they think you did wrong:

…victims reacted most positively to apologies that were congruent with their self-construals.

Two

The most effective apologies have four parts:

Via Wait: The Art and Science of Delay:

Aaron Lazare devotes two full chapters of On Apology and much of his subsequent research to questions of timing and delay. He finds that effective apologies typically contain four parts:

1. Acknowledge that you did it.

2. Explain what happened.

3. Express remorse.

4. Repair the damage, as much as you can.

This aligns with previous research on effective apologies:

Results indicated that relationships recovered significantly when offending partners used behaviors labeled as…

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