I’m Just Not Feeling It. Why So Many Apologies Fall Flat

Before Gary Chapman and I wrote When Sorry Isn’t Enough, we asked 400 people what they look for in sincere apologies.  We found that their answers fell into these five categories (we call them ‘apology languages’):

  • Apology Language #1: Expressing Regret I am sorry.”
  • Apology Language #2: Accepting Responsibility I was wrong.”
  • Apology Language #3: Restitution-Making Amends What can I do to make it right?”
  • Apology Language #4: Genuinely Repenting I want to change.”
  • Apology Language #5: Requesting Forgiveness Will You Please Forgive me?”
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Suspended Brewers Baseball Player Braun Phones in Apologies to Fans

Braun has surprised many people, myself included, by making personal calls to apologize. I give him a lot of credit for not just releasing a statement, reading a polished letter, or tweeting his apology in 140 characters or fewer. In our book, When Sorry Isn’t Enough, Gary Chapman and I talk about the value of making amends for wrongdoing.   Read More » When Sorry Isn’t Enough.

Mayor Bob Filner Steals the Spotlight From Anthony Weiner

Who could possibly pull the media spotlight away from Let-Us-Deal-With-This-Privately-Anthony-Weiner who is running for Mayor of New York City? It’s the self-destructing sitting mayor of San Diego, Bob Filner. Seven women have come forward accusing San Diego Mayor Bob Filner of what has been described as “truly reprehensible” behavior including groping and sexually charged remarks. Mayor […]

Paula Deen Cooks Up a Half-Baked Apology

A Quick Recap: Deen was deposed in connection with a sexual harassment lawsuit that was filed against her and her brother, Earl “Bubba” Hiers, by a former employee who claims, among other things, that her employers used language in her presence that could be deemed racist. In her testimony, the 133-page transcript of which was […]

Expert: Sergio Garcia’s apology good, but incomplete.

My analysis is featured in article that just appeared in the Greensboro, NC News and Record newspaper. The topic was the sport story about Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia’s apology to legendary golfer Tiger Woods. What had Garcia said to offend Woods? Garcia was asked last week if he would invite Tiger Woods for dinner during the upcoming […]

J.C. Penney Gives a Cheap Apology to America

J.C. Penney launched a 30-second apology advertisement. This is rare. I give them credit for offering a mea culpa. However, they have much more work to do going forward. Our research showed that in order to convey sincerity to all types of listeners, public apologies should include these 5 parts: 1. Expressing regret- Saying “I’m […]

Reese Gives a Blonde Apology

Actress Reese Witherspoon gave a lame apology for her recent drunken spat with police. Late Sunday night, the Academy Award-winning actress and he husband were arrested. Witherspoon released this apology through her Los Angeles-based spokeswoman, Meredith O’Sullivan Wasson: “Out of respect for the ongoing legal situation, I cannot comment on everything that is being reported […]