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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Three Questions That Could Save Your Job

It’s inevitable that you’ll find yourself cross-wise with someone at work. When that happens, here is my advice. These questions will serve to give you time to think, information about their complaint/s, and your listening just might help them to calm down. What many people really need is a good listening to. Read More »

Two Simple Things Your Relationships Need For Survival

Gary Chapman is well known as “The Love Language Man.” His New York Times book, The Five Love Languages, selling over 9 million copies, has become a classic. To have blissful relationships, showing love is a must.  To have happy friends and co-workers, showing appreciation is essential. Recently, Dr. Chapman has embraced a second necessary ingredient for healthy relationships: dealing with offenses through apologies and forgiveness.  In May, Gary Chapman and I released When Sorry Isn’t Enough, which tells readers how to make things right with anyone. We believe that these two books fit together like a hand in a glove. Both sets of tools are needed to make relationships work.  Read More »

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 […]

How to Give a Meaningful Apology at Work by Mark Goulston

In his book, Just Listen, Mark Goulston talks about how to give a strong apology. He says:

Is there someone you need to apologize to? If there is, don’t just say you’re sorry; give them a Power Apology.  It has three parts:

1. Admit that you were wrong and that you’re sorry. Really own up to what you did — or failed to do. For example, “I jumped down your throat and berated you mercilessly when you didn’t get that report done on time. I was wrong to treat you that way and I am sorry.”

2. Show them you understand the effect it had on them. For instance, “And when I did that, and wouldn’t let it go, I think I made you feel cornered and probably anxious — and maybe even panicky.” You don’t need to jump to conclusions or make assumptions about what they must be feeling or thinking; just try to really put yourself in their shoes.

3. Tell them what you are going to do differently in the future so that it doesn’t happen again.  Read More »

What to Say When… Your Wife Pushes You to Climb the Corporate Ladder

Scenario: Scott’s wife is at it again. She fussed at him for not pushing more for a promotion at work. As usual, Scott feels a mixture of guilt (not very strong) and annoyance (growing by the minute). For their entire 15-year marriage, Jane has pestered him to work harder and be a better provider. Scott […]

Apologies at Work: An Attorney’s Story of Burying the Hatchet

Quite unexpectedly, he approached me and volunteered he had acted poorly years before. He apologized he had said things about me he found out were not true, and he had been too proud at the time to apologize. I apologized, too, for my behavior.  As a lawyer supposedly trained to bleed away emotion and vitriol, I should have looked past the other lawyer’s comments at the time. In retrospect, I have concluded my wrong was the larger of the two, a wrong compounded by the passage of the years.  I had a clearer sight line on the issue, but I squandered it on a cheap angle: my own pride and anger. In one of life’s shadowy twists, it was the other lawyer who came to possess what I did not: humility. Read More »