A Sincere Apology Fosters Forgiveness, but People Still Find It Hard to Say 'I'm Sorry'

By Shenfeld, Hilary | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), September 28, 1998 | Go to article overview

A Sincere Apology Fosters Forgiveness, but People Still Find It Hard to Say 'I'm Sorry'


Shenfeld, Hilary, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Hilary Shenfeld Daily Herald Staff Writer

The three sweetest words used to be "I love you."

Nowadays, the three words setting hearts aflutter are "I am sorry." Not as cuddly, perhaps, but just as meaningful.

President Clinton has discovered the power of these words. Once he figured out that denying his sexual involvement with Monica Lewinsky was getting him into trouble instead of out of it, he started apologizing for his indiscretion.

And apologizing and apologizing.

The sincerity of the president's apologies may be called into question, but their effectiveness is clear - polls show that the American people are more willing to forgive him now that he has said "I'm sorry."

So if apologizing helps lubricate sticky situations, why are people still loathe to do it?

"Pride clearly plays a role," said Rabbi Eliezer Diamond, a professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary, the New York university that ordains conservative rabbis. "It's a blow to one's sense of ego to say 'I goofed.' "

Fear of reproach also keeps people from apologizing, said Chuck Lynch, an ordained Baptist minister in Kansas City, Mo., and author of "I Should Forgive, But ..."

"The truth is, when you are honest and admit an honest mistake, (others) usually admire you for it," he said. "The consequence is rarely as great as was feared."

How to apologize

As with most things, there's a right way and wrong way to apologize. "I'm sorry for spilling grape juice on your carpet, but it's your fault for giving me something to drink," is an example of an apology that clearly needs a little work.

The best apologies are sincere, and sincerity is hard to fake. That's why laying down rules for delivering a sincere apology doesn't make much sense.

However, effective mea culpas usually follow a pattern.

First, consider the timing. "If I just did something to make you hopping mad, I can't turn around one second later and say I'm sorry," Diamond said. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Sincere Apology Fosters Forgiveness, but People Still Find It Hard to Say 'I'm Sorry'
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.