Why it is often difficult to apologize



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Denied apologies help the ego

An apology eases conscience and straightens up the damaged image. But despite the benefits of repentance, many people find sentences like "I'm sorry" or "Sorry, I made a mistake" extremely difficult. Australian researchers have now tracked down the cause.

Denied apologies have advantages Karin often has disputes with her colleagues who accuse her of not admitting mistakes and therefore not being willing to compromise. Although the sales manager of a medium-sized company makes herself unpopular with her colleagues and knows that she often misses colleagues when making decisions, she is not ready to admit her wrongdoing.

Herbert also refuses to admit to his sister that he behaved unfairly at the last family party. “My sister finally goes crazy. Because of such a trifle, you don't have to crawl to crosses, ”he justifies his misconduct in front of himself.

An Australian research group led by Tyler Okimoto from the University of Queensland recently investigated why many find it difficult to make an apology. The result: a refused apology has advantages, even if remorse would be appropriate from a moral point of view. Previously, studies had only highlighted the benefits of admitted remorse, reduced guilt, and repaired the tarnished image.

Refused apology promotes self-confidence In order to find out why an apology is often difficult, 219 test subjects were asked to write an email in which they should either apologize to a person for a past mistake or explicitly not apologize for it.

As it turned out, the subjects who wrote in their email felt that they were not apologizing for the mistake of having more control over their lives. In addition, the researchers also noticed an effect that had an impact on self-confidence. "The results showed that the act of refusing an apology resulted in greater self-confidence than an apology," said Okimoto and his team in the European Journal of Social Psychology.

In another study, subjects were asked to remember and reflect on experiences where they refused to apologize. The researchers hoped to learn about the consequences of refusing to repent.

It helps to justify oneself. In addition to the higher self-esteem, the refusal was also more pronounced than the repentant. The researchers suspect that this paradoxical effect helps to later justify the wrongdoing in front of itself. Accordingly, "an excuse denied is less a matter of error per se than a gain for the ego, which is greater than relief of conscience when repentance is refused" an apology. "These findings indicate potential barriers to perpetrator-victim reconciliation after an interpersonal disagreement, which imply the need for a better understanding of the psychology of the causer and their defensive behavior based on selfish motives," the researchers write. (ag)

Image: Rike / pixelio.de

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