Among many of the unwritten norms of interaction that govern human interaction is the apology – the admittance of fault to another party. But, is apologizing really the best way out of things? Does it always promise the mending of relationships to move things forward?
An article on the Scientific American argues that refusing to say sorry can bring about significant psychological benefits as well – and this often comes into our calculations when deciding whether to apologize or not.
One such benefit it the retention of the ‘upper hand’ of the transgressor – thus minimizing damage if one can’t deny the act anyway. Think about celebrities, business leaders or politicians who sometimes try to diffuse blame or only claim to be ‘sorry that it happened’ instead of claiming personal responsibility.
Another key benefit is ‘saving face’ – trying to project to the image of authenticity in that you are a person of consistent principles and values and thus are not sorry for your act although you may regret the consequences or effects of it. Again leaders, especially religious ones, often strive to project this.
Think about the last time you pondered over whether to apologize for some transgression committed on your part. Did the same complexities confront you? What is the true value of an apology nowadays?