Apologies, Apologies

Why saying “I’m sorry” is so difficult.

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Comments (12)

(12) aaron solomon, October 19, 2014 7:05 PM

Apology totally inadequate. At a minimum a boycott is in order.

(11) SusanE, May 10, 2013 2:07 AM

Who Would Apologize?

PenDOT doesn't apologize to me for road work delays. Boston didn't apologize to the Marathon committee for interrupting the race. The resort doesn't apologize for the hurricane. It's beyond their control and everyone was in it together. Just like your plane ride the pilots and crew were right there being inconvenienced too. Imagine the logistic nightmare all the airlines were going through that night. Maybe they could say we appreciate your patience during this inconvenience.

(10) lt, May 9, 2013 6:32 PM

true apology

everyones comments are commendable but lets take it a step further... when one finally does apologize there should be no ifs ands or buts.. "fessing up" to what was done without rationalizing that it wasnt your fault/not really i who did it/ etc.. is the ultimate apology.so lets start with two words Im sorry and leave it at that.. the reward is greater and the guilt disappears.

(9) marcus, May 9, 2013 5:33 PM

i have trouble finding the RIGHT apology

i often refuse to apologize in an argument with my wife. i realize this morning it is because i am afraid that if i apologize i will reinforce and affirm her belief that she has a right to be angry and resentful towards me over the issue. i try to tell her i'm sorry she is upset and that i have her interests at heart but it only infuriates her that i am not really taking responsibility and instead blaming her for taking offense in the first place. How do you say your sorry for the sake of peace when you really aren't ?

(8) YossieF, May 9, 2013 4:44 PM

It is silly NOT to apologize

Businesses these days don't seem to value their customers, even to the point of offering a simple apology, which cost absolutely nothing. That is why customers on the whole have no loyalty to any company. Years ago, we had good service in department stores, and people used to go back to the same store, AND the same salesperson. They even got calls when the sales person thought they would like something, and it went on sale. Nowadays, you are lucky if you can find a person to help you.
Actually, it is a very stupid policy, and causes a lot of lost business.
In Rabbi Salomon's example, I think people today would switch airlines for just a few dollars, because none of the arlines appreciate their passengers. There is no real reason for loyalty. SOmetimes, when I fly, i feel like I am an intrusion in the lives of airline personnel, rather than a valued customer.

(7) Anonymous, May 9, 2013 4:24 PM

We are living in a litigious society thus an airline would not apologize because doing so would admit guilt and would then expose them to a pandora box of wrong doings and they are concerned that they may be vulnerable to lawsuits. Thus remaining silent, they hope the problem will just go away. Kind of ostrich putting their head in the ground approach .

(6) Jerry engber, May 9, 2013 3:46 PM

False "self esteem"

Is ir really so surprising that a society fixated on engendering self esteem, would create a society where no one feels regret for anything, however galling? I've noticed that "please" and "thank you" are vanishing from our speech, as well. All of this is the logical result of the overwhelming sense of entitlement that this overindulged generation has developed. And it's getting worse as we speak!

(5) Anonymous, May 8, 2013 4:00 PM

Lack of self

I think at times it comes from a lack of self-esteem.
Even if one is not really responsible, such as with the airline--it was due to weather...it still can make one feel inadequate. Like you didn't do the job right...If one is self-assured (not egotistic because that also could be a reason not to apologize) and believes in their self-worth than they can apologize and realize they're no lesser than the other person that they're apologizing to.

(4) J Fleming, May 7, 2013 11:40 PM

Responsibility - blame -

Rabbi Salomon, Children are asked 'did you do that?' or 'what did you do?' and fearing punishment, say 'no' or 'nothing' even when caught in the act. Children need to be taught the honor and self respect which increases with taking ownership for our failures as well as our successes. Besides it being what God wants us to do.

Adults who haven't learned to face their fear, so-to-speak continue to act accordingly as they did in their youth. Further consider, the grooming continues ... in court, you don't have to admit to what you've done because you are innocent until proven otherwise, there were no witnesses so was an offense (running a stop sign) or a crime even committed and let's not forget that the 'it wasn't my fault' mentality for refusing to accept responsibility. Is it any wonder that people continue to evade standing behind their actions? We're conditioned not to unless you study and live by the codes of behavior in Judaism, for example, which holds us to a higher standard of behavior.

This socially conditioned conduct continues with people, or in your case a company, apologizing and ending in litigation. I may have made a mistake but you made a bigger one so I will make you pay thereby exhonerating myself and demoralizing you.

There was a time when doctors accepted responsibility for making mistakes, which human beings are wont to do, and malpractice insurance had to be implemented to protect them from what was in some cases, ridiculous lawsuits. It can lead to a career ending. Scandal. Accepting blame is not popular. It doesn't generate attention. Denial does. It creates headlines. Gossip, interest, a juicy story. Should someone accept blame, people wonder what else the person has done. Speculation occurs. Unless you accept blame for your words or your actions, take responsibility and have a positive response by lack of condemnation, you are not likely to change the behavior. You won't grow and improve.

(3) Anonymous, May 7, 2013 4:02 PM

Legal Libility

You are mentioning events related to a business. Airplane travel.This seems simple enough.But many times in business situation, employees are instructed not to offer apologies.To defer to upper management.

Because. an apology can make the company responsible.

When I was growing up if a person had a car "accident" (something that they did not mean to do) People would apologize and pay to fix the car. That was until "some people" were not satisfied with an apology and an ofer to repair the damage. Rather they saw it as a means to excessive finacial gain.

They would hire lawyers and receive excessive amounts of money for something that could be resolved without legal intervention. Sometimes, life savings were forfeited. People became more afraid to say they were sorry for accidents,mistakes,and would just "not get involved" for fear of legal retailation.That is why they have to remind health providers about The Good Samaritain Act for CPR.Because, without the Good Samaritain Act. "some people" would sue you because you dared to do what appeared to be the right and kind thing to do. WHY do to people do things: They have time.They have an opportunity. they are thinking about their own needs or wants at the momment. Whether it is the child putting his hand in the cookie jar or the murderer.

(2) Anonymous, May 6, 2013 7:03 PM

I agree with commenter #1 re: ownership. With that said, I'm guessing that Rabbi Salomon would have felt just a little bit better if someone from the airline had ACKNOWLEDGED the inconvenience he and his wife were experiencing. People and situations are not perfect, but a little empathy during a stressful time really can go a long way.

(1) Tonna, May 5, 2013 1:58 PM

ownership of the wrong

Rabbi...I believe that the difficulty in saying "I'm sorry" is having to take ownership of the wrong that was done. Accepting responsibility for it, whether or not it was "our fault". I find that there are some, though, that are more difficult than others. When I bump into someone while walking (and even when it was actually them that bumped into me!)...I say "excuse me" or "I'm sorry". Those are "easy" apologies, they "cost nothing", they just happen in the course of a day...no big deal. The ones that do "cost" are the ones that are the most difficult to say. When you have hurt a loved one or someone that is in some way close to you or when someone close to you has in some way hurt you. We may hold onto that hurt, it festers into anger which, in turn, may cause thoughts of revenge or just plain, holding onto that grudge. Of course, then we are the ones that continue to hurt while the other person may go on about their life either not knowing or not caring about the feelings that their actions may have caused. It is when we are hurt that, combined with whatever other feelings are involved regarding that person or a situation revolving around our relationship with that person, we make choices in our lives and sometimes those choices end up eventually causing additional pain...all the way around.
I understand this situation all too well as I have experienced this (and still am...) in my own life. I have two people in my life that I have come to realize that although the emotional pain these two people caused me took me to the darkest time in my life, the choices that I made for myself ultimately caused their hearts to harden against me, so that when I was finally able to come out of my own darkness...and after a lot of soul searching on my part...I feel that I need to say I'm sorry for my part in their pain (though neither has ever apologized to me). I know that this is what I must do...it's just allowing myself to do it! Thank you, Rabbi.


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