I was at a recent conference promoting best practices in industrial psychology. This is where the psychology of business practices are explored. I was there as a guest of my friend, a lecturer from Purdue University. What I took from it was details about how few people make a decent apology.
This means not getting defensive, not justifying your behaviour. I means not talking about how the situation is impacting you, but honestly, owing the fact that you made someone upset. And finally it is taking clear steps to solve the problem. Even if you don’t know what you did, make an effort to respect the other person’s feelings and acknowledge that they are upset goes a long, long way in solving the misunderstanding.
Now there is some new research from Business Insider that explains why women are much more likely to say “I’m sorry” than men are.
Women are more easily offended than men. In turn, they perceive more of their own behavior as improper, requiring an apology:
Despite wide acceptance of the stereotype that women apologize more readily than men, there is little systematic evidence to support this stereotype or its supposed bases (e.g., men’s fragile egos). We designed two studies to examine whether gender differences in apology behavior exist and, if so, why. In Study 1, participants reported in daily diaries all offenses they committed or experienced and whether an apology had been offered. Women reported offering more apologies than men, but they also reported committing more offenses. There was no gender difference in the proportion of offenses that prompted apologies.