“Never apologize. Never explain. Just get the thing done, and let them howl.” - Agnes Macphail
We all know that person who says, “Sorry,” when you run into a table leg or the coffee goes cold. It’s kind of cute, right? Maybe those who love them find it endearing, but scientific research on the power of apology explains why we should NEVER apologize for random or illegitimate transgressions. While you may believe it ingratiates you to others, it actually cripples your credibility, makes you seem weak, and generally prompts people think less of you.
This is because apologizing, as it turns out, is a transfer of personal power. This study, published in Behavioral Science and The Law, looks at the role of apologizing within the criminal justice system. Researchers found that it’s vital for victims of crimes, and their families, to experience that transfer of power, from offender to offended, that happens when someone apologizes in the courtroom.
Tyler Okimoto and colleagues at University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia delved deeper into the world of apology and found that not apologizing, even when you’re legitimately wrong, has distinct benefits. As Dr. Okimoto told Smithsonian Magazine, “When you refuse to apologize, it actually makes you feel more empowered,” he said. “That power and control seems to translate into greater feelings of self-worth.”
Does this mean it’s time to stop being a compassionate human when you mess up? Not necessarily. In fact, Okimoto found that those who apologized did also feel better about themselves as long as they had genuine intention.
What these studies DO tell us, however, is that we should never apologize because we feel insecure, hope to gain sympathy or are just randomly compelled by a subconscious hum of guilt.
Here are 7 common apologies that you need to stop making… immediately:
If you’re the type that can’t stop saying they’re sorry for random events, it’s time to stop that. All of us need to go forth and live with intention and without apology. Besides, if you save your apologies for when you truly screw up, they’ll be genuine and hold more value.