This aligns with previous research on effective apologies:
What also turns out to be crucial is the timing of apologies — faster is not better. People need to feel they are heard and understood so a delayed apology is more satisfying.
Let’s put this into context with some of the other things we’ve learned about effective apologies:
- Apologies do make a difference. People often prefer them over money, even if they’re just cheap talk.
- If it’s clear you intentionally did something wrong, you’re probably better off not apologizing. After intentional acts, apologies tend to backfire and make things worse.
- Giving money is not an effective way to apologize but research has shown that expensive gifts can work.
- The best way to apologize is not to apologize for what you think you did wrong. Apologize for what they think you did wrong.
- Being reminded of times when they did something wrong makes people more likely to accept apologies and forgive. So a little guilting might not be a bad idea.
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This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.