Yesterday I went to a local bookstore to buy a calender for my office wall and couldn’t help buy browsing some of their discounted books. Found this: On Apologyby Aaron Lazare (OUP, 2004). Lazare is a psychiatrist and Dean at UMASS Medical School. Have only read the first chapter but have found it interesting thus far. He explores the impression that apologies are on the rise from the early 1990s. Apparently, there are significantly more articles in all print media about apologies for wrongdoings from 1998-2002 than in the previous era of the 90s. He suggested several possible reasons: millennial angst (those wanting to clear their consciences prior to Y2K), the internetage where the world can uncover your sins much more easily (he gives several examples of how the digital age has caught people in statements that might otherwise have been missed). He also discusses the phenomena of “failed apologies” such as “I’m sorry if I might have hurt you”. These, he calls parasites that point to the real power of authentic apologies.
A couple of other tidbits. He says he will provide evidence that women apologize more than men AND more willing to admit culpability.
Second, he says this,
People who offer a pseudo-apology are unwilling to take the steps necessary for a genuine apology; that is, they do not acknowledge the offense adequately, or express genuine remorse, or offer appropriate reparations, including a commitment to make changes in the future. These three actions are the price of an effective apology. To undertake them requires honesty, generosity, humility, commitment, courage, and sacrifice. In other words, the rewards of an effective apology can only be earned. They cannot be stolen. (p. 9-10)
Do you agree with him? I like his description and the requirements, but I do think you can complete the 3 steps with falsehonesty, generosity, humility, etc. You can offer false remorse, reparations, and acknowledge the offense fully for reasons other than concern for the other.