(Originally posted at Absolution Mediation)

Recently I read an article/blog questioning "How Powerful is an Apology?" We all like to think that when we receive or give an apology, that some sort of healing takes place.  In this study by a Dutch Psychologist, David De Cremer found that people over-estimated the value of an apology.  In other words, the apology did not meet the expectations of those who was receiving the apology.

We see apologies all the time.  Here are two examples; David Letterman and Tiger Woods.  I chose these two apologies because they are very different.  Partly because of their occupation but also because of the way they were received by the rest of the world.

Wood's apology was delayed (after much denial at that), his apology was very formal, and there was not much emotion in it.  Letterman's apology was prompt, transparent, and full of emotion.  If you watch both, they have similar content, but very different presentation.

In my line of work I see a lot of apologies.  I also see a lot of situations that should have an apology, but there is no apology.  Apologies can be powerful if they are heartfelt, but can be detrimental if there is no meaning behind it.

Apologies can be a powerful tool to both restore a relationship as well as move on with life from a broken relationship.

What is important to you in an apology?  What things are you looking for in an apology?  Leave your comments below!
Image credit: Stefan Bucher

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