The Science of Happiness. Register Today
   

 

What an Apology Must Do

By Aaron Lazare | September 1, 2004 | 0 comments

There are up to four parts to an effective apology, though not every apology requires all four parts. They are as follows.

1. A valid acknowledgment of the offense that makes clear who the offender is and who is the offended. The offender must clearly and completely acknowledge the offense.

2. An effective explanation, which shows an offense was neither intentional nor personal, and is unlikely to recur.

3. Expressions of remorse, shame, and humility, which show that the offender recognizes the suffering of the offended.

4. A reparation of some kind, in the form of a real or symbolic compensation for the offender’s transgression.


An effective apology must also satisfy at least one of seven psychological needs of an offended person.

1. The restoration of dignity in the offended person.

2. The affirmation that both parties have shared values and agree that the harm committed was wrong.

3. Validation that the victim was not responsible for the offense.

4. The assurance that the offended party is safe from a repeat offense.

5. Reparative justice, which occurs when the offended sees the offending party suffer through some type of punishment.

6. Reparation, when the victim receives some form of compensation for his pain.

7. A dialogue that allows the offended parties to express their feelings toward the offenders and even grieve over their losses.

Tracker Pixel for Entry
 
 
 
About The Author

Aaron Lazare, M.D., is chancellor, dean, and professor of psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is a leading authority on the medical interview, the psychology of shame and humiliation, and apology. His most recent book is On Apology (Oxford University Press, 2004).

  

Like this article?

Here's what you can do:

Donate
 
  
 
blog comments powered by Disqus
 

Most...

  
  

Greater Good Events

A Path Appears: Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn
First Congregational Church of Berkeley
December 4, 2014


A Path Appears: Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn

New York Times op-ed columnist Kristof and reporter Sheryl WuDunn talk about their new book, A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity. Presented by the Greater Good Science Center and Berkeley Arts & Letters


» ALL EVENTS
 
 

Take a Greater Good Quiz!

How compassionate are you? How generous, grateful, or forgiving? Find out!

» TAKE A QUIZ
 

Watch Greater Good Videos

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Talks by inspiring speakers like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Dacher Keltner, and Barbara Fredrickson.

Watch
 

Greater Good Resources

 
 
» MORE STUDIES
 
 
» MORE ORGS
 

Book of the Week

Gratitude Works! By Robert A. Emmons The world's leading scientific expert on gratitude offers a step-by-step guide to becoming a more grateful person.

» READ MORE
 
Is she flirting with you? Take the quiz and find out.

Sponsors

The Quality of Life Foundation logo Special thanks to

The Quality of Life Foundation for its support of the Greater Good Science Center

 
"It is a great good and a great gift, this Greater Good. I bow to you for your efforts to bring these uplifting and illuminating expressions of humanity, grounded in good science, to the attention of us all."  
Jon Kabat-Zinn

Best-selling author and founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program

thnx advertisement