Growing up, our parents used to teach compassion to you when you were nasty to another kid. You'd first of all have to explain to their satisfaction how you would feel if someone acted that way towards you. Then, once they were sure it was genuine, and a suitable reflective time had gone by, you, the miscreant, would apologize. Sometimes it was very hard to actually feel sorry, especially when you had to apologise to a sibling. Nevertheless, it was expected you’d see the light.
Schoolyard fights happened between boys, and it was always one on one. No,gang of kids gathered around shooting videos of someone’s pain, while hoping to go viral on YouTube. Come to think of it, there was no YouTube either, and viral hadn’t yet entered the lexicon, except as it related to a truly terrible disease spread.
Again, it was better that parents weren't involved in this kind of thing, as they would definitely disapprove, and painful consequences would be applied. But you always knew, with these more extreme behaviors that the head of the school would undoubtedly report to your parents, and the latter were usually supportive of the teachers, not you!
Corporations learn to eat Humble Pie
Thank the marketing folks for that again. Their wisdom of the day demands the person who has engaged in mass fraud or worse, will apologise, first and foremost, before bringing in the multiple jackal lawyers.
That’s not quite as straightforward as it first appears. There’ve always been brave, hard-nosed folks who dare to flout the law or society rules. It’s called doing the deed you know is wrong, and then asking for forgiveness later. This has become more and more popular as folks have come to recognize the consequences for engaging in this behaviour attract few penalties.
In the dog-eat-dog world of corporations, apologies are public ways to convince the world of your sincerity, even though you’ve hired a team of professional apology writers to do the foundational work for you. There are so many apologies out there now, it would be impossible and very boring to relate them. Just think of the recent spate of #me too examples - if you care to!
Of course those apologists are usually men. Even though their moms presumably gave them the same apology training as young children, it doesn’t seem to stick like it does with the girls. Studies show women apologize with much more ease and more often than men.
Researchers analyzed the number of self-reported offenses and apologies made by 66 subjects over a 12-day period. And yes, they confirmed women consistently apologized more times than men did. But they also found that women report more offenses than men. So the issue is not female over-apology. Instead, there may be a gender difference in what is considered offensive in the first place.
Fingers crossed - behind your back!
Not to be outdone in the potty mouth rendering, Samantha Bee ( whoever she is) delivered a truly disgusting remark about Ivanka Trump. No shame. People go so far as to excuse her, saying she routinely uses these expletives. What used to be a case for parents bringing in the wash your mouth out with soap, young lady and then apologize consequence is now prehistoric. Well, she did apologize, saying she’d 'crossed the line'.'She didn’t say she’d change her behaviour though.
I guess that used to be the point of an apology. You reflected, you came to a realization that you’d hurt someone or many people by your actions or words. You understood something needed to change in you and your behaviour.
5 steps to a sincere apology
1. A clear ‘I’m sorry’ statement.
2. An expression of regret for what happened.
3. An acknowledgment that social norms or expectations were violated.
4. An empathy statement acknowledging the full impact of our actions on the other person.
5. A request for forgiveness.
Sounds a lot like you used to learn from your parents.
Number four on this list is interesting, and probably the one least seen in our frantic, sped-up lives of today.
Putting yourself in the shoes of that wronged person is what keeps society kind and helpful.