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Elizabeth Scott, M.S.

The All-Important Apology

By March 8, 2012

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Periodically, those in the public eye are forced to issue apologies. (There have been several public apologies made in the few years since I first blogged about this amidst David Letterman's affair and subsequent public apology.) While fictional characters like Fonzie may find that a simple, "I'm ssss......" is sufficient, most of us need to make a full, sincere apology when we make mistakes and hurt people. Some have an easier time of it than others.

The most recent and publicized apology of late is the one issued by Rush Limbaugh to Sandra Fluke, over his infamous "slut" and "prostitute" remarks last week. While an apology was in order, and much discussion and debate have surrounded those remarks and the subsequent fallout, I'd like to focus instead on the apology itself, or, rather, the concept of apologies. (I'd also like to steer clear of discussions about the remarks themselves, as these debates can get a little heated, and About.com's Women's Issues site does a great job of discussing this issue for those who are interested.)

As for this apology (similar apologies made by others in the public eye), it was an important step to take. Although many advertisers--as well as Fluke herself--have found that the apology did not undo the damage caused by the statements Limbaugh made, the apology did help. Apologies are important for several reasons: in general, they function to quell hurt feelings, make amends, reaffirm commonly-held boundaries, and rebuild damaged bonds in relationships. Thorough and sincere apologies are important as well; they go further than insincere apologies, which can actually make things worse.

Why is this? Learn more about the importance of apologies, how to apologize, and apologies readers have made. When you have a thorough understanding of apologies and how they can take the stress out of conflict, apologies will likely come much easier for you in the future, and your relationships may reap the benefits.

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