Can apologizing make things worse?

Last Update: April 20, 2022

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Asked by: Dessie Larkin
Score: 4.7/5 (38 votes)

In my experience, a good apology not only heals the first injury but strengthens the relationship between people. In contrast, the failure to make an apology when one is called for often causes more damage than the initial hurt—because it expands the breach between the two of you.

What happens when you apologize too much?

Studies show that people who apologize too much often struggle with feelings of inadequacy. In other words, you feel like you aren't good enough. If you have a habit of over-apologizing, you're also probably terrified of being a burden to someone else. Feelings of inadequacy may come from many different sources.

Why over-apologizing is bad?

The Dangers Of Over-Apologizing

By using phrases like the ones above before sharing your thoughts or opinions, you're also sending a message to those you're speaking to that often undermines the validity of your statements or implies that you lack confidence in expressing yourself or asserting your own needs.

Is it ever a bad idea to apologize?

If something you've done has caused pain for another person, it's a good idea to apologize, even if whatever you did was unintentional. ... Basically, if you care about the other person and the relationship, and you can avoid offending behavior in the future, an apology is usually a good idea.

What was the most difficult thing about apologizing?

Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of a good apology is the acceptance of responsibility. It's not easy to admit that we're wrong (see below) and it's not easy to admit that we messed up or made a poor choice. Accepting responsibility is critical, however, and not just as part of an apology.


30 related questions found

Why do narcissists never apologize?


The narcissist, on the other hand, never apologizes. ... His sense of superiority over others reinforces his belief that other inferior beings are always to blame for anything that goes awry, even if the narcissist is actually responsible.

What is a good apology?

Every apology should start with two magic words: "I'm sorry," or "I apologize." ... Your words need to be sincere and authentic . Be honest with yourself, and with the other person, about why you want to apologize. Never make an apology when you have ulterior motives, or if you see it as a means to an end.

What should you not say to apologize?

8 Things You Should Never Say During an Apology
  1. 1. " I'm sorry, but..." ...
  2. "I'm sorry you feel that way." ...
  3. 3. " ...
  4. 4. " ...
  5. "You're making a big deal out of nothing." ...
  6. Getting mad because they're mad at you. ...
  7. "Are you PMSing?" ...
  8. "I don't want to fight about this!"

What can I say instead of I'm sorry?

Here are six other words for saying sorry.
  • My Apologies. My apologies is another word for “I'm sorry.” It's rather formal, so it's fine for business contexts. ...
  • Pardon/Pardon Me/I Beg Your Pardon. Pardon is a verb which means to allow as a courtesy. ...
  • Excuse Me. ...
  • Mea Culpa. ...
  • Oops/Whoops. ...
  • My Bad.

Should you apologize for coming on too strong?

Should I Apologise for coming on too strong? Apologize. Once you've taken some time to cool your jets, go and talk to him/her. Let them know you think you came on too strong and that you hope you didn't scare them away.

Why does a girl always say sorry?

Traditionally, girls are often raised to value empathy over the "masculine" trait of strength — which means that, in situations where strength or assertiveness is required, women feel the need to cushion their actions with an apology.

Why do I constantly say I'm sorry?

Over-apologizing can stem from being too hard on ourselves or beating ourselves up for things,” Dr. Juliana Breines, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Rhode Island, explained. In addition to anxiety, another mental health disorder that can lead people to over-apologize is OCD.

Is over apologizing a trauma response?

But repetitive, nearly constant apologies for every little thing—or, what Psychologist Paige Carambio, PsyD calls, “apologizing for existing”—can actually be an after-effect of trauma, a self-preservation technique survivors may think they still need to utilize in order to protect themselves.

What does a genuine apology look like?

A real apology has three main components: (1) it acknowledges the actions taken and resulting pain inflicted on you; (2) it provides an action plan for how s/he will right the wrong; and (3) there is an actual change in behavior proving to you that there won't be a repeat of the past.

What do you reply when someone says sorry?

5 English Phrases to Respond to an Apology
  • That's OK.
  • It happens.
  • No problem.
  • Don't worry about it.
  • I forgive you. (for serious problems)

How do you know when you should apologize?

You need to apologize when you've done something wrong. That's it. Not when someone's mad at you for no reason, not when you want to take the blame just to diffuse a confrontation. When you've messed up and if you've hurt someone, that's when you should apologize.

How do you apologize without actually apologizing?

Here are some alternative ways on how to apologize without saying sorry in business:
  1. 1Say “Thank You” Instead. ...
  2. 2Use of Actions Instead of Words. ...
  3. 3Be Empathetic Instead of Offering Sympathy with “Sorry.” ...
  4. 4Practice Self-Awareness – How to Apologize without Saying Sorry in Business.

What can I say instead of I Love You?

How do I say “I love you” without saying it in a text?
  • “Smiling so much today just thinking of you”
  • “Just wanted to thank you for being you :)”
  • “I hope you know how much you mean to me”
  • “I'm so glad you're in my life!”
  • “You are so amazing!”
  • “You mean so much to me”
  • Send a sweet GIF.
  • Send a romantic song.

How do you apologize?

Steps for saying you're sorry
  1. Before you do anything, practise self-affirmation. It's important to start by saying a few positive words to yourself. ...
  2. Spell out why you want to apologise. ...
  3. Admit you were wrong. ...
  4. Acknowledge the other person's feelings. ...
  5. Say you're sorry. ...
  6. Ask them to forgive you.

How does a narcissist apologize?

In narcissists' efforts to avoid blame, they often combine several fake apologies at once, such as in, “I am sorry if I said anything to offend you, but I have strong opinions. Maybe you're too sensitive” or, “I guess I should tell you I am sorry. But you know I would never deliberately hurt you.

What is an insincere apology?

Insincere Apologies Further Insult Someone

I'm sorry I said those nasty things behind your back. ... It's impossible to accept an apology that reinforces the insult or problem. If your friend says this, respond with: “I really want to accept your sincere apology, and what you just said isn't it.

Can an apology have a but?

A true apology does not include the word “but” (“I'm sorry, but …”). “But” automatically cancels out an apology, and nearly always introduces a criticism or excuse. A true apology keeps the focus on your actions—and not on the other person's response.

Is it better to apologize sooner or later?

Apologizing Too Late (Or Too Early)

Waiting too long to apologize can make a bad situation worse. “Do it sooner rather than later. If you do or say something harmful, issue a prompt apology, as it can save you headaches down the road,” Whitmore said.

How do you apologize sincerely?

I realize I hurt your feelings, and I'm sorry," acknowledges that you know what it was you said that hurt the other person, and you take responsibility for it. Don't make assumptions and don't try to shift the blame. Make it clear that you regret your actions and that you are sincerely sorry.

What makes a meaningful apology?

To make your apology meaningful you should: Accept that you have done something wrong. This means identifying what went wrong. Your apology must describe the offending action or behaviour, whether or not it was intentional.