When someone did us wrong, we expect them to apologize - but how much is an apology really worth? Not much, according to a new study:
"The expectations for an apology to make us feel better and even forget about the bad things that have happened are overestimated," says study co-author David De Cremer of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. After having a wrong committed against them people who imagined receiving an apology were more satisfied than people who actually got one, the study found.
"In light of fraud cases, the financial crisis, the moral escalation that people seem to witness in contemporary society, there is a cry for apologies, such that we seem to live in an apology culture," De Cremer says.
But our collective desire for apologies may not be a great indicator of their effect once delivered. Studies have shown that people are poor forecasters of their emotional responses to life and tend to overestimate future reactions to both positive and negative situations. (This is to say nothing of estimations of our altruistic behavior— also exaggerated.) A similar prediction error skews our perception of apologies.
And if you don't agree with this post, then we're sorry, mmkay?
Sincere apologies show that you are listening. Nobody wants an insincere apology.
Most of the time an apology does not convey that assurance.