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Myths About Apologies (Social Psychology)

cognitive psychology, social psychology

Today’s episode is on myths about apologies so this psychology blog post falls in social psychology.

Therefore, in today’s episode of The Psychology World Podcast, we’ll talk about 5 myths about apologies and what the truth is about them.


Firstly, apologising isn’t weakness.

I know that lots of people thinking that by apologising you are admitting that you were at fault and this makes you a weakling.

However, this isn’t some as in a lot of cases by apologising you are showing that you have strength, as well as saying that an apology makes you weak is just an excuse!

Only have to say I’m sorry:

Personally, I would love this to true because that would make the social world so much easier but as social psychology shows us the social world is rarely so simple.

Therefore, you need to say sorry in an apology, but you need to do more as well. Like: talk about your problems and try and fix things as well.

I’ll go into more depth in a moment but it’s important to think about.


Whilst, this next point more aimed at organisations, business and in other words, not individuals. Sometimes people do not apologise to people when they should because they are afraid of admitting their mistake and taking responsibility.

As this responsibility could lead to them getting sued.

Personally, I completely see the logic in this thinking but as a Human Branding Consultant, I equally do not see the logic in it.

Furthermore, in the USA a medical organisation found that when they apologised to people.

It actually decreased the likelihood of them getting sued.

Of course, this is only one example and shouldn’t be taken as a rule, but it’s something to consider.

The purpose is forgiveness:

I will fully forgive; see what I did there; someone who thought or believed that the purpose of an apology is forgiveness as I believed this until I researched it.

However, the true purpose of an apology is conversation due to an apology provides you with an opportunity to sit down and talk about what’s happened. In order for you to fix your problems and move on so, this doesn’t happen again.

Guilt is pointless:

Looking at our final myth and this is one that I had never considered before I researched this topic, is the myth that guilt is pointless.

We experience this because we feel guilt when we apologise, and society tells us that guilt is pointless.

Although, there is such thing called ‘Good Guilt’ because sometimes guilt makes us do something productive that benefits ourselves, others and our relationships that leads to other long-term benefits.

For example, good guilt could lead us to repair or try to fix our mistake that leads us to this ugly situation we are in now. Like: when we hurt a friend by telling a secret you may try and tell them a ‘dark’ secret of yours.

Therefore, this guilt caused us to do something that benefits us now and in the long term, as now our friend knows that we care about them.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed today’s social psychology episode of The Psychology World Podcast.

If you want to learn about more psychology, then please sign up for my newsletter to receive your FREE book.

Have a great day,



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