Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The difference between an apology and an excuse

This was something else we learned in our Girls Leadership workshop.

For an apology to work, it has to be sincere. Often people confuse apologizing with making excuses.

Here are some examples:

Apology: I'm sorry I was late picking you up at school today.
Excuse: I'm sorry I was late picking you up at school today; there was a lot of traffic.

Apology: I'm sorry that there is no milk in the house for your cereal; I know you prefer cereal over waffles in the morning.
Excuse: I'm sorry that there is no milk in the house for your cereal but your father forgot to stop at Safeway on his way home from work last night.

The word "but" has no place in an apology. It's a clear indicator that the apology is really an excuse.

Listen to your next apology and see if it's really an apology or if it's an excuse.

2 comments:

Kelly said...

So true! Seems it's common place these days. I am trying so very hard to teach the girls this simple difference.

Ron Hutzul said...

Nicki has been working with me on "insincere" apologies over the past couple of year...apparently it doesn't count if you say, "I'm sorry you mistook my actions as an indication that I was upset when clearly I was not", rather than "I'm sorry I got angry and lost my temper"...another fine line in the apologies category...