I answered a pitch by a reporter doing a story about apologies. My info didn't make the cut, so here it is for you to enjoy. You can read the article here.
As a family counselor and dating expert, I have heard a lot of talk about sincere apologies or lack there of. I have a few tips for those that want to say sorry for something. Sorry is something that we throw out when we feel empathy, sympathy, and a desire to clear our conscious. A genuine apology needs to go beyond words. When we are correcting ourselves or attempting to prove our genuineness, we need to have actions to back up our statement. I am sorry for X, I am going to change my behavior so that X never happens again, and I hope to earn back your trust. Please allow me to prove my sincerity.
Then when they press the issue, you need to be able to have some specific things you will be doing to start earning that trust back. As for being the one that was affected by the behavior of the one apologizing, if there is no action plan to change, I wouldn’t put much faith in their apology. Often times we might feel that there is no need to say sorry or apologize because we don’t think we did something wrong. The apology is not for you, it is for them.
You cannot control the emotions of another person, but if we care about them, we can recognize that we have affected them in some way, and that we do not intend to have upset them. Sometimes just recognizing that a person was upset and letting them know it was not your intention to contribute to them feeling negatively will help solve a conflict.
Author of I’m Sorry, You are Not a Pick-Up Artist
photo credit here