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Why do we apologize?

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#1
It is a really simple question, which leads to a very interesting observation...

It is, of course, because we feel guilty. Do we REALLY apologize for something we've done to someone OR to get rid of our own guilt?

It's obvious, isn't it... and ironic.

Another reason which comes to play at the same time is: to make negative emotions we caused to someone to disappear... when the person forgives you, they feel relieved because they don't feel a negative emotion anymore (anger, for example), and you feel relieved, as I've already pointed out, because you got rid of your own guilt.

But is your guilt their guilt, and is their anger your anger? No it is not, and it never will be...

Is it possible to simply forgive yourself... when the damage is done there is no way to fix it. It's past simple... you have a right to be angry to yourself ONLY when you repeat it...

And about the angry person... any point in feeling anger? If they realize that their anger is only inside themselves, and see the reasons you did something bad... why should they be angry at all?

Why should we leave things as they are?
 

Trebuchet

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#2
I think we apologize because humans are social animals. Apologizing tells the other person that we are aware of the transgression. Maybe it doesn't set it right, but it at least brings some closure.

I was furious when someone nearly drove into me on the freeway. Anyone can make a bad move while driving, but this idiot didn't look over, didn't start showing any caution, but just continued to blithely cut people off. I was angry not because they erred, but because they didn't even seem aware of it.

When one person is angry at another, there is damage to the relationship, and apologizing helps restore what is damaged. Guilt can certainly play a part, but I don't apologize only when I feel guilt. I do it when it is owed, entirely because I want to repair the damage. It isn't because of social convention, but because I am responsible for my own actions.

Now, there was a time I had to apologize for something that was actually the other's fault, because I was falsely accused. Never, ever do this. It is like poison. I could never work with that treacherous person again, and it was part of why I left my last job. I learned that lesson but good, and I no longer apologize unless I feel I actually did do something wrong. It is not worth it to apologize just to buy peace.
 

Words

Only 1 1-F.
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#3
yes.

It's interesting but that sense of closure bestowed by that act of apologizing, within those many problematic emotional affairs, grants this sense of freedom from this other sense of unwanted impurity. Those feelings hinder and will slowly burn the balance of your composure.

But is your guilt their guilt, and is their anger your anger? No it is not, and it never will be...
Their anger resonates with your guilt. You can think of it as a rabies condition. Feelings are highly and contagiously hard to ignore.

Is it possible to simply forgive yourself... when the damage is done there is no way to fix it. It's past simple... you have a right to be angry to yourself ONLY when you repeat it...
A personal problem?

The difficulty of the act of apologizing, a lowering status, provides a great substitute for physical punishment. By immediately "awarding" negative reinforcement after the event, your psychology will grow in focus.

And about the angry person... any point in feeling anger? If they realize that their anger is only inside themselves, and see the reasons you did something bad... why should they be angry at all?
Easier said than done. It's only human to get angry.

Why should we leave things as they are?
We shouldn't. Some decisions needs instant closure some are better left open. In this risky, fluctuating-emotion type of situation, it's better to be sure than not.
 
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#6
There are too many 'z's in this topic. :p

Apologising shows affection. That you are aware and care about a person's feelings.
 

Tyria

Ryuusa bakuryuu
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#7
Several reasons come to mind:

1. Acknowledge that something that we have done has caused harm to another
2. To show sincere regret for the behavior in question
3. To start the process of restitution (to another) and forgiveness (by another)

Apologies should be sincere though or they lose their meaning.
 
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#8
Gotta bump an ancient thread every once in a while... All questions are rhetorical since OP may as well be dead by now for all we know.

We apologize because we feel guilt, but we feel guilt because we value the other person who we've wronged.

It is useful to forgive others so long as they show willingness to learn and change, and I'd personally argue, teach as well. How is one to know if their anger is misplaced if you don't tell them so that they can learn in turn?

If you merely forgive yourself and vow not to repeat your mistake, the other person still lacks closure, and you risk losing them and/or their trust. Sure, they can realize they're in control of their own anger, assume you made the vow you did, and forgive you, but you have the ability to essentially ensure that it happens. Why not use it?
 

Yellow

for the glory of satan
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#9
I really don't think I've given more than 2-3 sincere apologies in my life. I only say that many because I'm sure it's happened, but I can't think of an example at the moment.

That isn't to say I don't apologize. I do all the time. I do it at the drop of a hat, and it's always taken as genuine. You put on a serious face of regret, you make the appropriate amount of eye contact, you make sure that you are in a more prone stance than the other person, and you do the low-voice thing where you sound really sincere.

I really don't understand people who resist making apologies. It's not hard. You just say something like, "I was completely out of line when I said your puppy was retarded. It was incredibly insensitive, and I didn't mean to imply that the puppy is in anyway mentally impaired. I have a lot of respect for you and your puppy, and I acknowledge that you have every right to be upset with me. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to make it up to you," and then make a dramatic, sorrowful exit.

They are just words, words that other people want to hear for some reason, so I say them. It makes people happy, and it gives me a chance to further increase bond/regard/loyalty the person feels with me by showing a sensitivity to their feelings or whatever.

To be honest, I'm not sure why it works, I only know how it works. I had to do it with my mom and brother pretty much constantly growing up because they were so ridiculously sensitive about every little thing. In fact, I found that with some people, pissing them off and apologizing leaves them feeling more trust/faith in you than not doing anything to upset them at all.

:confused:
 
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#10
I really don't think I've given more than 2-3 sincere apologies in my life. I only say that many because I'm sure it's happened, but I can't think of an example at the moment.

That isn't to say I don't apologize. I do all the time. I do it at the drop of a hat, and it's always taken as genuine. You put on a serious face of regret, you make the appropriate amount of eye contact, you make sure that you are in a more prone stance than the other person, and you do the low-voice thing where you sound really sincere.

I really don't understand people who resist making apologies. It's not hard. You just say something like, "I was completely out of line when I said your puppy was retarded. It was incredibly insensitive, and I didn't mean to imply that the puppy is in anyway mentally impaired. I have a lot of respect for you and your puppy, and I acknowledge that you have every right to be upset with me. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to make it up to you," and then make a dramatic, sorrowful exit.

They are just words, words that other people want to hear for some reason, so I say them. It makes people happy, and it gives me a chance to further increase bond/regard/loyalty the person feels with me by showing a sensitivity to their feelings or whatever.

To be honest, I'm not sure why it works, I only know how it works. I had to do it with my mom and brother pretty much constantly growing up because they were so ridiculously sensitive about every little thing. In fact, I found that with some people, pissing them off and apologizing leaves them feeling more trust/faith in you than not doing anything to upset them at all.

:confused:
I can relate to this as a whole.

I really don't understand people who resist making apologies. It's not hard.
Except this. I've found that refusing to make an apology can often have a more profound effect than that of apologising. Each has their time and place.
 

Alias

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#11
I'm sorry, but I don't know why we apologize.
 

scorpiomover

The little professor
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#12
I remember when I saw a person I owed money to. He was a bit tough. I'd heard that people are easier if you apologise first, before the other person starts laying in to you. I decided that it was worth a shot, as he'd already seen me. So I went up to him and apologised for not having paid him back yet, as I had not been paid yet.

He then said it was not a problem, and just pay him when I can. He then proceeded to tell me how someone had stolen something of his. He knew only 2 people knew where it was in his house. He went to the first guy's house, kicked the door in, beat the guy up, then checked the house, and found it wasn't there. Then he went to the second guy's house, kicked the door in, beat the guy up, and found it. Then he repeated that my debt was not a problem, and to pay him when I could.

I realised that by apologising first, I saved myself from getting severely beaten up.
 
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#13
I remember when I saw a person I owed money to. He was a bit tough. I'd heard that people are easier if you apologise first, before the other person starts laying in to you. I decided that it was worth a shot, as he'd already seen me. So I went up to him and apologised for not having paid him back yet, as I had not been paid yet.

He then said it was not a problem, and just pay him when I can. He then proceeded to tell me how someone had stolen something of his. He knew only 2 people knew where it was in his house. He went to the first guy's house, kicked the door in, beat the guy up, then checked the house, and found it wasn't there. Then he went to the second guy's house, kicked the door in, beat the guy up, and found it. Then he repeated that my debt was not a problem, and to pay him when I could.

I realised that by apologising first, I saved myself from getting severely beaten up.
I hope that's not the only lesson you took away from that experience...
 
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