Self

How Apologies Are Actually Good For You

Refusal to apologize is often a forecasting error by the sender that harms the recipient.

Sean Kernan
5 min readDec 6, 2023

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Pexels Images via Suzy Hazelwood

Just yesterday, I ate two delicious slices of my partner’s leftover Papa John’s pizza, not knowing it was her only dinner food. It was an error of neglect and presumption on my part.

Three months earlier, we had a phone call and she warned, “I’ll be on a work call when you get home. Please be mindful of that.” Hours later, and having completely forgotten, I opened the front door and shouted, “Hello m’lady!” I proceeded to hoot like an excited chimp swinging from a branch (I often act nutty at the house for fun).

Six months before that, I took a small dryer ball, and attempted to shoot it like a basketball into her lap while she was reading on my couch. I forgot my terrible hand eye coordination and the ball hit her in the face. She looked up, with tears in her eyes, and a wave of guilt slammed into me.

For all of these things, I apologized, and did so with the utmost sincerity and intent to do better. After all, no apology matters if the behavior remains intact. This should be trivial, obvious knowledge that any rational person understands. But it is such a common source of pain.

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Sean Kernan

Writer and writing instructor. Always on the hunt for a good story. That guy from Quora. Writing out of Tampa, Florida.