The power of a real apology

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Jessica DuLong

Published January 12, 2021

“Forgiveness” in the time of Covid usually refers to loans, as in TD Bank’s recent announcement that, pending new information, it was no longer “accepting new forgiveness applications.”

That phrasing got me thinking about how we, as individuals, sometimes struggle to accept a “forgiveness application” — aka apology — from someone who has done us wrong. Is there a formula to follow for the perfect mea culpa? What might an “applicant” need to say or do to earn forgiveness?

In her new book, “The Forgiveness Tour: How to Find the Perfect Apology,” Susan Shapiro explains that a full apology includes four essential elements: acknowledgment of the offense, an explanation of why it happened, remorse coupled with a commitment to do better and making reparation.