The British Apology -yay or nay

We as Brits have a habit of apologising profusely for the most inane and unnecessary of things - in fact I'm sure to foreigners it’s pretty baffling. I'm sorry it's raining, I'm sorry you had a cup of tea that wasn't milky enough... you get the idea and know what I'm talking about.

However researchers at Harvard Business School actually found superfluous apologies represented a powerful tool for social influence… yes really.

They stressed there were ‘significant’ advantages to apologising for problems beyond our control as they increased trust and the chances of being liked.

So what does this mean for those of us going on dates? Should it be good practice therefore to be seen to be humbly apologising for everything in order to curry favour?

Not according to Debretts, who say ‘needless apologising devalues the currency and will lessen the impact of a genuine, heartfelt mea culpa’.

"A sincere apology should always be offered when your actions have had a negative impact on other people. Even if you do not fully understand why someone is so upset, respect their feelings, and accept that your actions are the root of the problem. Don't pass the buck, or use your apology as a way of blaming someone else. Take full responsibility for your actions".

I think Debretts, as always, provides the voice of reason. When going on dates don't be too keen to please the other party as they are much more likely to appreciate and respect you for being yourself. That's not to say you should brashly never apologise if you are in the wrong, however, noticing this very British habit and nipping it in the bud can only do you good.


Asprey Introductions