CHAPTER 5remorse

Once a victim understands that the offender has recognized that an offense has occurred and accepts responsibility, he or she expects the offender to have some remorse. The third dimension of effective apology is designed to signal the offender’s contrition. Because there is no way to know whether someone else is experiencing remorse, we rely on a variety of verbal and nonverbal cues. By far the most important verbal cue, without which a statement falls short of being an actual apology, is the phrase “I’m sorry” or “I apologize.” There are no suitable alternatives. Body language, facial expression, and tone of voice are also crucial markers of remorse.

Using the words “I’m sorry” or “I apologize” is pretty much nonnegotiable. ...

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