We apologize multiple times a day without really having to think about it, like when we step on someone’s toe. But when it comes to saying you’re sorry for doing or saying something hurtful, that kind of apology requires a little more effort.
And of course, we want to come across as sincere, but sometimes our apologies miss the mark there. But according to psychologist Harriet Lerner, there’s an easy way to nail the sincere sorry every time, and it’s as simple as leaving out one word: but.
In her new book, “Why Won’t You Apologize?,” Lerner explains that adding that “but” to the end of your apology undermines the sincerity of the words that came ahead of it. So if you snapped at your S.O. for loading the dishwasher wrong again, and say, “I’m sorry for snapping, but …” it doesn’t sound as heartfelt as if you’d just said “I’m sorry for snapping.”
Lerner says the most successful apologies are short and genuine. So when you’re saying you’re sorry, keep the buts out of it and you’ll sound much more sincere.