Stay up to date on everything mediation!

Subscribe to our free newsletter,
"This Week in Mediation"

Sign Up Now

Already subscribed No subscription today
<xTITLE>The Power of an Apology</xTITLE>

The Power of an Apology

by Jason Dykstra
March 2011

From From Jason Dykstra's Absolution Mediation Blog

Recently I read an article/blog questioning “How Powerful is an Apology?” We all like to think that when we receive or give an apology, that some sort of healing takes place. In this study by a Dutch Psychologist, David De Cremer found that people over-estimated the value of an apology. In other words, the apology did not meet the expectations of those who was receiving the apology.

We see apologies all the time. Here are two examples; David Letterman and Tiger Woods. I chose these two apologies because they are very different. Partly because of their occupation but also because of the way they were received by the rest of the world.

Wood’s apology was delayed (after much denial at that), his apology was very formal, and there was not much emotion in it. Letterman’s apology was prompt, transparent, and full of emotion. If you watch both, they have similar content, but very different presentation.

In my line of work I see a lot of apologies. I also see a lot of situations that should have an apology, but there is no apology. Apologies can be powerful if they are heartfelt, but can be detrimental if there is no meaning behind it.

Apologies can be a powerful tool to both restore a relationship as well as move on with life from a broken relationship.

What is important to you in an apology? What things are you looking for in an apology? Leave your comments below!


Jason is a Conflict Management Specialist who is helping organizations and congregations move from conflict situations to creative solutions. He specializes in relational and communication issues and uses his experience and training in mediation, group facilitation, conflict management coaching, speaking and teaching to aid you and your surroundings to better cope with conflict and become more conflict resilient. Jason has a background in social services, working with individuals with developmental disabilities, mental health and at-risk youth. He complements his experience with an Advanced Certificate in Conflict Management and is currently in pursuit of his Master's Degree in Leadership. Jason lives in St. George, Ontario with his beautiful wife and two children.

Email Author
Author Website

Additional articles by Jason Dykstra