Jacqueline Biollo is a weekly columnist with Ladiescorner.ca
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More Than an Apology | by Jacqueline Biollo, MBA, ICD.D

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There’s likely been a time in your life when you’ve breached someone’s trust, even if you didn’t mean it, or been wronged by someone in some manner.

And because we are interdependent on human relationships, in either case, an apology was likely uttered in an effort to restore a relationship, right a wrong, make amends, or similar.

We’re also likely aware of individuals who over-apologize. For example, it’s somewhat common knowledge that Canadians are said to say ‘sorry’ all too often, even when an apology isn’t necessarily needed.

Taiwan, with its country’s culture of buhaoyisi and rooted in layers of modesty and shyness, is obsessed with saying sorry too. 

But the question is ‘Why apologize?.

For some, it’s a symptom of low self-esteem, fear of conflict, and fear of what others think. For others, it is because they know they did something wrong or didn’t do something they were supposed to do, etc.

The other question is ‘How are apologies received?’.

Some wait anxiously for an apology of any kind and accept it graciously, while others doubt the sincerity or timing of an apology, so accept it with hesitancy, hold grudges, find additional aspects of the apology to criticize, don’t accept it, or are simply unable to move on from the stated situation.

When reflecting on public apologies, specifically, consider ‘Who should issue public apologies?’ or ‘Is an apology enough?’.

For example, Pope Francis’ apology to Indigenous Peoples for the grave sins that took place at Canada’s residential schools, Members of Parliament (MP) who apologize for everything from ‘dropping an F-bomb in question period,’ berating residents, and sharing ‘misinformation’ to apologizing for reimposing COVID-19 restrictions, etc.

Or, how Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer, offered no apology as he was sentenced for violating George Floyd’s civil rights [Source: The Daily Beast], or how the art of Hollywood #sorrynotsorry non-apologies not only seems insincere but are gaining momentum.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Never ruin an apology with an excuse.”.

I’ve read that in most situations, people have not been ready to accept the apologies as offered. Perhaps because of personal circumstances, differing perceptions of culpability, cultural confusion, the utility for repairing trust, or indifference. When it comes to apologizing, remember that a sorry isn’t always enough.

Saying sorry and accepting an apology are two of the most powerful things you can do. It can save a relationship, give you closure and the ability to move on, open doors that were closed, afford you the opportunity to take fault when the fault is yours, understand you’ve hurt someone, and resolve to improve or do better. #YouCanDoIt


Strategic consultant and optimism guru Jacqueline Biollo revisits the words of apologies she’s uttered, never uttered, received, and never received. This reflection may very well fuel the pages of her first book or serve to enhance the way she interacts with people in general. Jacqueline makes no apology for the space she occupies, advocating for people, possibility, and potential in the world.

Photo by RNS Photography





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