The Four Levels of Apology

Apologies are crucial for relationships. Apologizing allows for forgiveness and anger reduction, among other things (McCullough et al 2014). It took my spouse and I awhile to realize that we did not understand ‘I’m sorry’ in the same way. So, eventually, we agreed to distinguish between four levels of apology. These levels capture each of our concepts of ‘apology’ (as well as some related concepts). Later on, we drew up another set of distinctions to gauge the badness of what we apologize for. In this post, I’ll explain the distinctions and how they help our relationships.

1. Four Levels of Apology

My spouse and I like speaking precisely. “Precision of language!” we tease one another (Lowry 2002). So how precise are we when it comes to apologies and responsibility?† Well, depending on how responsible we feel, we will offer one of four levels of apology: Continue reading The Four Levels of Apology