Nobody really likes to go through the act of apologising for a mistake. In a recent paper in the European Journal of Social Psychology, researchers found that the reason might be that the act of not apologising actually makes us feel better than when we apologise.
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The paper surveyed 228 Americans about whether or not they apologised for a wrongdoing. Then, they divided the group at random and asked them to compose emails where they apologised or refused to apologise. Researcher Tyler G. Okimoto shares the results:
When you refuse to apologise, it actually makes you feel more empowered. That power and control seems to translate into greater feelings of self-worth.
Ironically, Okimoto said, people who refused to apologise ended up with boosted feelings of integrity.
Of course, while refusing to apologise might make you feel better about yourself, it can cause serious problems with your social life. Gracefully apologising for an error can save a relationship, which is a heck of a lot more useful than a few hours of empowerment.