Apologise For Anything Before Asking For A Favour

Apologise For Anything Before Asking For A Favour
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The next time you want to ask someone for a favour, try apologising first. Apologising for what? Anything at all, even the rain!

Photo by butupa.

A new study by researchers at Harvard Business School and Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania shows that people are more likely to grant you a favour if you apologise first, whether it’s your fault or not.

In experiments, a participant approached strangers to borrow their mobile phone; and half of the time, he preceded the request by saying, “I’m so sorry about the rain.” With the apology, 47 per cent offered their phone; without it, only nine per cent offered their handset.

The researchers note:

Superfluous apologies represent a powerful and easy-to-use tool for social influence. Even in the absence of culpability, individuals can increase trust and liking by saying ‘I’m sorry’ — even if they are merely ‘sorry’ about the rain.

It seems silly, but hey — it’s worth a shot. Hit the link to read more.

Want people to trust you? Try apologising for the rain [BPS Research Digest]


  • The English are very good at it. “I’m sorry, BUT would you mind ……………(request for help)?” There is no need to actually apologise, as long as the request starts with “I’m sorry, but..”. The ‘but’ is important.

    • Exactly. Apologising for the rain is silly. Apologise for something you can be certain of. Apologise for bothering them… “I am so sorry to bother you… but [favour here]”

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