Saturday, Nov 18, 2017 | Last Update : 08:12 AM IST

Why saying 'sorry' could make matters worse

THE ASIAN AGE
Published : Sep 18, 2017, 2:07 pm IST
Updated : Sep 18, 2017, 2:07 pm IST

Here's what researchers found.

Representational Image. (Photo: Pixabay)
 Representational Image. (Photo: Pixabay)

"I'm sorry", is usually what most people say when you cancel plans with someone.

Your reasons maybe valid or maybe you didn't want to follow through. However, the polite thing to do is to apologise.

But a new study has found that saying those two little words can make a person feel worse and rejected, even though you feel better in the process, the Daily Mail reported.

The rejected individual feels obligated to forgive even if their feelings are do not match, according to researchers at Dartmouth College.

The goal of the study was to determine how a person reacted to being rejected.

1000 participants had to find different ways to reject a person named 'Taylor'. The team then requested volunteers to evaluate how hurtful each response was.

The results showed 39% of volunteers stated they were sorry when they rejected an invitation, which increased feelings of hurt. Scenarios like lunch particularly made volunteers feel worse.

In a second experiment, the team wanted to understand whether feeling rejected would make one seek revenge.  135 participants met face-to-face after they had been rejected by a volunteer.

"We know that people often don't want to admit that they have hurt feelings, so in some of the studies, we looked at how much people wanted to seek revenge," study's lead author Dr. Gili Freedman told Daily Mail. "As predicted, rejections that contained the words 'I'm sorry' led to worse outcomes than rejections without apologies; participants allocated more hot sauce."

Even though an apology may have good intentions, researchers believe it could also be a selfish act, the report revealed. "It is possible that rejectors may feel better about themselves if they apologise," Dr. Freedman told the Daily Mail.

Tags: emotions, psychology, dartmouth college, feelings, behaviour, relationship