3 Reasons To Apologize Even If You Have Done Nothing Wrong!

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“I’m not going to apologize for not doing anything wrong!”

I remember one of my kids saying this phrase one time, and I’ve also heard it from adults at work more times than I want to remember. No one likes to be unfairly accused and most people certainly do not want to apologize for something they did not do. The thought of apologizing when we have done nothing wrong, or worse, when we are right, makes our blood boil. We become indignant, defensive or attacking others, none of whom do anything to improve the situation.

However, there is time and space to apologize even if you are not guilty. It is important to remember that an apology is not an admission of guilt. but an acceptance of responsibility. You take responsibility for improving and overcoming the situation. Here are three good reasons to apologize even if you have done nothing wrong:

1. Choosing the Relationship over Being Right — When difficulties arise in a relationship, it is a natural human instinct to not want to take responsibility. If the other person is wrong, then we can rejoice in the satisfaction that we are right. It is easy to dive into the deep end of the lake of self-justification. It takes emotional maturity to prioritize relationship health over the need to nurture the ego. Apologizing for the pain and difficulty of the current situation, even if you did not cause it, shows that you value the other person more than the need to be right.

2. Lose the battle to win the war — You must have a long-term perspective on relationships. There will be many battles (e.g., differences of opinion, conflicts, etc.) in our relationships at home and at work and we would die of exhaustion if we fought with our nails and teeth to prove that we are right in any case. Sometimes it is better to lose the battle and apologize even when you are right, for the sake of winning the biggest war (e.g., keeping the peace, completing the project, etc.)

3. Get one for the team — As a leader, there are times when you need to get one for the team. It may not be your personal fault, but if your team has dropped the ball, you will have to take responsibility for it. Weak leaders often throw their team under the bus when they make a mistake. The leader will absolve himself / herself of any responsibility and blame it on the team acting carelessly. The best leaders, however, apologize for the mistakes their team makes and accept any responsibility they may find.

It is not fun to apologize when you have done nothing wrong. Every fiber of our being causes us to scream that we did not do it and blame someone or something else. Responding with righteous indignation often escalates the tension and little resolves the situation. If you value the relationship more than you are right, you are willing to lose a small battle to win the biggest war or you have to get one for your team, it does matter if you apologize – even if you have done nothing wrong.

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