‘Apology gifts’ make things worse than just a verbal apology, study suggests
When you’ve done something wrong, it’s tempting to buy an apology gift.
But trying to placate your partner with anything that involves the word “sorry” can actually be a bad idea.
This is because a study suggests that apology gifts are evaluated more negatively compared to verbal apologies or receiving unlabeled gifts.
Researchers from Wageningen University in the Netherlands chose two gift products: flowers and chocolates.
They examined the effect of an apology tag on items, such as the word “sorry,” on how they were evaluated by recipients.
A study suggests that apology gifts are evaluated more negatively compared to verbal apologies or receiving unlabeled gifts (Stock Image)
The results of the study, published in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, showed that both chocolates and flowers with an apology tag were evaluated less positively than those with a plain gift tag or no tag at all.
Other experiments revealed that people were less likely to accept apology gifts compared to impromptu gifts and less likely to appreciate them.
Gifts of apology were perceived as strong negative reminders of a transgression and were more likely to be given.
It says: ‘When recipients receive an apology gift, they evaluate the gift and the relationship between the giver and the recipient more negatively compared to regular products, receiving regular gifts or verbal apologies.
Other experiments revealed that people were less likely to accept apology gifts compared to impromptu gifts and less likely to appreciate them (File Image)
Apology gifts remind the recipient of transgressions and point out misunderstandings of the recipients’ emotions. Together, these findings suggest that giving an apology gift…may not be so beneficial after all.’
Experts say that the best way to ask for forgiveness is to try to understand the other person’s experience.
Dr. Aaron Lazare, an apology expert at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, said a good apology has four elements: acknowledging the offense, explaining what happened, expressing remorse, and offering amends.