In the old Starkist Tuna commercials, Charlie the cool tuna thinks he's all that, but he keeps getting rejected by Starkist, because he's just not good enough and then the narrator comes on and says, "Sorry Charlie!"
These days, from my perspective, people often do not take responsibility when they mess up and arrogantly they can't bring themselves to just say, "I'm sorry"--it was my responsibility, I messed up, and I am committed to doing better in the future.
It's really not so hard to say sorry, if you let your ego go. Most often, from what I've seen, unless the boss, spouse, or friend is just a jerk, saying sorry goes a long way to making things right--it shows you care about the relationship, your human and fallible (like the rest of us) and you are able to introspect, self-help, and learn from mistakes.
In contrast, Bloomberg BusinessWeek (18 April 2013) says sillily, "Don't Apologize"--that refusing to apologize makes a person feel better about themselves, more powerful, and less of a victim.
Certainly, we don't want to apologize for things we didn't do, when we really don't mean it, or to give someone on a pure power binge the satisfaction of making us beg--in those cases, we should be truthful and respectful and set the record straight. We should also, make it clear that we will not be victimized by anyone, at anytime.
But when we are wrong--and it's not easy for everyone to recognize or admit it--just say so. It won't kill you and you'll usually see the other person lighten up on the punishing diatribe and maybe even admit their part in it or the stupid things they may have done at other times.
No one is so perfect--despite some very large egos out there. And the bigger the ego, the bigger the jerk. The humbler the person, the nicer and more workable they are.
Don't apologize for things you didn't do or to satisfy someone's bullying, but do apologize when you could've done better and you are committed to improving yourself and building the relationship.
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)