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The One Word You Should Never Say During an Apology
Universal Pictures

Saying you’re sorry when you’ve stepped on someone’s toe or RSVP’d a day late to a birthday brunch is easy. But doing it when you’ve said or done something hurtful? Way tougher.

Luckily, there’s an easy way to make sure your apology comes off as sincere, according to psychologist and author Harriet Lerner. Basically, there’s one word you should never say in an apology: but. (As in, “I’m sorry, but…”)

Tagging “but” onto an apology, she writes in her new book, Why Won’t You Apologize?, is nothing more than an excuse that undermines the sincerity of the words that came before it. The most successful apologies, she notes, are short and genuine.

Just something to keep in mind the next time you snap at your S.O. for loading the dishwasher wrong (again).

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