Since communication and conflict resolution are what I do for a living, I am expected to excel at both…even when I am officially “off duty.”  Some days I consider this an advantage; I am continually pushed to improve myself.  Other days I find it exhausting, as my natural state of being is somewhat cranky and judgmental. (I’m not nearly so bad as this fellow, however!)

Of course, even experts are human and make mistakes.  Every species of social animal experiences conflict and thus needs behaviors and systems for reconciliation.  (If this interests you, check out the work of Frans de Waal on reconciliation in primates.) The apology is a human ritual for restoring harmony and healing relationships.

It is somewhat ironic that even as my new book about apology goes off to press, I find myself having to practice what I preach and make apologies to one of my students for going off on her via email.