All apologies: A lesson from Japanese culture

man in black and white plaid dress shirt sitting on chair in front of macbook

Confrontation be damned.

I tried the Japanese thing today, and it worked quite well. I wanted to make some suggestions about how to improve something, and I started by apologising for not thinking of something earlier. I could have gone any way, by getting angry at the other person, or just going ahead and doing things my way, but I needed the other person on board, and for the sake of harmony, I started with an apology.

This technique probably won’t go down well in other cultures. There’s too much pressure and everyone does what they can to avoid the blame, but avoiding the blame is simply one way to cover the issue up. Best to get it out in the open, and best to push things forward, which in the case of Japanese culture can come in the form of an apology.

Confrontation be damned.

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