When “I’m sorry” becomes overused, it gets tuned out — and so do you.

We all make mistakes. From minor ones like mispronouncing someone’s name (which, depending on the person, could be a big deal) to major ones like making an expensive misguided hire, every single one of us can remember the workplace errors we’ve made that are cringe-worthy for ourselves, and painful for others.

For those of us with a conscience and a degree of emotional intelligence, saying “I’m sorry” after the fact may not be easy, but it usually isn’t agonizing. It’s can also be deeply meaningful. Aaron Lazare, the former dean chancellor and dean of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and the author of On Apology, described apologizing as one of the most profound interactions two people can have with one another.

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