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Sunday 17 December 2017

Sorry seems to be the hardest word for many of us, not just snappy Suarez

And so he said sorry. Or should that be "Suarey"?

Because Luis Suarez's "apology" for sinking his teeth into Georgio Chiellini's shoulder is not exactly a full and abject admittance of responsibility for his behaviour.

Nope, in his 'apology' Suarez says "the truth is that my colleague Georgio Chiellini suffered the physical result of a bite in the collision he suffered with me", as if it was something supernatural that occurred.

If Suarez had his way we'd be believing it must have been the "Teeth of God" which launched themselves into Chiellini's shoulder.

It's a bit like like Adam and Eve saying that an apple suffered the physical result of a bite while they were in the garden.

There are many apologies which aren't actually apologies at all and Suarez's is up there with the best of them.

As non-apologies go it's on a par with, "I'm very sorry you feel that way", "I apologise if offence was caused" and "mistakes were made".

But, if there's one thing to say in Suarez' defence, it's that he obviously takes the whole issue of apologising very seriously.

He took a few days to sit back and consider matters before issuing it.

Mind you he still couldn't actually bring himself to do it properly. He has standards.

And yet nothing can garner sympathy and understanding from a baying public quite like an honest, abject apology.

Particularly if it's done quickly and without too much outside pressure.

Remember Hugh Grant's comments after he was arrested for lewd conduct with a Hollywood prostitute? He said: "In the end you have to come clean and say I did something dishonourable, shabby and goatish".

We all went, "Ahhh bless, he's really sorry, the poor boy" and his screen career took off.

statement

But golfer and serial two-timer Tiger Woods wasn't so clever. After months of denials he eventually released a carefully worded statement that admitted nothing but that he "regretted letting his family down".

Neither his wife Elin nor the public were impressed and she divorced him the following year.

So what makes a good apology? Should you admit guilt immediately or are you better off waiting until both parties have cooled down a bit?

Should you apologise even if you genuinely feel you haven't done anything bad but everyone else says you have? Or does that just make things even worse?

I have to admit, I'm one of those people who often find it difficult to apologise, because I also like to think that I rarely do anything wrong.

Yes, Ms Perfect that's me... or so I try to tell my other half whenever he says, with regular exasperation; "Can you not just admit that you were wrong?"

And of course I can. But unlike some people - and here I give him a meaningful look - I take apologies very, very seriously.

So, it's only honourable and right that I should refuse to churn them out unless I really believe that I'm in the wrong (which I rarely am).

My small boy, on the other hand, is devoted to apologising. He does it regularly, whether he has misbehaved or not, as a kind of insurance against possible future accusations.

"Sorry" he'll drawl, while lying on the couch when I complain loudly about having to pick up his dirty socks yet again. He doesn't move to do it himself though.

"Sorry," he'll shrug as I tell him for the fortieth time that dirty dishes have to be brought from his room to the kitchen.

Apologising should be hard, I tell him. It's not a phrase that just rolls off your lips whenever you've done something wrong.

And what does he say to that? Yep. You've guessed it. He looks at me with big blue eyes and says.. "Sorry".

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