High-earners apologize twice as often as low-earners, according to a study of 7,590 Americans, which found there to be a near perfect correlation [*] between how much people earn and how often they say sorry.
Americans earning over $100,000 a year are almost twice as likely to apologize after an argument with their other half as those earning under $25,000 — according to a survey by pollsters Zogby for The Pearl Outlet.com (http://www.thepearloutlet.com/), a dotcom which commissioned the poll after noticing that a growing number of customers were buying pearls as a way to say sorry.
The link between income and apologizing holds true across the income range — the more you apologize, the more you earn.
“This shows that successful people are willing to learn from their mistakes and keen to mend relationships,” says Peter Shaw, a top business coach and co-author of the book, “Business Coaching: Achieving Practical Results Through Effective Engagement.”
High-earners also tend to be both brighter and more secure, suggests Marty Nemko, author of “Cool Careers for Dummies,” rated by a Reader’s Choice poll as the #1 most useful career guide. “They realize when they’re wrong and know it won’t hurt their career much to apologize.”
Terry Shepherd, President of Pearl Outlet.com, has his own theory: “Maybe higher-earners apologize more because, as someone once said, it’s easier to apologize afterwards than to ask permission beforehand — and high-earners ask permission less.”
Whatever the explanation, says Shepherd, the conclusion seems clear: “If you want a pay-rise, learn to say sorry.” And how better to say it than with pearls? “They say a lot more than just giving flowers, which is sort of expected.”
Those polled were asked if they would apologize after an argument with their significant other, in three different situations: when they felt they were to blame; partly to blame; or blameless.
In all three, a person’s willingness to apologize was an almost perfect predictor of their place on the pay ladder. So, 92% of $100,000+ earners would apologize when they felt they were completely to blame, compared to 89% of $75-100,000 earners, 84% of $50-75,000 folks, 72% of $35-50,000 earners, 76% for $25-35,000 earners and just 52% of those earning under $25,000.
Even when they felt were blameless, 22% of the highest earners would say sorry, compared to just 13% of the lowest ones.
This kind of close correlation between income and behavior is rare. “As a PhD in a social science, I can say that no behavioral variable correlates perfectly with income,” says Marty Nemko.
The same study also found that married Americans are twice as likely as single or divorced ones to apologize to their significant others after an argument.