Illustration: Pierre Le-Tan
Q: I got into a minor fender bender, which was totally my fault. I wanted to apologize to the person I hit, but my friend told me to stay in the car. This struck me as cold, but she said it's a lawsuit-happy world and apologizing implies guilt. Was she right?
A: "Yes, she was: Apologies imply wrongdoing, laws are complex, and what looks like 'my fault' sometimes isn't. Even so, you can express sympathy to the driver for her (and your) messed-up day without admitting guilt."
— Rushworth M. Kidder, founder, Institute for Global Ethics
"Unfortunately, your friend is correct. So next time—God forbid—remain calm and say something benignly commiserative to the other driver, like ' Boy, neither of us needed this today.'"
— Faith Salie, host of public radio's Fair Game from PRI with Faith Salie