An excuse involves circumstances in which people perceive that they have made mistakes and, in response to these uncomfortable situations, will say or do things to (a) make the mistakes seem not so bad, and/or (b) lessen their linkages to the mistakes. People are motivated to make excuses to preserve their images of being good and in control, and these preserved images are for both the surrounding people who may have witnessed the mistakes, as well as the actual people who made the errors. If the excuse is effective, the givers' positive images are preserved and they can continue to perform well and interact with people just as they did before the slip-ups happened.


There probably have been excuses for as long as there have been ...

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