Podcast 114: Say “I’m Sorry,” an Interview with Hollywood Legend Sherry Lansing, and a Spice-Related Hack.

Update: Elizabeth’s new podcast Happier in Hollywood launches on May 18! Also, I just finished first-pass pages for my book The Four Tendencies, which is now available for pre-order. (If you’re inclined to buy the book, it’s a big help to me if you pre-order.)

We read from Dani Shapiro’s memoir Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage.

Try This at Home: Say you’re sorry. We mention two books: Aaron Lazare’s On Apology and Gary Chapman’s The Five Languages of Apology, which argues that there are five “languages” of apology:

  • Expressing regret — “I’m sorry”
  • Accepting responsibility — “I was wrong”
  • Making restitution — “What can I do to make it right?”
  • Genuinely repenting — “I’ll try not to do that again”
  • Requesting forgiveness — “Will you please forgive me?”


You can find the website SorryWatch here.

Happiness Hack: If you want to collect a memento when traveling, buy spices. If you’re looking for the site about reading books related to travel destinations, it’s Longitude Books: Recommended Reading for Travelers.

Interview: Sherry Lansing. Check out Stephen Galloway‘s biography, Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker. Gosh, she is really a wise person.

In the photo, you can see me holding up the book about Sherry Lansing — also note that I’m wearing the “HAPPY” sweater that Elizabeth gave me for Christmas.

Demerit:  Elizabeth was working at home, and she covered four miles on the treadmill on the first day — but then she didn’t exercise again.

Gold Star: I give a gold star to Elizabeth for dealing with her blepharitis. I write about the Strategy of Convenience in my book about habits, Better Than Before.

New feature: Each week, at the end of the podcast, I list “Two Resources for You.”

  1. To get my monthly newsletter, text 66866, in the message box, enter “happier,” and when you get a text back, enter your email address. I’ll sign you up.
  2. To get the manifestos, just email me and I’ll send them off to you.

If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here. Remember, it really helps us if you do rate or review the podcast — it helps other listeners discover us.

As mentioned above, I do weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

Check out Smith and Noble, the solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 20% off window treatments and free in-home or on-phone design consultations and free professional measuring.

Also check out Texture. Get access to all your favorite magazines — including back issues and bonus video content — in one super-convenient place. Try the app Texture for free by going to Texture.com/happier.

Also check out Stamps.com. Want to avoid trips to the post office, and buy and print official U.S. postage for any letter or package, right from your own computer and printer? Visit Stamps.com to sign up for a 4-week trial,  including postage and a digital scale — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

Happier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #114

We love hearing from listeners:


To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

How to Subscribe

If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

Want a new podcast to listen to, with the same vibe as Happier? The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” The first shows are Side Hustle School and Radical Candor. Elizabeth’s show with her writing partner, Sarah Fain, will be Happier in Hollywood, so stay tuned for that.

HAPPIER listening!

  • Charlotte Evans

    Another great book on apologies: Harriet Lerner’s ‘Why Won’t You Apologize?’ Highly recommended

    • jenniferthomas

      Yes Dr. Learner’s new book is outstanding.

    • gretchenrubin

      I’ve heard great things about it.

      Gretchen Rubin

      Visit my blog

      My podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin
      My books: Better Than Before —New York Times bestseller
      The Happiness Project —#1 New York Times bestseller
      Join the discussion on Facebook @gretchenrubin

  • jenniferthomas

    Thank you for your great description of the book I co-wrote with Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages. We have an updated version entitled “When Sorry Isn’t Enough.” I gave a TEDx talk with survey results on the popularity of each of our 5 apology languages: http://www.tedhour.com. Best wishes to you and all of your readers!

    • gretchenrubin


      Gretchen Rubin

      Visit my blog

      My podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin
      My books: Better Than Before —New York Times bestseller
      The Happiness Project —#1 New York Times bestseller
      Join the discussion on Facebook @gretchenrubin

  • triciafitz2008

    I do the same baby shampoo-in-the-shower trick that Elizabeth mentioned for dealing with eyelid irritation. It’s been working for me for almost ten years. Glad she mentioned it and hope it helps others.

  • Karl

    With apologies, I find that normally no one is 100% to blame. My problem is I will often apologize hoping to get a, Don’t worry, I am partially to blame too – because that is what I would say and expect the same response in return. But my wife is a blamer and will accept the apology with acknowledging any blame in return. So I end up regretting the apology because it makes it seem like everything is my fault when there is truly equal blame. I want to start couching my apologies like this – I am partially to blame, and if you accept part of the blame, then I too will accept part of the blame – but I have not had the chance yet to put this idea into practice

    • jenniferthomas

      Karl, what a common problem! I give advice about apologies nearly daily. I recommend apologies that will stand alone. That is, give an apology that’s right and true for you even if the other person takes your apology and runs. Best wishes! http://www.drjenthomas.com

  • Reena

    Elizabeth, I TOTALLY hear you about the writing deadline vs. exercise thing!! I’ve been working on a huge orchestra piece all month, and because of traveling, I didn’t have the amount of time I usually do to compose a piece of this length and breadth. I developed this strategy where a) I didn’t let myself have my morning tea until I went for a run (strategy of pairing?) and b) I just had to literally put on shoes and get out of the house. It didn’t matter how long or fast I ran. I could just run around the block and come back. And I did sometimes. When I was running (and I am not athletic at all), I tried to be super honest with myself about not tiring myself out, because then it would be harder to write. I would tell myself that this wasn’t about getting in shape or staying in shape — I wasn’t running for long enough to do that. It was about waking myself up in the morning so that I had more productive time to write. I think a lot of times with exercise, we try to trick ourselves into doing more — but I found that it took only about 15 minutes of running to feel alert enough to start composing. When I was thinking about how I could use running as a tool to prioritize writing, and if I was really honest about my priorities to myself every day (so, I wasn’t even secretly hoping to have an added benefit of losing weight etc), it made it a lot easier to get out the door.

  • Terri Hamilton

    This episode was so timely… my supervisor had just talked to me about having non-work stuff up on my computer too much. Ouch. At the time I could only try not to hyperventilate. So today, one week later, I prepared an apology for our one-on-one. Worked in four out of the five types as she said in the video. (Asking forgiveness felt like a bit much.) It went well, I think. She seemed to respond well. And I feel better too. Thanks!

  • Wendy

    In relation to apologies, I used to work at Headstart with preschoolers. I learned an interesting response to apologies that we were given to teach the children. When someone apologizes, don’t say, “That’s okay.” It wasn’t okay, and we shouldn’t excuse bad behavior that way. Instead say, “Thank you.” I have since had 5 of my own children and taught them to respond this way. I think it is a gracious way to accept an apology without sending the message that the bad behavior was in any way acceptable.

    • gretchenrubin

      Interesting point —

  • Jacqueline Currie

    Hey Guys 🙂 Just catching up on your podcast now, I ussually only listen at work and we have been swamped. So happy to get back in my routine of listening to you guys. My comment is for Elizabeth and her issue with working out while working on a deadline. I have two gym routine: one for everyday, typical weeks, and only for when things get crazy. When I have alot going on, I change my routine to the lighter one for the weeks in question. I don’t feel any guilt for doing this, in fact- I feel prepared to handle to crazy weeks because I planned for it. A feeling of wanting to give myself a demerit turns into a gold star for planning and sticking to my alternative workout routine. Love the podcast, thanks :).