It’s been one of those months that has got off to a fairly rocky start one way and another.
I feel as though I have been either apologising for something, or on the receiving end of an apology for something, pretty much constantly.
There is no doubt but that a heartfelt, intentional and remorseful apology can, in some cases, go a long way to healing a rift or a hurt. And even sometimes can make things better than they were before.
There are always some exceptions – kick my dog and I will never forgive you. Ever. Hell is too good for you.
Let’s face it – so much as frown at my dog and we need to step outside and have a word…..
Stand me up in a bar and, well, I’ll probably still order the beer anyhow and I understand that you totalled the car in your eagerness to get to me and then the cat ate your bus pass.
But not every apology is the same.
Come on – you know what I mean…..
Let’s look at some examples:
‘I’m sorry you took it that way’
‘I’m sorry you feel let down by what I did’
‘I’m sorry you took offence at what I said’.
Just. Don’t. Bother.
If that’s the best you can do then you can take your faux, passive aggressive nark and pop it into the special place reserved for all dog insulting people where all the other faux, passive, aggressive narks swim around in a pool of their own cess.
That is NOT an apology.
That is a self-indulgent, arrogant, supercilious and somewhat pathetic attempt to put the blame firmly on the other person for how you made them feel.
Of course, if you truly believe that you didn’t do the wrong thing then you shouldn’t apologise just to move it on, a conversation needs to be had, a misunderstanding has clearly happened and needs to be resolved, sometimes it needs the help of others.
An apology should own the fault or the slight, it probably should feel a bit shame faced and embarrassed. A real apology requires guts and determination and a real solid commitment not to do it again.
Decent people apologise properly.
By accepting faux apologies we undermine the real ones. The ones that cost someone all of their remaining courage and determination, the ones where it has taken real effort to unpick, reflect and own what happened and to be honest about it. The ones where you look into that person’s eyes and wish with all your heart that you could take that burden from them just to ease their pain.
Next time someone gives me a faux apology – I am going to throw it right back – ‘thanks for your comment on my reaction – but what are YOU sorry for.’