Santa Fe, NM/photo by Carol Cassara
Have you ever heard one of those apologies that are really not an apology at all? Like this one:
I’m sorry you feel that way.
I’m all for sincere apologies. But when I hear that one? Well, it’s not a true apology.
What it’s really saying is that what I said or did is ok, but your reaction is the problem. That kind of fake apology allows the other person to avoid really taking in how the other person feels. And they can avoid taking any responsibility for those feelings. After all, they apologized, right?
Well, not right. There are a zillion kinds of apologies that are real apologies. But this is not one of them. It’s an insult, really, when someone says that to me. An insult to my intelligence. I mean, am I supposed to believe they’re sorry? No.
Here are a few other fake apologies:
I’m sorry, but you provoked me. The BUT is a big clue, because whatever comes after BUT normally invalidates the first clause.
I’m sorry we don’t agree.
If it makes you feel better, I’ll say I’m sorry.
Faux apologies, all. But there ARE ways to apologize that communicate sincerity.
Here are a few of the good ones:
“Oh my gosh, I am so sorry I hurt your feelings.”
Or “That didn’t come out right, I’m sorry.”
Or “I wouldn’t embarrass you for the world, I’m so sorry.”
Put the onus on the person who created the issue, not on the recipient.
So when you’re in disagreement with someone and apologies are called for, remember this:
There’s no quicker way to invalidate another person’s feelings than to give a fake apology.
Ever received one of those fake apologies? How did you feel?