…YOU were offended”.
That phrasing has become the de facto standard for public apologies. Eva Longoria recently went on record with a similar “apology”. What does it say?
- I’m NOT sorry if you weren’t offended. In other words, everyone who agrees with me can take comfort that I STILL feel the same way, just can’t openly express what I truly feel, for fear of career meltdown or public disapproval. It’s all the fault of those darn Fascists, who won’t shut up and accept their lesser place in this New World.
- The problem is YOU, who chose to take offense. I’m not to blame, you are, with your prickly sensitivity to a perfectly normal political opinion. That is, it’s normal in MY circles, which, of course, means that ALL rational people will agree with it.
- I still, arrogantly, feel that I was correct to say it, but also want to avoid the public criticism that accompanies having deliberately, and publicly, spoken harshly and offensively. So I carefully crafted the statement, and delivered it knowing that MY people would understand that I didn’t mean ANY of this bilge for an instant. See? My fingers are crossed behind my back.
What would an Honest-to-God apology sound like?
Recently I was expressing my opinion on a controversial issue. In the process, I became caught up in the topic, and said some things that were over-the-top.
That’s usually what causes the “whoops” moment – people get caught up in the moment, and it just spills out.
Some people heard what I said, and confronted me about it. They were offended, and said so.
No IF they were offended – they were – they said so.
It wasn’t my intent to be offensive. But I did say it, and, upon reflection, have to agree. It was an uncalled-for statement. It was (pick one or more – bigoted, cruel, dismissive, crude, horrible, unfairly partisan, etc.) _______________.
No IF it was, it was – own it.
I am sorry for my action, which was beneath a citizen-activist. In that role, I should have spoken civilly, not taken the low road.
This part would be truly refreshing – the complete acceptance of guilt for what that person had done.
I can only ask for your forgiveness.
NOT a demand, a request. And, let’s face it – this is America, which has been fairly called “the land of second chances”. We love to be magnanimous, and say, “sure, that’s OK, don’t give it any more thought”.
We are a forgiving people. Just ask, and most of the time, you WILL be forgiven for your mistakes. Heck, even in cases of murder, I’m amazed by the people who tell their family member’s killer “I forgive you”. I don’t believe that I could do it, but I sure do admire those that do.
Other cultures don’t understand this – they take our ready acceptance of man’s imperfections to be weakness. In too many of those cultures, they are still fighting a centuries-old war.
So, let’s take advantage of our culture’s readiness to forgive, and make REAL apologies in the future.
We’ll forgive you – that’s what we Americans do.