Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Ever have one of those days?

You know, one of those days. When you you look around and wonder, what is going through their head? Anything? Anything at all?

"Never listen to what a man says. Just go on what he does." -- Randy Pausch

That goes for girls too, by the way - people are what they do, not what they say. I forget that sometimes, and then, man, do I get sucker punched.

Having said that, I have a few words to say about apologies - because sometimes you have no choice but to say something right when you've done something wrong. That's life. Trust me, I'm not saying I'm the perfect sorry-sayer (or sooth-sayer for that matter), but that's not going to stop me from saying my few words. If you're going to say you're sorry, say it for the thing you did - don't say it for the other person's reaction. That's beyond lame.

Be sorry you were late, don't be sorry the other person was angry you were late. Be sorry you over-reacted and had a completely uncalled-for conniption fit. Don't be sorry the other person was hurt you yelled at them. Or whatever. Seriously.

"I'm sorry you were angry I was late." Are you for real? Man up. (regardless of your gender... man up.)

"I'm sorry you were bummed." You're sorry I was bummed? How about you're sorry you behaved like an inconsiderate ass?

If you can't force the words "I'm sorry I didn't call" or "I'm sorry I anything," out of your mouth, then just -- well, take a long walk off a short pier springs to mind. Failing that, just say nothing at all. Honestly, that would be better. Don't even begin to go down the other road. Trust me on this.

Aaah. I feel better already. Thanks for listening.


Connie said...

What if you're not really sorry that you were late (you were getting some, or talking with a friend you haven't seen for a while, or sleeping, or whatever) but you really are sorry that the person was upset by it. Couldn't you then say, "I'm sorry that I inconvenienced or upset you due to my lateness", and then leave it to the other person to decide whether or not to depend on your timeliness ever again? Isn't the crucial part taking responsibility for your part in the person's [] that you need to say sorry for? And if the person wasn't [upset, inconvenienced, financially harmed] by the something that you did, would you really need to say sorry to that person, even if you weren't a model of interpersonal conduct? Sorry, that's my read.

g said...

you got it in one - the crucial part is taking responsibility - which you clearly understand, since you started your apology with "I'm sorry I.." not "I'm sorry you..."
Of course you can be sorry you upset someone. But there's a big difference between "I'm sorry you were upset I was late" and "I'm sorry I upset you by being late." The first makes your wrongdoing (you were late, after all) their problem, the second recognizes that it was your bad. Which it was.
Being sorry means a) recognizing you hurt/inconvenienced someone, b) taking responsibility for it, c) communicating that, d) and attempting to make amends. At least to me.