Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The hardest word

There's been a lot of chit-chat in the newspapers and interwebs about apologies. I read a full page editorial by a wittering harpy about our foreign secretary having three different goes at apologising for something. The interesting bit was the idea that a good apology is almost magical and does as much for the giver as the recipient.

It's true. I have been the recipient of an apology that made everything better again. Some years ago a couple of my band mates played a trick on me that I thought was too cruel and too dangerous. I was really hurt, upset, and seriously thinking about leaving the band.

I made my displeasure known (firmly) to the perpetrators and I got two different reactions. The first did a sort of weasel-words half apology where nothing was his fault and it was somehow my problem for being upset. The second apologised. There was nothing magical about the form of words, just that she was sorry, she hadn't intended to upset me, didn't dislike me and did take responsibility.

A full and real apology is completely disarming. You can't carry on arguing with somebody when they've just said they were wrong, and the ball is straight back in your court. You either have to start forgiving them, or you carry on being a dick about it.

Afterwards I never felt as comfortable around the guy who didn't apologise. He was an unreliable attention-whore anyway, and now I have nothing to do with him. Within 48 hours I was at the party with the woman that did apologise. No hard feelings, no awkwardness, and in truth I think my opinion of her went up. I might even have over-reacted about the whole thing anyway.

Richard "I'm Sorry" B

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