I’m Sorry

November 3, 2013

Some people tell you they would rather cut off their right arm than apologize and some people apologize for everything, even when it isn’t their fault. So, what does an apology really mean?

In, and of itself, an apology doesn’t mean anything if it’s not sincere and if it’s used excessively. For the person who would rather cut off his right arm than apologize, saying I’m sorry is probably seen as a weakness. He may not want to appear as imperfect and an apology is an admission that he made a mistake. For a perfectionist, this is like the kiss of death.

While it is preferable to hear an apology from someone who has done something wrong, it is almost like a slap in the face to hear it from someone who keeps doing the same thing, over and over again, and each time expecting forgiveness.

Some of the most common apologies come from people who are always late, or they forgot your birthday, or they forgot they had an appointment with you. Your birthday only comes once a year and they may forget that they used the same excuse last year, but appointments are another story.

These people come in, out of breath (sometimes), telling you about the traffic or an accident on the highway, or their cat had an emergency, or their dog ate the pages out of their appointment book, etc.

Whether any of these things actually happened, is anyone’s guess. The point is that they are showing a complete disregard for your time and a lack of respect for you if it keeps happening over and over. They are also showing themselves as being rude and in need of learning time management skills.

Then there are the people who apologize more, out of habit, than because they know they did something wrong. When they are about to disagree with you, they start off by saying, “I’m sorry, but . . .” and then they go on to tell you the rest. This leaves you wondering if they felt bad about having to disagree with you or they are too much of a coward to say what’s on their mind without apologizing in advance for what they are about to say.

And, of course, there are the customer service representatives who apologize for whatever complaint you may have. They don’t necessarily fix the problem; they just apologize for it.

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