When Sorry Isn't Enough
We all make mistakes. Some are big and some are small. Of course we should apologize whenever we make mistakes, but there are instances where “sorry” just isn’t enough. There are so many people that don’t know how to apologize the right way. We are automatically told, especially as little kids, to just say sorry all the time and it’s not that helpful when we don’t get shown why we need to. There are at least four instances I would like about why these situations are not right to have an apology by itself. These could be for yourself or for other people who do these things:
When the other person doesn’t know why you’re upset, or they just automatically apologize. They just apologize and think they’re done. They don’t even think about it beyond that, and then just keep doing the same thing over and over again. They don’t care to figure out why you’re upset. It’s the lazy way to apologize, because they just want things to go back to normal so they can stop feeling uncomfortable. However, there are situations where people say something really wrong or rude, and flippantly say “sorry.” You can tell it’s not sincere. You need people in your life who respect you and your feelings.
They make the apology about themselves. Sometimes it’s hard to notice when they do it because they make themselves the victim and then you feel bad about it. For example, “I’m sorry I’m such a horrible person” or “I didn’t realize it was so hard to talk to you.” I had many years with people like this and it took me a while to realize why. These people don’t realize that it is about them stopping that behavior instead of making it about them.
They apologize but it’s not changed behavior. This is the biggest one, and one I have lost friends over. They think the apology excuses their behavior. They don’t care how you feel about what they did. The words don’t mean anything if they don’t change afterward. Sometimes they even make it out like you are the one in the wrong. Yet, if they change, they could make other people’s lives better.
They make your reaction the bad thing. They turn it around on you and how you’re so sensitive and can’t take a joke. Instead of what they did that was wrong, it was your reaction that was wrong. Sometimes they have a public persona too, so that others believe them more.
In addition to saying something when other people do these things, you may want to look at yourself as well. We all did this type of thing at one point or another. I hope you pay attention and listen to other people when they mention things to you too, like when you say something rude or don’t treat people they way they want to be treated.
As I’ve mentioned in past episodes, when you have problems with someone, always take them aside the first time you talk to them. If you mention it in front of other people, they may feel attacked. If the behavior continues, then you may need to get more assertive and mention it in front of other people.
We all need to learn how to say sorry the right way and make sure it’s good for both people, that we’re learning and growing our relationships, no matter how close the relationship is. We need a better connection with each other and to respect others.