Apologies, excuses and the verbal finger
It’s funny how a seemingly innocuous action – or in some cases, actions – can compel one to do something they hadn’t planned on doing.
For me, the aforementioned actions were those of the rude, irritating woman who tried to cut in front of about seven people at the supermarket this afternoon.
I hadn’t planned on writing anything on my day off, but the behaviour of the woman – let’s call her the Bitch with the Handbasket – made me question at what stage people stopped apologising altogether.
When did ludicrous excuses replace sincere apologies as a response to fucking up?
I watched the Bitch with the Handbasket creep into my peripheral vision while I was waiting to be served in the express lane. I saw her eyeball the queue and stood stunned as she nonchalantly pushed in front of me and acted as though she’d been there the entire time.
After subtlety suggesting to her that she needed to move to the back of the line, I couldn’t believe her retort: “Huh? Oh, I didn’t see you there. Is there a line?”
What the hell? What part of my handbasket-carrying, six-foot-five frame didn’t you see? Did you fail to notice the half a dozen shoppers behind me who are now scowling at you?
As I asked myself what her problem was, it dawned on me that her excuses and ignorance were representative of the attitudes of many: we’ve become a society that accepts reasons why in lieu of apologies.
People seem to have forgotten how to apologise. In the rare instances where an apology is offered, it’s seldom genuine. Somehow, offering a feeble, disingenuous explanation has been deemed socially acceptable.
It’s got to stop.
In addition to the Bitch with the Handbasket, I’ve recently witnessed first-hand another example of society’s proclivity to throw out a thinly-veiled vindication instead of an apology.
Without going into specifics, the players in question were out of line and exercised poor judgement. Whether or not a private apology has been offered to the women involved is a matter for them. All I can comment on intelligently is that publicly, the only responses from the individuals at the centre of the allegations have been excuses. Lots of excuses. A few of them have even suggested that it’s me who needs to apologise for writing the story.
How hard is it to admit that you have erred?
I’ll admit it when I screw up. When I do make a mistake, it’s usually a big one. Like when I referred to the wrong team as last season’s premiers in a recent grand final preview. Oops. I could have made excuses, but what would have been the point? I made a mistake; it was as simple as that. The newspaper ran a correction and the earth continued to turn on its axis.
An excuse is not an apology. An apology conveys regret, remorse or sorrow, while an excuse tends to indicate the person blabbering it isn’t genuinely contrite. To me, an excuse is the verbal equivalent of giving someone the finger after you’ve wronged them.
If you’ve done something you regret, show some intestinal fortitude and admit you were wrong. If you aren’t remorseful for your actions you shouldn’t feel compelled to apologise, but please don’t offer up some idiotic excuse for doing whatever it was that you did. The best excuse in the world will never trump a simple, sincere acknowledgement that you screwed up.
I’m not going to apologise for this post because even though you’re sorry for reading it, I don’t regret writing it. As for excuses, where would you like me to start?
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Written by disseminatedthought
April 10, 2012 at 19:33
Posted in Society
Tagged with #bestblogs2012, award, Best Australian Blogs 2012 Competition, blog, blogging, common courtesy, culture, humor, humour, opinion, people, personal responsibility, respect for others, social media, social networking, society, Sydney Writers’ Centre, TDoT, The Dissemination of Thought, thoughts, writing
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