Are Apologies Really Necessary?

Photo by Camille Orgel on Unsplash

As little kids, we were taught to apologize. If you hurt someone’s feelings, apologize. If you stepped on someone’s foot, apologize. If you didn’t say it right the first time, apologize again, but this time, say it like you mean it.

Does an apology really do anything for the victim? No matter how light or harsh the apologetic crime is, in the end, does it mean anything? Or is it just about being cordial? Are you really sorry?

The answer: kind of, sort of, but not too really. An apology does have it’s place in society, but at the same time, society has gotten sensitive. It’s like, people depend on apologies to survive.

Do apologies have a purpose? Yes. The purpose of an apology is to acknowledge the victim with an understanding, that you sincerely didn’t mean to do whatever you did.

No problems there. If I bump into you, I’m sorry. Keep it moving. If I’m eating crab legs and a piece of crabmeat flies away from my table onto yours, I’m sorry. Keep it moving.

Nowadays, it’s totally different. People want to sue you or go through a theatrical drama, just for an apology.

Even if you offer an apology, there’s pain and suffering. Some people do go through actual pain and suffering, but I’m talking about those who “couldn’t sleep for weeks,” because an apology wasn’t enough for getting bumped into, at a crowded club. Now, charges will be pressed.

Let’s stop enabling kids to be weak. Here’s the scenario:

Timmy slides down the sliding board. Alice is running across the bottom of the sliding board, as he is coming down. Timmy and Alice meet at the bottom of the sliding board, in a gentle crash.

Timmy says, “Sorry,” and he runs along. Alice is not hurt, just her feelings. She begins to let the tears flow and runs to the teacher.

“Timmy fell on me and he’s still playing!” she tells the teacher. “Did Timmy apologize to you?” the teacher asked. Alice slowly says, “Yes, but it still hurts!”

Alice admitted that Timmy apologized. She should have done what Timmy did, and move on. Nope, she decides to take it further.

Alice’s father comes up to the school the next day and talks with the teacher. According to him, “Alice couldn’t sleep last night and had horrible nightmares.”

I’m going to stop right there — you get the point. Although Alice had no bruises or scratches, she wants an extended apology and her father is enabling her to drag out a simple situation that doesn’t matter to anybody but his little princess.

At some point, Alice is going to have to just woman up. Yes, her father is her protector, but everything doesn’t need to be made into a big deal.

Basically, her father should have told her, “Timmy apologized. Let’s move on. You will have bigger fish to fry, I promise.”

People will allow the smallest things to stop them. If Alice’s father enables her in this way for all of her life, it’s not going to be good for Alice. She will begin to feel entitled to have apologies spoken to her, every time something small happens.

That’s where, “Sorry, not sorry,” comes in. Stop playing victim. Is a simple word going to throw you off track like that? Make you not want to move forward with your own life?

Saying, “I’m sorry, “ has been worn out. Maybe we say it too loosely. I don’t want someone’s life to stop, just because I didn’t apologize enough. Let’s learn pto move on.

Some people don’t know when to let go. I know people who still need closure from years ago. Granted, it was a horrible situation that happened, but at some point, you have to move on. Moving on IS closure. It’s not waiting on someone to give you an insincere apology, so you can live again.

There’s nothing worse that an apology that had to be convinced to be said. I’d rather have no apology, than an insincere one. Either way, I will move on.

But why? People say, “I know it won’t bring him back, but…” It may be something therapeutic about it. I don’t know. What I do know is, life goes on. I will not wait on you to say you’re sorry, just so I can move forward. I don’t need that kind of permission.

Let’s take more responsibility for how we allow things to influence us. It’s affecting you (the victim) more than it’s affecting the person who “needs to apologize.”

I’m not waiting around for an apology. I’ll find my closure by moving on. It may hurt or make me feel pain, but after I get over it, I keep going.

Sorry, not sorry.

@TheGoaldenLady motivates others to grow into their greatness at Author of self-help series:

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