The sincere, accountable, heartfelt thing you say when you fuck up, hoping to make things right, yet knowing full well the person has every right to never talk to you again, because maybe you totally damaged the critical foundation of trust necessary for a positive relationship.
Anyone can be a jerk, but it takes a relatively self-aware person to realize they’ve been a jerk and apologize. What’s less understood is the fact that you can still be a jerk on the other side of the apology. One of the fastest ways to do that is to demand that you be forgiven now that you’ve said you were sorry. We all know these people; perhaps we’ve all wondered what’s wrong with them. We may never uncover their deepest machinations, but at least on occasion we’re given permission to gawk at their weird internal logic. This week, advice-seeker “NAT” presents one such opportunity. He asks of the advice columnist The Ethicist at The New York Times: