How Not to Apologize

To my children (and everyone else):

How not to apologize

  • Your opening salvo should never be, “I never said I was a perfect person.” No one would argue the point but this opener lets your listeners know that you really don’t think you need to apologize but you’re being forced to do it.
  • Beware of the “constipated face look,” the one that convinces us that you don’t have a clue what you did wrong. If you can’t look contrite, don’t bother.
  • Don’t let anyone else write your apology. Bottom line-if you can’t muster up something sincere, in your own voice, without reading from a teleprompter, don’t waste our time.
  • Don’t say, “I did something bad but so and so did something worse.” No, just no. When you’re saying you’re sorry, no one cares about the terrible things anyone else did.
  • Don’t say, “Let’s be honest,” because clearly that means that you are about to unload a heap of dishonesty.
  • Don’t say, “This is a distraction.” If it were only a distraction you wouldn’t be apologizing. We weren’t born yesterday and we know that this is a Hail Mary attempt to change the subject.
  • Don’t say, “I’ve done some foolish things but…” Leave off the “but.” I’ve done foolish things and then, a period. It’s a complete thought.
  • Don’t say, “Anyone who knows me, knows my words don’t reflect who I am.” Again and again and again, NO-what do your words reflect if they don’t reflect who you are?

Instead, try this alternate apology-

I’m sorry. There is no excuse for being a misogynistic pig. There is no excuse for demeaning women. I am absolutely mortified that my wife and daughters, or that anyone else’s daughters, sisters, wives, mothers or female friends have to be subjected to the verbal garbage that spewed unfettered like putrid sewage from my mouth. Going forward, I will try to be a better person.

3 thoughts on “How Not to Apologize

  1. Dear Helene, I don’t generally comment on blogs, etc. but . . . you nailed it! Great blog and posted to my Facebook account. I enjoy your writing style and family stories. Dean Weldon (I know it is usually a man’s name but not this time. Sigh.)


  2. Hi, I read one of your blogs on “Grown and Flown,” excellent. I am on a one-woman mission to eliminate starting a piece with a date. Yours began with “On September 22, (a daughter) got off the bus…” the date is insignificant, so just get on with the reporting. if you start looking, you’ll see many, many stories and personal opinion pieces (such as blogs) begin with “on such-and-such day” and it is the weakest way to start an otherwise excellent missive. Help me stamp out mediocrity in writing. And keep on writing! thanks

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