NOUN (plural apologies)
A regretful acknowledgement of an offence or failure:
we owe you an apology
my apologies for the delay
The Oxford Dictionary meaning of the word ‘apology’ seems pretty straightforward. So why have we witnessed so many abysmal attempts?
Little kids understand the premise.
‘Sorry I hit you and took your Tonka truck,’ can be overheard in sandpits across the planet.
So, why do some adult apologies lack basic regret and acknowledgment?
For example, the words, “I almost want to apologise” just seem plain weird. Are you saying that you know an apology is the only acceptable action but actually offering one up is beyond you? Is it appropriate or logical to then argue that talking over one another represents “a danger threatening our country”? Nicely played, Bill. Have a D grade.
Do you think that going on television with Oprah Winfrey and promising to apologise to a bunch of people (after being caught in a monumental cycle of B.S. – pun intended) and not following through on that very public promise was the right way to go about things? After years of attempting to destroy the lives and reputations of the very same people who publicly spoke of your repeated transgressions, which you consistently denied. Hmm. Grade: F.
Or perhaps sitting side-by-side with your spouse, staring down the barrel of a cheap Handicam positioned at an unflattering low angle, and tonelessly parroting words of biosecurity advice about bringing undeclared domestic animals into southern hemisphere countries seemed like a genuine attempt at making amends. Right, Johnny and Amber? Wrong. Grade: E.
Wrongly assuming a female airline passenger is pregnant and then offering a $100 travel voucher to make up for her humiliation in front of other passengers also probably won’t earn you many points. Just because you’re a budget airline doesn’t mean your fuck-up is worth any less. Grade: F.
Or perhaps pulling ponytails is just ‘a bit of banter’ when dealing with hospitality staff? And following up with a bottle of pinot afterwards when you have so adeptly explained away your on-going, fun, practical joke relationship with your local café waitress (that she didn’t seem to be in on) seems like a great idea. At the end of the day, nothing to see here, folks. Grade: F.
And of course, writing a very public newspaper piece about domestic violence when you have been convicted of injuring your former partner with reckless disregard for her safety, in which you never actually address your victim or apologise directly to her, could potentially make people question the authenticity of your motives. Are you feeling sorry about the fact that your actions have negatively impacted your life and career? Using the word “I” 65 times in your statement goes to show there is likely one person you feel very sorry for. Grade: Z.
Apologies are hard. No one likes to be wrong. No one likes the public to know that they did a shitty, shitty thing. No one likes to be thought of as being the kind of person who could do such a shitty, shitty thing.
Yet, when we do things that we’re not proud of, there is really only one honourable path to redemption. An honestly offered apology provides that first step towards absolution – combining remorse, guilt and a truly-held desire to make things better for the wronged party, a sincere apology is a vital step in the right direction.
But that simple idea still seems to elude some people.
We’re so very sorry that we had to publish this.