The Non-Apology

How to Avoid This Common Apology Mistake

Hopefully we all say, “Please,” “Thank you” and “Excuse me.” It’s just good manners. And when we make a mistake, we say, “I’m sorry,” right? But these days “I’m sorry” seems to come a little too quick and easy. Are we even putting much thought into it anymore? Let’s learn how to make a proper apology.

A proper apology comes with genuine feelings of remorse and care. Even when we are young we avoid a real apology by creating something that is called a “non-apology” apology. This is an apology that is purely stated because the person who did wrong wants to please the offended individual or at least bring a quick end to the unpleasantness between them. It contains no real feelings of remorse, guilt or shame and is purely to satisfy, comfort and diffuse.

As children, our parents sometimes forced us into apologizing, even when we felt like we did nothing wrong. This sets the tone for non-apology behavior. When we don’t really want to apologize, we say things like, “I’m sorry if I hurt you,” “I’m sorry if I lied to you” and “I’m sorry if I disappointed you.” The use of the word “if” in an apology makes it a non-apology because the apologizer refuses to acknowledge they did something wrong.

Non-apologies work. They often take the heat off the offender and make the offended person quiet down. But non-apologies are manipulative and unfair because the person who was wronged never gets their feelings acknowledged or really apologized to. It is a common mistake that many people make when trying to apologize. Maybe you have made this mistake at one time or another.

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Now that you are aware of non-apology tactics, you can avoid them. Consider these methods below for a healthy and honest apology.

Write it Down and Observe Your Style

If you are going to apologize to someone and truly feel remorse for what you have done, write down what you want to say to them. Take away the “if’s'” and “but’s,” own up to your mistakes and acknowledge feelings.

“We go into relationships at the level of our self-esteem.” – Psychic Fiona ext. 5178

Be Responsible for Your Actions

It is very important that you take responsibility for your actions when apologizing to someone. You must say direct comments like, “I’m sorry I hurt you” and “I know what I did was wrong and I feel guilty about it. Please accept my apology.” Avoid the common phrase, “I’m sorry if I hurt you” or “If I hurt you, I am sorry, but I believe I was right.” The more you continuously have to be right all the time, the more your relationships will ultimately suffer. If you have been wrong and have hurt someone, it is the right thing to do to apologize from the heart and say it with heartfelt regret.

Even though many people do not notice it at the moment, a non-apology is like a slap in the face to another individual. A non-apology decreases the validity of the offended individual’s feelings and is not the proper way to mend a damaged relationship. Next time you go to apologize, think before you speak.

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3 thoughts on “The Non-Apology

  1. Online Love Coach

    Hello Rose Ann, First of all, you refer to him as “friend”. A true friend would not “cheat” on you. It appears that you have been willing to accept crumbs from him. Why were you the one who was always traveling and spending your money? If you read your own post pretending someone else is writing it, how would you respond? I really empathize since I found out recently that my ex whom I met online 5 years ago started cheating on me 5 months into the relationship. This was long-distance too and I was really duped (he started another relationship via dating website) until he abruptly ended it. If true love is what you want, Rose Ann, let him go totally. There are lots of “fish in the sea”. I found my Twin Soul who adores me and we were married within 2 years of meeting!! I am on a mission to coach women find their soul mates. Look me up on my website for my ebook.

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  2. Rose Ann Farese

    just broke up for the second time with my friend. The first time I broke up with him I (he was cheating on me ) I apologized (even though I was wronged but our relationship was not exclusive) profusely and won him back I also forgave him
    This time I did not apologize at all because he cheated again I found out through his actions it is /was a long distance relationship and he was not available for me to chat on yahoo mess never coming on line then I looked on his wall in facebook and he had added in a relationship so i blocked him
    I did not apologize because I was the wronged one However .since he has aspergers i let him down easy saying that my door is always open and we can still be friends and e mail each other
    I spent alot of money traveling to see him which I do not have so I don’t know if I will take him back this time unless he pays !!

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