A half-assed apology is NOT better than no apology whatsoever.
This post took a different direction that originally intended. I started out, as promised in my weekly check-in post, “What’s Up Wenzday: Passive-Aggressive Edition”, intent upon bringing to your attention how fucked up I find half-assed apologies to be. I planned to provide an example of such a case by talking about a recent incident which left me in a crappy mood, and which seems to be representative of the kinds of apologies people offer these days.
“A stiff apology is a second insult…
The injured party does not want to be compensated
because he has been wronged;
he wants to be healed
because he has been hurt.”
~ Gilbert K. Chesterton
No apology quotes for you: Two years.
I still plan to tell you what happened. But I also need to talk about a shocking discovery I made while trying to find some appropriate quotations for this piece. I mean, we’re talking about apologies, right? And that is all beautiful and sweet and peaceful and lovely. I thought nice quotations would be just right for this kind of post.
Unfortunately, we the people don’t seem very much “in” to apologizing these days. After about forty-five minutes of scouring various quote sites which I use regularly for this sort of thing, I was only able to find THREE (3) that were appropriate.
Don’t hit people.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.”
~ Robert Fulghum
Do you understand the implications of this? Do you see how we have changed over just the last few years? We’ve gone from teaching our children to apologize to telling our children that no apology is ever necessary. We preach now that you should offer no apology for who you are, no apology for what you’ve done, no apology for anything ever. We also push the idea that if someone loves you, no apology should ever be requested — much less demanded!
I’m not alone in this “No Apology” observation.
“I made a new discovery about forgiveness: A new guilt-free world has evolved.
I can see it in the world around me, in different relationships, privately and at work. Even in therapy sessions, we don’t discuss whose fault it is anymore. Over and over again, we are told that it is not our fault, that no one is to blame.
We don’t allow ourselves to admit doing wrong anymore.
It’s as if guilt is something forbidden and dangerous. We quickly explain that we will not judge, as long as you tell the truth.
We use excuses such as ‘It just happened’ or ‘I’m only human.’ No one does anything wrong anymore, and suddenly all is allowed.”
Being true to yourself doesn’t grant you permission to be a douche.
Look, I am definitely on board with finding out who you are and learning how you fit into this fuck-tastic planet. That’s what my bloggy-blog is all about — having the freedom to develop my voice. But that doesn’t mean I’m never wrong.
Being true to myself doesn’t mean that my actions henceforth represent the best of me. Being true to myself doesn’t mean “Andi-Roo can do no wrong!” Nay, friends. On the contrary, being true to myself means having room to make my own choices, to learn from periods of poor judgment, to celebrate my own victories. Being true to myself means being the best *ME* I can possibly be, without changing to meet other people’s labels. It means being able to decide what labels I want to wear, and having the right to rip them off and be naked if I so desire. (((That’s “naked” in the psychological sense, not “naked” for realz. Because *ugh*.)))
No apology? Well, fuck you then, stupid-headed dumb-dumb.
The responsibility that comes with being true to myself coincides with one of my Personal Commandments: Recognize flaws and act accordingly. That means seeing my screw-ups and either attempting to eradicate them or working around them. It means admitting that I make mistakes, or that parts of me aren’t perfect.
If I have to admit this stuff to myself, it only goes to figure that if other people are involved, I would admit it to them, as well. But many of the quotes I found indicated that to apologize is a sign of weakness. I cry bullshit on that notion! Apologizing, when sincere, is the biggest example of personal strength one can offer. It’s humbling oneself. Someone unable to offer this to others is extremely weak-willed.
Which brings us back my complaint about passive-aggressive apologies.
Here’s what happened. I woke up one morning to find the following posted to the bulletin board in a tribe I’m following via Triberr. I’ve changed the names to protect, well, myself. I don’t want to get fucking sued over some elementary school caca.
“Poopsie – this is for you. Andi-Roo, who you suggested might not be a great tribemate, has commented on my blog. I am going to approve this comment as it is not unpleasant. However, I don’t want to jeopardise the relationships I have here. So if you, Poopsie, or anyone, wants to discuss this then let me know. I can always unapprove. Chief”
After much thought, and some stewing, I came to the conclusion that the remark, while somewhat mean-ish in that “people are talking about me behind my back!” kind of way, isn’t necessarily untrue. So I penned the following response to the public call-out:
“It’s true, I’m a lousy tribemate.
I only share posts I specifically like for myself, regardless of whether my followers might like them. You could go so far as to say I’m snobby about it. If I don’t like someone’s material, I will mute that person with no remorse. As for my own posts, they are rant-y + full of f-bombs. I’ve become somewhat renowned for saying things straight. So I can TOTALLY see how some people might not think I’m an ideal tribemate.
However, I’d like to point out two things:
(a) I’m not actually even a member of this tribe; I’m shadowing it so that I can hand-pick which posts I want to share, + which people I want to specifically follow, w/o fear of crashing stats.
(b) I had no idea I was a source of contention for this tribe + have no desire to tear asunder pre-existing relationships. I can stop shadowing this tribe + just follow the folks I particularly like via other routes if that will make everyone’s life easier.
I’ll admit to a giddy enjoyment in rocking boats, but this was a boat I didn’t even realize I was on!”
I thought that was a straightforward way to address the situation, without being attack-y or defensive or ugly. I was expecting some kind of “oops” or “my bad” or even a sincere apology, because, honestly? That original post was bullshit.
Here’s what I got back (from a guy I shall call Passive-Aggressive Apologist):
“Yowza is all I have to say besides this: someone who doesn’t want to share the entire tribes’ posts? That’s not what I would want to cultivate. We had that already and it wasn’t good, remember? Oh well. I like the tribe the way it is, really. We all know one another after a year’s time, and I love sharing everyone’s content/writing.”
I probably should have just let it all go at that point, realizing that these silly-heads don’t really understand shadowing (following) or what it entails, and that they really don’t get Triberr except as it pertains to their small writing circle, which, while decent, belongs more on Facebook or in a closed Google group than on Triberr. But I am no good at letting things go. I wanted Passive-Aggressive Apologist to understand that his “Yowza” was unwarranted, because I wasn’t being a rotten tribemate, since I wasn’t in fact a tribemate in any way whatsoever! I wish the opinions of others didn’t matter to me nearly so much, but the fact of the matter is, they do.
So here is my defense:
“… which is why I’m not a member of this tribe. I am merely a follower, a shadow, a non-existent party who doesn’t matter a bit. It’s my understanding that, as a follower, none of my posts will appear in your stream, so there is no worry about reciprocation. If I am mistaken, please-please-please let me know! I am not asking for shared tweeting. I’m not asking for anything. I’m just peeking over your shoulder & saying, ‘I like this one!’
I have to say, I’m finding it odd that there is consternation over my saying, ‘Hi, I like some of you & would like to tweet out a few of your posts at absolutely ZERO cost to you & I’m not asking for membership or shared tweeting or anything!’
From my perspective, I’m offering a sweet deal. ‘Sweet’ in that a few people benefit from my generosity, since, again, as a follower I’m not required to share ANY posts, but do so when I find ones I like. ‘Deal’ in that I get to pick & choose posts as I please & am not required to blindly share posts willy-nilly. This is a win-win, people. Seriously — will someone explain to me what the big problem is about?
I feel as though I should apologize for saying, ‘Gee, I like that post you wrote, Chief!’ … as though I committed some kind of unspoken social error by not bringing party treats for EVERY kid in the class.”
And now for Passive-Aggressive Apologist’s Passive Aggressive Apology:
“Actually, Andi-Roo, I apologize to you. We’ve never met, and I don’t see anything wrong with what you are already doing. I don’t think there is all that “big a deal” going on as you’re making out. No one screams here. We’ve just been burned by a few people who joined the tribe and then weren’t sharing. Since that isn’t the case with you, I have no problem you Following the tribe at all. Heck, if you let us know your blog, I’d be curious since what you write/share on your blog sounds interesting. And Roo was one of my cats’ names. Anyway. No reason for alarm on your end either. There’s no ill will meant on mine, and I hope not from the rest of this good group. Happy to meet you.”
Why your apology sucked ass:
1. “I don’t think there is all that “big a deal” going on as you’re making out.”
2. “No reason for alarm on your end either.”
a) Well, Passive-Aggressive Apologist, perhaps finding out that someone named Poopsie has it in for you and is talking shit behind your back is not a big deal to you, but it is to me. And I do find it to be cause for alarm. So fuck you.
b) Also? Let’s talk about the fact that Chief would delete my complimentary comment from her blog if Poopsie decides she has a serious problem with me. That’s fucked up, bro.
c) I’m being judged as a tribemate when I’m not a motherfucking tribemate. So you guys all goofed. I’m still waiting for an apology for THAT.
d) Just because YOU belong to a tribe in which you want to share every single one of your tribemates’ posts doesn’t mean we are all so lucky. I belong to several tribes and in each tribe there is at least ONE member whose shit doesn’t get shared by me. Because I care about content more than I care about being a pussy. Because good content, and weeding out the shit, is how I “cultivate” a decent tribe.
“Never ruin an apology
with an excuse.”
~ Kimberly Johnson
I get what this guy was trying to say. But I don’t like that I was made out to be overly touchy and making waves. His apology would have been much better had he just left it at “I apologize to you”. But in this world of “No Apology”, he really had no choice but to try and make it seem like he hadn’t done anything wrong, and that somehow I was wrong in all that mess.
In another world, we call that Victim Shaming. And it’s bullshit. And I won’t have it. So take your half-assed, passive-aggressive apology and shove it up your ass, dude. For realz.