People often look for apologies to be a universal solvent to both large and small problems. Personally, I believe that an apology only satisfies the amends portion of the person doing the apologizing.
Say you experience a deep cut, so severe that you know for certain you’ll need stitches. You rush to the ER and the nurse in triages gives you a bandaid and sends you home. Odds are, by the time you step out the sliding doors of the medical treatment center. You’ve left a blood trail reminiscent of a 90s teen horror film. Did the band-aid work for you then?
I believe that’s the premise of an apology. While people can be truly remorseful for their actions, the only thing that’s going to resemble stitches is the improvement of their future behavior.
As a purveyor of words and someone that understands the power, the phrase “I’m sorry” misses the mark of effectiveness. It’s damn near insulting given the circumstances.
I’m sure we can all come up with examples in which this is true. Especially if the person you’re speaking to is either arrogant, clever in wordplay, or even remorseful.
Here are my personal faves:
“I’m sorry you were offended by what I said.”
"I apologize if I offended you."
"My bad G". Well wait, sometimes I believe this one.
My point isn’t really to rehash times in your past, to have you angrily texting your offender, it’s really for all of us. We’ve all apologized for ridiculous things. “I’m sorry for laughing too hard.” “ I’m sorry I cheated.” “I apologize for cussing you out.”
No no… most likely these things can be perpetuated and repeated.
Pay less attention to the apology and more to the actions. In the process of improving oneself in the new year. Add accountability and self-awareness to your list. And maybe just do better.