An apology is an expression of remorse. It's saying I messed up. Will you forgive me? An apology should send the message that you wish you hadn't done what you did or said what you said.
Typically an apology is given to the person you wronged. A genuine apology accepts responsibility for a mistake, a mishap or a misunderstanding. I apologize. I thought we were supposed to meet at 6.
One exception is the passive sorry said when you regret something that happened to someone, even though the occurrence wasn't any fault of your own. Example: I'm so sorry for your loss.
I'm sure I've made disingenuous apologies using sarcasm. I've probably said sorry just to get a tiff over with, even though I still thought I was right (I'm kind of stubborn). And I've probably apologized and then let needless words fall out of my mouth that reversed my apology, I'm sorry for yelling, but when you won't listen to me any other way I sometimes have to....(Sorry, not sorry.)
Any guesses on what has me thinking about apologies today?
Yep. Kathy Griffin. You know, the redhead comedian who held up a severed head that resembled President Trump covered in blood for a photo shoot while she wore a blue blouse with a neat bow tied at her neckline. More here.
Griffin apologized for the images following online backlash, despite initially defending them. "I sincerely apologize," she said in a video on Twitter. "I went way too far. The image is too disturbing. I understand how it offends people, it wasn't funny, I get it."
She also asked for forgiveness and said she would request for the images to be taken down. -The HollywoodReporter
If she'd stopped there, I would've still been disappointed in her stunt. I would've thought that she should be fired because consequences do come with our choices. I wouldn't, however want the vilification of her to continue on and and on. She messed up. People spoke up. Squatty Potty and CNN, two entities that have employed her fired her. Let's move on.
But then she had to go and have a press conference where she not only undid her apology, but made it clear that there was nothing genuine about it in the first place except for maybe a passive apology to viewers (other than the Trumps) who were offended. She promised to continue to be vile and hateful toward the Trump family without any regard for his eleven year old son.
I get that she has the freedom of speech to do that. That's fine, but when you extend an apology filled with eye-rolls and you're not even apologizing to the people you wronged, your words become useful for little else besides entertainment.
Let me make a quick statement. What she did was gruesome. I also believe those who made an effigy of Obama being hung by a noose are vile. Those who made fun of Chelsea Clinton's appearance were mean spirited. I could go on...PS Trump has things he should apologize for too.
What Kathy Griffin did has nothing to do with politics, but has everything to do with human decency.
We all behave indecently. But if we're people of any substance, we've got to learn how to apologize and then zip it.
Apologies, because we're so prideful and self righteous, should be short and sweet. I guess I'm not really talking to Kathy Griffin here. She's not sorry. I guess I'm talking to those of us who goof, sometimes royally, and then try to fix our goof, goofily.
A few things to remember when apologizing:
- Don't serve your apologies half-baked. Take the time to focus on what you should (and shouldn't) say.
- Never say I apologize, but... You cancel out your apology because you're justifying your error.
- Don't make yourself into the victim. Often when you're making an apology, you've been wronged too. Apology time isn't the time to bring that up. Your remorse is supposed to be about what you did wrong, not misdeeds done toward you.
- Don't bring up the other person's mistakes.
- Don't threaten to make the same mistake again (for crying out loud). I mess up. I'll probably do it again. I'm human. (That's like saying my mistake wasn't that big of a deal and you can expect it to happen again).
Apologies are hard.
Pray before you apologize.
And for real, let's pray for Kathy Griffin, Donald Trump and all those other shiny people (to use the term Kathy used in her press conference). We're watching and we want to see better.
Check out my new book, The Village Girl Handbook. It's now available here