As much as I love John Wayne, and She Wore A Yellow Ribbon(1949) might be my all time favorite of his movies, I’ve got to disagree when Captain Nathan Brittles says, ‘Never apologize. It’s a sign of weakness.’
Instead, I turn to a more unlikely source of manly quotes, Mary-Louise Parker, who said, in possibly my favorite magazine segment of all time, Esquire’s What I’ve Learned (Even if you don’t agree with every word somebody says, it certainly is food for thought…more on that later when we hear what Laird Hamilton had to say in a forthcoming post on Limits), ‘”I’m sorry, but” — no. A qualified apology is not an apology. I can forgive most anything. But I won’t forgive anything if it’s defended. That’s just weakness.’
And she’s right.
For me, an apology is something sacred- if you are trying to apologize, do it sincerely or no one needs to hear it. If you’d rather tell them to get fucked, either tell them to get fucked, or keep your false remorse in your pocket. When it’s your responsibility and you drop the ball, you can blame the weather and the trains and no sleep and a long day and an STD scare, but it was your responsibility.
The bar I used to work at had an unspoken policy of tipping out whoever ran our betting pools 10% of your winnings. I guess that seems odd and I don’t hear of it too often, I think it’s a bit of an old school thing that young pups like myself aren’t in the habit of practicing. The reason behind it was explained to me as follows- You run the bet, that means you hold the money, and no one’s going to accept that you lost it when it’s time to pay up. Once they hand it to you, it’s your responsibility, so you can walk out the door 10 seconds later, and get mugged, and we’ll feel bad for you and get you a beer, but when it comes time to collect the winnings, everyone is coming to you for their money…and it’s gonna be there one way or another.
I guess that’s a bit off topic in that in that scenario all your apologies are worthless, but in responsibility terms, it’s pretty spot on. And since #96 is Take Responsibility, it kind of fits.
Anyway, as usual, my roundabout way back to my point- When apologizing, even if all that bullshit did get in the way, no one cares. Say you’re sorry, and mean it, and leave it at that. You don’t qualify your fucking handshake, you don’t qualify your name, don’t qualify your apologies. People have only so many chances to get an true impression of you- initially, and how you deal with problems or when things go wrong. Don’t be flash in the pan- don’t just be there when things are easy, be there when it’s damn hard and someone will notice you’re not just looks.
And, a quick note- when someone is apologizing to you, let them god damn do it. It is hard as shit to apologize, and truly mean it, so don’t cut them off and tell them it’s unnecessary, obviously, they do think it’s necessary or it wouldn’t have come up at all.
The Step- Apologize. Mean it.
Have I Done It Yet- Far too often.