“Insincerity is, in fact, tantamount to lying.”
I read that phrase a really long time ago (most likely in a romance novel, of all things- HA) and it’s always struck me as the absolute truth – particularly when it comes to apologies.
I propose that whenever one hears the word “IF” in conjunction with an apology, one ought to substitute “as long as”.
“I’m sorry IF you were offended by what I said” becomes “I’m sorry as long as you were offended – otherwise, I’m not.”
Slick, ain’t it?
By employing the conditional, “IF”, the apologizer neutralizes the apology and dismisses his/her own culpability for the egregious speech/actions. It actually makes the apology conditional upon the response of the injured party.
When people apologize with an “IF” they’re not sorry and not regretful and that “IF” just indicated disdain for you. It’s not an apology – it’s pandering – an attempt to weasel out of being caught. It’s a verbal backhand to the face. Don’t accept it.
So how does one tell if an apology is sincere? Well how about this… “I’m very sorry FOR having hurt you with my unkind words. Please accept my apology.” Now, that’s an actual apology. I take responsibility for my actions (you can tell because I used the word “FOR”); I don’t try to mitigate the situation. I don’t try to lay any sort of responsibility on “you”.
Today’s lesson in social etiquette is now over.
Please resume your regularly scheduled fun for the day.