Tuesday, February 06, 2007

it's an easy question really..

and then again, not so much.

think about this in the sense of a lot of time has gone by. i don't mean you get into an argument with someone and you apologize right away. i mean, time has passed (years even)- and then an apology comes.

do you think that it is said because it is truly meant? because they actually see that what they did or said (or whatever) was wrong and they want to genuinely let you know? maybe their perspective has changed and they can honestly see what a jackass they were....

or do you think it's said so they can make themselves feel better? maybe they carry around so much guilt for their actions, that the only way to feel better is to apologize. but it's not that they have really even changed their way of thinking- they just want to stop feeling bad about themselves.

i know this is random, but i'm thinking ahead here. and i'm wondering how long it will take before a certain someone apologizes to me for being such a bitch. but that got me thinking about just where the "sorry" will truly be coming from. and who it would truly be for. would it really be for me, or would it be for her? and then when are apologies not selfish? when are they truly selfless?

am i making any sense at all? probably not.

20 comments:

norcalgirl28 said...

At my 20th high school reunion, now I'm dating myself, my best friend in elementary school came up and apologized for what she, and some other girls, did to me the summer after eighth grade. I know she was truly sorry and I appreciated that apology more than words can say. It was years ago, she didn't have to do it, but what they did hurt me deeply. On the other hand, the woman who was my maid of honor pulled some pretty rotten shit a few years after we got married. She still sends Christmas cards and e-mails, sometimes, but she has never apologized. I don't think she ever will and I WANT/NEED an apology from her before we are ever going to be any kind of friends again. I think if an apology comes, it is genuine, especially if it has been years. I think that means she will have thought about it and is truly sorry.

Becky said...

no you are. and i was about to post something similar to this! who knows though really WHY someone says sorry later or if they mean it or not.

Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" said...

Good question.
I say I'm sorry for selfish reasons...sometimes I feel like shit for something and it makes me feel better but sometimes I say I'm sorry because I know it will make the other person happy...That makes me happy too...isn't that selfish?

Ugh..now I hafta think about this.

Eileen said...

I think you will know by the apology whether it is coming from a sincere place or not, if they are actually taking responsibility for their part of it (usually there's a part that you can take responsibility for as well) or not.

And whatever form it takes, you can't waste precious time wishing you could read the person's mind. You have decide to take action or non-action for yourself only.

RWA said...

I think the longer it is before the apology, the more sincere.

If they are truly bothered by the "guilt" of their actions, it's unlikely they can put up with it for much time.

Just my humble opinion.

russ said...

dear jennster: sorry i am such a bitch to you. love, russ

nikki said...

i don't know, this day in age the word "sorry" is used so carelessly that sometimes i think it doesn't quite carry genuine feelings behind it. i put more faith in actions than words.

Loren said...

Wow, that's a good question. In my own view, I guess it all depends on who this person is to you... In my perspective, sometimes when so much time goes by without an apology, the relationship with that person is not there anymore, and maybe you are better off? I don't know, I think it just depends on how you feel about the person.

DDM said...

I think the sincerity of the apology is totally specific to the person, the tone of the apology and how much time has passed. I tend to think that if years have passed and the apology sounds heartfelt, it's a 'good' one. If the person felt crappy about it that long....GOOD! I hope it SUCKED for the aplogizer to think about what a JERK they were! LOL!!

Piece of Work said...

You know, we're all human, and we all make mistakes. Some mistakes are easier to recognize and apologize for. Others are not. I tend to think that if a person is willing to put themselves out there and apologize, then the least I can do is accept the apology and assume that it is coming from a good place. People apologize for lots of reasons: they want to make you happy, they want the argument to go away, they feel bad, etc. I don't think any of those reasons, selfish or not, take away from the apology itself.

Kim said...

In my house "sorry" is considered a "bad" word. I can't stand that word and how it is so carelessly used all the time. I always say, show me that you are sorry, don't say it. It's too easy to say it and not mean it.

Stephanie A. said...

Personally, I think the guilt is necessary for an apology to mean anything. If they truly did something wrong, then the guilt should weigh on their conscience. If the person doesn't have a conscience then they are not apologizing because they feel bad, but because they have another motive. And if they have guilt, they know what they did is wrong. Whether or not they have changed is somewhat irrelevant to me. I guess I look at it as this specific instance and an apology does not mean it will make everything better and we'll be BFF again.

I'll share a personal story.

I had this friend one time and we were very close. We spent almost every single day together for like 3 years. Then she just started annoying me in little ways, that admittedly, I never mentioned to her. Then, one day, I decided that I'd had enough and I totally blew her off. By the time I blew her off, she was in a period of her life when her mom had cancer. Once I found out her mom had passed away (two years after she had died), I felt horrible for not being there for her. After all, she annoyed me on a minor/moderate scale.

After a few years of thinking of her everytime someone mentioned cancer I sent an email to her apologizing for ditching her at such a horrible time of her life.

We grew a little closer after that, but she really did still annoy me, so we've drifted a bit and only contact on holidays/birthdays. I'm fine with this.

Anyway, my point in telling you this is that the guilt is what got me. Generally I consider myself to be a good person, but this one time I let my own comfort get in the way and I really hurt someone who was going through a tremendously tough time in her life. I apologized because of the guilt and the fact that it really was wrong of me. I did not apologize because I really wanted to be her friend or make our relationship better.

This is a great post, 'ster and I hope that you get what you need either from this person or from the experience. Huge hugs, Lady!

alison said...

Many people already said this and I have to agree: if someone takes the time to apologize, which is not easy for a lot of people to do, assume they are being sincere. It's such a waste of time to carry on with silly little games and grudges, so accept the apology and move on.

Kristen said...

I don't wait for apologies for very long. Maybe it's heartless and bitchy. Maybe it's smart? I don't know. either way, I just don't want an apology from someone who takes more than a week to realize they owe me one, ya know?

Jenn said...

I'm not sure the time matters. I think it's all about HOW they apologize.
Like
I'm sorry you feel that way. or
Well I'm sorry that your so sensative! or
I'm sorry OK!! Sheesh!!

Yea...those are NOT apologies.

dana said...

It makes perfect sense....I can understand completely where you are coming from.

I had four friends who stopped talking to me because they thought I was writing about one of them on my blog. I never did that and after they realized it, not one of them apologized. I'm so stubborn about it, too. I'll be damned if I make the first attempt to talk to any of them, especially when I was the one wrongfully accused.

It's funny because they see me around and won't acknowledge me. And we stood up in each other's weddings. I have to laugh. I wonder if they act that way because they are ashamed or just idiots.

Ugh. I know I should be the bigger person, but I'm still hurt and it's been almost 7 months already. I don't know if it's worth holding a grudge anymore, but yet I don't feel obligated to call them up either.

-hugs- Jennster, you are a doll. Whoever was the bitch to you, she doesn't know what she's lost -- your friendship.

Jodi said...

I think that actions speak sooooo much louder than words. If someone apologizes and then keeps up with the same bullshit behavior that ticked you off in the first place, then no they are NOT sorry. If, on the other hand, they apologize and then show you they are sorry, then yeah, I think it's sincere.

AND, sorry I am comment vomiting all over your blog, I haven't been here in a while, I wonder why?!?!, and am trying to catch up. Oh yeah, and I love the floating hearts when you hover over a link. That is SOOOOoooOOO cool.

Kerry said...

I agree with rwa - I think if someone remembers something from the past and still feels they owe an apology it is probably more sincere than many of the apologies spoken just after the incident. The saying, "say it like you mean it" often comes to my mind so often when I am given or hear an apology - except if my sweet baby girl apologizes. She is truly a tender person and her sorry is always heartfelt -- she has been this way even before she could really talk. love her!!!

Angelika said...

"Sorry" is said to the person who was offended to make them feel better.

"Apologies" are made because the offender realizes what they've done and/or feels bad so they want to apologize.

I'll say "Sorry" in a minute if it gets you to leave me the fuck alone. I only apologize when I'm sincere.

But then, I'm a bitch. And I'm sorry if you were offended...

Anonymous said...

I recently found one of my exes on Myspace (i know i know). I sent him a message just saying "hey, how are you, I'm good". He wrote back saying he was sorry for the way he treated me after we broke up - at least 10 yrs ago. I thought that was very nice and I really know that he meant it. I didn't contact him expecting it (i actually really forgot all about the way he acted), so to hear it now, years later was very nice!!