“Two people bump into each other on a sidewalk. And it’s nobody’s fault, just a complete accident. One person instinctively says, “I’m sorry.” And the other says, “watch it!” Okay? You’re the apologiser. And for no good reason – because you’re a woman who occupies space on this planet?”
– Eli Gold, The Good Wife
Apologising puts you in a state of weakness.
That’s why plenty of folks cast themselves as the victim – ironically, the only way they feel powerful is when someone apologises to them. If you’ve ever worked in retail or in any other customer service role, you know what I mean.
The phrase “can you forgive me” puts you at the mercy of the other person. It’s up to them whether they forgive you or not.
They might, out of the grace of their heart.
Or they might not – and then what do you do?
Saying “I’m sorry” carries the same energy as that, even though it’s not a question. It puts you as the one who’s wrong, unworthy and needing redemption from the other person.
It’s never a strong move.
It’s like a mating call for insecure people… but they don’t tend to mate all that often.
So… what’s the alternative, then?
Never own up to your mistakes? Ignore anyone who demands you take responsibility?
I don’t recommend that – that’s another flavour of weakness, masquerading as strength.
So what do you do instead, then?
I lay it all out on pages 12-14 of Phronesis Accelerator’s first issue – including how Kickstarter could have gotten roasted for a member’s bad behaviour but, instead, they took responsibility the smart way.
And people liked their reaction better than yet-another generic corporate apology.
Pick it up by subscribing before the deadline here: