Perhaps you’ve been on the receiving end of sexual harassment, infidelity, or abuse and are wondering, gee, is the perpetrator really sorry? Or perhaps you’re a creepy transgressive individual and you need a primer on lousy apologies. How do you craft the perfect sorry-not-sorry? Here’s six pointers.
1.) The apology is about how the victim reacted. I’m sorry you feel that way. I’m sorry I was misinterpreted. I’m sorry you lack the sophistication to defy the oppressive tyranny of monogamy.
2.) The apology is open to interpretation. I’m sorry IF you were hurt. Hey, taking offense could go either way. Many reasonable people would not be offended by this. I’m sorry you were, but you’re just that kind of oversensitive snowflake.
3.) The apology is really a thinly veiled insult. I’m sorry your role in this great love story was a supporting role. I suppose it’s not your fault that you couldn’t meet my emotional and physical needs the way Doreen can. Some people are born with hair-lips, you were just born controlling. But thank you, and thank all the Little People, for making this love affair with Doreen possible.
4.) The apology includes a false equivalency or six. I‘m sorry I couldn’t be the person you expected me to be. But we all make mistakes. Like that time you over-salted the pot roast.
5.) The apology is vague. I’m sorry for things. All the things.
6.) The actions don’t align with the apology. I will spend the rest of my life making this up to you! (Is texting Schmoopie 5 minutes later… perhaps simultaneously.) My job now is to begin soul-searching why I did this, as I wander the pony stables of my $10,000 a day sex addict ranch retreat and marvel at my conduct. (Me, me, me, me…. spa day! me.) I’ll be fair to you. (Fights the consequences, drags it out in court.)
Sorry not sorry? Who’s got time for that? Personally, I like to see regrets expressed in generous settlements and criminal consequences. Sorry is as sorry does.
Tracy Schorn is the blogger at Chump Lady and the author of “Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life — The Chump Lady’s Survival Guide.”