What the hell is wrong with people? Give me a break!
Doesn’t anyone understand how apologies are supposed to work?
I know our culture is full of confusing cues about apologizing. There’s that old saying that love means never having to say you’re sorry. This led to a lot of confusion in my past relationships. “If I say I love you, then apologize, which one didn’t I mean?”
In fact, apologies are simple. An apology, from the Greek apo + logia, which roughly translates to “I am fairly certain that wasn’t my fault, but I want to rehabilitate my public image,” is something that Person A says to Person B when Person A has wronged Person B in some way, or Person B has complained about Person A to someone else, for instance, the news media.
The following are a few scenarios in which apologies are called for.
– You inadvertently award the Nobel Peace prize to the wrong political dissident crusader for human rights, because of a Google Translator error.
– While out hunting with a friend, you shoot him with buckshot. You are vice president of the United States.
– You attempt (unsuccessfully) to assassinate someone, then find yourself sitting next to him at a dinner party.
For all other scenarios, I’ve prepared a handy chart. Next time, consult this before you demand or offer an apology!