I have never been inclined to keep my opinions to myself, hence I am opinionated. I am always prepared to debate those opinions, so I am argumentative. I don’t suffer fools gladly, thus I am inconsiderate. Because I don’t hesitate to say ‘no’ I am probably also disagreeable. On top of it all, I am an introvert, so apparently I’m antisocial!
Guess that puts me in the ‘discomforting’ zone. A solid 3 maybe.
Which means that at any moment, someone could sidle into my boss’s office and begin whimpering piteously about something I said or the tone in which I said it, and how it made them feel.
Equally likely, the hoarse whimperer might make the same allegation against something I wrote. This blog. Or a careless email written in LCDE (lowest common denominator English) that affects a conversational tone instead of the rigid officialese that plagues my organisation.
The inquisition would commence. My past repressentations would form the basis of an assessment, like prima facie at law, as to whether there’s a case to answer. The only difference is that I would not have broken any law, regulation, code of conduct, or even a reasonable person’s sense of propriety.
I just hurt someone’s feelings.
Before social media, workplace and personal grievances like this used to be resolved mano a mano if not tête-à-tête. But nobody conflates body idioms anymore, so hurt feelings now result in disproportionate disciplinary action by employers terrified of the growing vandal horde tweeting at the gate, demanding an apology.
I could have TL;DR all the above, but I’m inconsiderate, remember? This is where I finally get on-point: Why apologise when you have done nothing wrong, and feel no regret or remorse? Tactics, for starters. Apologising might preserve a relationship or let you keep your job, and that shit is important.
So how do you make an insincere apology sound convincing?
For example, the template for a non-apology might read:
“I heard that you were butthurt over that thing I said. I’m sorry you feel that way. I stand by my comments, but should have used less words and more emojis. I forgot how sensitive you are. While I don’t accept responsibility for what happened, there are others who felt I should reach out. My intent was not to harm you in any way, and it’s regrettable that you misconstrued my comments.”
I can see me using that one a lot. And for when I get sprung dancing around on TikTok in my Bantu knots and Lion King pyjamas:
“I feel horrible to have learned of my recent cultural appropriation. I truly had no idea that I should not have worn Bantu knots, I just really admire Björk. I’m filled with shame for anyone I hypothetically hurt. I see now why space buns on a 53yo white man is disrespectful and even racist toward yo people. I should have known better, but I may be descended from white slavers. I am so lucky to have you to hold me to account.”
100% us guys are going to need the following template sooner or later:
“Sorry for “mansplaining” when we were discussing König’s Theorem earlier. I didn’t realize what a self-centered, condescending jerk I was being. I’m so glad you pointed this out, and I’m fully aware of your very relevant B+ in highschool math back in 1985. You certainly didn’t need me bloviating with “well, actually” and all that. Notwithstanding my Fields Medal, I resolve to not offer unsolicited mathematical explanations in future.“
Dozens more examples on ApologyLetters including a template for the reply I expect I’m most likely to receive:
While I cannot accept your insincere apology, I sincerely accept your admission of guilt. Perhaps you realize how wrong your actions were, perhaps not. Perhaps you know how much you offended me, perhaps not. None of that matters to me right now. You hurt my feelings, and that cannot be erased by a simple apology. Aggravated and exemplary damages may allow me to move on and forgive you, but that day is a long way off. You will be hearing from my lawyer.“
Unfortunately, I care more about facts than feelings, and I am unapologetically unapolgetic. But you guys should check out the link. Way things are going, we’ll all need an insincere apology one day.