8 October 2012

Sorry should be an act of free will

Genetically I am programmed to never utter the word 'sorry'. I come from a long line of people who preferred to take their chances with deportation to the colonies rather than say it out loud.  Our family approach was of the defiant celtic model because forming the word 'sorry' in their mouths would have caused my forebears to choke and die.

Consequently, in many circles it is generally acknowledged that actions speak louder than words, so it's better to demonstrate you are sorry by ignoring the problem and just being really lovely. And as a system it works because it's molecular.

However, it is a fact that a genuine 'sorry' starts a conversation.  It doesn't end it.  It's not weak.  It takes guts to say it. It acknowledges that you have the strength of character to admit that you got it wrong. 

Which is why I don't understand why people can't say sorry without adding 'but'. If there is a'but', there should never have been a 'sorry'.

You don't need to apologise for things that aren't your fault.  You can apologise for the tone you used if the words are something you're quite pleased you said.  You can apologise for being an arse without pointing out the other person was one as well. 

And with that - sometimes you have to accept that people don't want to apologise.  Or that no matter how much they apologise you're never going to believe them.  So why badger them for it?  It's going to lack meaning - like when you were young and you were sent to your room until you were sorry.  Well of course you were going to say it eventually because there is only so much fun to be had locked in your room (this was in the days before everybody had full computer and home entertainment systems in their rooms ok!?)

It's the same when you're an adult.  If apologising is the only way to get people to leave you alone, you'll say it. But the word 'sorry' should be offered as an act of free will.  Which is why when I read the news at the moment - from Alan Jones, to Mitt Romney, to Nicki Minaj, to Assange - I say leave it.  If they mean it, they'll say it, if they don't, they won't.