So, this is my life.

And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

i'm sorry you feel that way.

why is it so difficult to say "i'm sorry"?

apologetic variations, such as "i apologize," and "i hope you'll forgive me" are so much more comfortable, possibly because they're diffused apologies, less committed apologies, apathetic apologies. apathepologies, if you will.

of course, no apologies are enjoyable messages to deliver, but something about those two words, "i'm" and "sorry," together are especially difficult - if not impossible - for some people to comfortably verbalize. including me.

i was once the master of the diffused apology, to the point that my oldest and dearest friend (who was often the victim of my insincere apologies) would call me Will Truman. this was her way of calling me out on my refusal to apologize, because way back then - when the sitcom was still at the top of its game - Will could never apologize to Grace.

"I'm sorry you feel that way, Gracie," he'd say.
or "I'm sorry you're so sensitive about this."

i can't say for certain that i learned it from Will, but when Danielle and i fought, i came up with some really special Will apologies: "well, i'm sorry your feelings were hurt by that, but i obviously didn't intend to upset you," and "i'm really sorry you took it that way."

in case you have never delivered one of these apathepologies, or in case you don't know Danielle, let me just say: this enrages her. and i'm sure she's not the only person whose eyes widen and whose nostrils flare the second they hear a phrase such as, "I'm sorry you're angry." she used to scream at me, "that's NOT an apology! you're not sorry for what you did, you're sorry for my reaction!"

over the years i've learned that this problem stems from a lack of humility. saying "i'm sorry" is a verbal bow in front of another, and let's just say i would not fare well in China. it's difficult enough to concede a point to a professor, or to my boss -- don't eeeven get me started on doing so to a mere friend, a mere MORTAL.

yet every day should see some progress, and whether or not i've become a more humble person, i have, over time, learned to say those two, little words... if only sparingly.

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