Best-Of Advice

On overusing apologies

How many chances do you give someone you’re dating who occasionally says awful things? My benchmark for ‘awful’ is pretty low in most people’s eyes, I’m a self-confessed strident intersectional feminist.  I think I’m letting myself down by not kicking him to the curb straight away, even if I do really like him. He’s never made the same shitty comment twice and always apologises and seems to learn… So is this a dumb move, a time for patience or a case of me being a controlling bitch trying to force someone to change? Sorry for rambling.

The quality of your life will improve a thousand fold if you stop using apologies as emotional currency.

You demand them from others as a means of control. You offer them unsolicited as a sign of deference. Hell, you even try and sneak them into your language by saying things like “self-confessed” instead of “self-proclaimed.”

Apologies are built into the source code of your interpersonal communication skills, and even though you’re a perfect stranger, I can tell it’s one of the most annoying things about you.

This is one of those traits you learned from your mother. Trust me, you will do well to unlearn it. Apologies are not for everyday use. They are meant to be rare. They are worthless if demanded, and they are useless as a substitute for respect.

As for your boyfriend, chill the fuck out. I’ve yet to meet a dude who doesn’t occasionally say awful things. If you can call a guy out on his shit and he never makes the same mistake twice, then that’s really the best you can ever expect.


One thought on “On overusing apologies

  1. Chris says:

    On: “I’ve yet to meet a dude who doesn’t occasionally say awful things.”

    Absolutely. I say messed up stuff all the time. My kids once asked my wife what she’s going to do to stop me. “Nothing,” she said. “Sometimes he’s really funny and sometimes he’s not.”

    Advising her to chill out is step zero in this process. The deeper stuff – emotional currency, etc. – is why I’m so glad your site is up.

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