So let’s take a brief break from productivity this week to talk about something else — the art of the apology.
I want to share a few lessons I’ve learned so far, reinforcing these points with some examples of apologies from public figures:
It’s important to be authentic.
If you’re even a fraction as obsessed with The Bachelor as I am, you’ve probably heard about Hannah Brown’s drunken Instagram Live incident.
In a nutshell, she was singing a song with the N-word and then brushed it off when someone called her out for it (she tried to blame it on her brother after initially denying it completely).
I’m not going to explain why that’s not OK — it just isn’t.
We’ve kind of already been through this whole situation with Gina Rodriguez and… let’s just say that it didn’t end well.
Hannah Brown posted an apology
the next day but it fell flat with many followers and fellow members of Bachelor Nation.
When people say something negative about an apology sounding so politically correct that it must’ve been crafted by a publicist (which is what people have been saying about Hannah Brown’s written apology) — they’re talking about a lack of authenticity.
Let a trusted third-party take the second pass at editing your apology but the first draft should come from the heart.
It’s not the other person’s job to accept your apology or help you be better.
Another recent celebrity scandal is the feud between Chrissy Teigen and Alison Roman.
TL:DR; Alison Roman is a well-known NYT columnist and chef. In a recent interview, she decided to smear Chrissy Teigen and Marie Kondo for no apparent reason. Alison Roman, a white woman, didn’t take digs at anyone else in this interview, which is why singling out these two women of color was so notable.
This was one part that really stood out to me:
It is no one’s obligation to accept my apology or to help me improve. That said, I want to be a better listener (about these and many other issues). If anyone would like to share their knowledge, guidance, or opinions with me about how I can more responsibly navigate these areas: I owe you my attention.
It doesn’t excuse what she originally said but it shows a willingness to be better, which I can respect.
Speak your peace but don’t expect someone else to absolve you of your sins. Then, move forward with your eyes open to the things you do that don’t sit well with other people.
Timing is everything when it comes to a good apology.
If you’re in a position to give an apology, read the room.
Is the recipient in a place where they’ll be able to process what you’re saying? Or are they caught up in something else that’s stressing them out?
From the other perspective, if someone is trying to apologize for something major, and you’re just not in the headspace to hear it in the moment — just tell them.
Try something along the lines of:
I appreciate what you’re trying to do but I’m just so overwhelmed today and I don’t think I’ll be able to give you a good response today — let’s revisit this tomorrow.
On a related note, you can accept an apology without accepting someone’s behavior or inviting them back in your life after whatever event caused a fallout.
In general, saying sorry is a really hard thing to do, even when you know for sure that you’re the one in the wrong.
It’s hard to be vulnerable — but it’s necessary for true healing.
Is there someone waiting for an apology from you?
Maybe now is the perfect time to clear your conscious and move forward.
Until next time,
Maddy Osman, The Blogsmith