I'm not talking about your run-of-the-mill insincere apology
. I'm talking about a specific type - the "I'm sorry IF" and "I'm sorry YOU" apology:
I'm sorry IF YOU were offended.
I'm sorry IF I said anything wrong.
I'm sorry IF YOU had a problem with what I said.
I'm sorry YOU are angry.
I'm sorry YOU don't think I'm really sorry.
I'm sorry IF I was mean.
Those are all disrespectful. The "I'm-sorry-if"s are disrespectful because there should be no "if" - you already know it's true
! If an apology
is required, feelings
were obviously hurt. The "I'm-sorry-you"s are disrespectful because you have not righted the wrong
- you have just told the other person that you believe they have no right to be upset
, and then you are so arrogant
as to apologize to them for their own emotions!
I'm sorry that I hurt your feelings
/killed your pet
/raped your family
... it was not my intention to hurt anybody's feelings/kill any pets/rape any families.
That way, you don't have to apologize for saying or doing something you're truly not sorry you said or did, but you are acknowledging that the other person's feelings have been injured by your words or actions and expressing regret for the damage, if not the cause of the damage.