We’ve all heard this phrase before. We’re probably all annoyed by it already. The “Sorry-I’m-Not-Sorry” phenomenon has taken over the internet, serving as one of high-school girls’ favorite #hashtags and Instagram photo captions. Another shameless selfie? Go ahead, post it on Facebook. Got drunk last night and now you’re hungover at work? Bet you don’t even feel bad about it. Talking crap about someone and you just DON’T CARE if they know? Must be because…
As long as you’re sorry that you’re not sorry, we’re okay with it.
While the “Sorry-Not-Sorry” grows to be more widely accepted than actual apologies themselves, we as young adults may find ourselves facing the very real version of this seemingly minor issue. The non-apology.
What is a non-apology, you may be wondering? Chances are you’ve encountered it sometime recently. Or maybe you’re one of the douchebags who is a non-apologizer. But regardless of which part you play, it seems to me to be an unavoidable phenomenon that we as maturing individuals will have to acknowledge, accept, and overcome. The non-apology occurs when rather than apologizing for doing something hurtful or sketchy, there is a successful dodge, excuse, or blatant disregard of the issue at hand. Essentially, this is them saying to you:
There are a few types of non-apologies. The following three are the most-common, in order of how crazy they’ll drive you.
3. The Bait-and-Switch
Like the retail strategy, the bait-and-switch begins with a conversation where you believe you are going to get an apology, but at the last minute, the blame suddenly switches to you. You’ve gotten into a rough situation with a friend and you’ve finally decided to have a conversation in hopes of attaining the prize – an apology. And so it begins, “You’re right, maybe I shouldn’t have said that….BUT -” And that’s where it all changes. With the introduction of the word “but,” the entire game has changed. Your conversation now will end with either two apologies, zero apologies, or one apology – yours. This technique is typically executed by people who are good with persuasion, debating and/or brainwashing. You won’t even realize it’s happened until the conversation is over and you’ll stand there, wishing for the words that just slipped through your fingers. A simple sorry.
2. The Teeth-Grinder
This non-apology may or may not actually include the words “I’m Sorry.” Usually said through gritted teeth, this apology is more of an excuse than heartfelt remorse. The Teeth-Grinder is so clearly not an apology that anyone in the vicinity will probably feel the tension. The non-apologizer will be all, “I guess I get where you’re coming from. But, whatever, right? We’re good?” And you’ll nod, but inside, you’ll be thinking:
1. The Shrug-It-Off
The worst of the three most common non-apologies, the Shrug-It-Off is so shrug-tastic that the issue is usually never even discussed. In fact, it’s usually straight avoided. These are the moments you’ll thank God that the weird, scientific phenomena of spontaneous combustion is real (is it real?) and wish it upon those around you. Maybe the other individual doesn’t understand that you’re mad. Or maybe they do, and they just don’t care. Maybe they’re just… sorry-they’re-not-sorry. And they’ll sit across the table from you, as you wallow in anger and apprehension until…
When it comes down to it, there will always be times in your life that you feel you deserve an apology and you never get one. The important lesson to take away is that you will be a happier person if you learn to accept the apologies you never receive. Don’t dwell on them. Because keep in mind, perhaps there was a time when you should’ve said something and neglected to.
When in doubt, forgive.
When you can, forget.
And when you just can’t bring yourself to do either, flip tables.