Unnecessary Apologies – One Way To See Who Your Friends Really Are
First and foremost, people have a tendency to apologize for things that are out of their control. It’s okay to sympathize and empathize with people, and do so, sincerely. What you should not do is have a blanket apology for things that aren’t your fault. It can be construed as a pejorative in many ways. For one, it can be seen as a sign of weakness. Second, it can cause unneeded drama, as you may be emotionally taking on things you don’t need to – who knows what kind of mess that could create. Lastly, it can really just dampen the mood when you could actually be heightening the mood.
Often times we apologize for things that we shouldn’t need to apologize for. A common example might be if you take longer than usual to a respond to a friend’s email. The truth is, you probably meant to reply, but didn’t prioritize it, continued your daily routines; and then, before you knew it, it’s been nearly a month. You sit down to finally respond and you open with: “Dear friend, I am so sorry that I took so long to get back to you. I apologize because I was just so busy. Please forgive me for not communicating sooner.” Does any of that sound familiar? Do you start out with an apology like that?
If you do, stop doing it! You likely have nothing to apologize for anyway. If you start out with an apology, you are essentially suggesting that you did something wrong – giving the other person a reason to feel negative about the situation. Do you feel you did anything wrong? If you were simply too busy to respond immediately, you did nothing wrong! In fact, if you have been so busy, perhaps you are excited. Try starting out your response like this: “Dear friend, I have been crazy busy lately. I recently was promoted to head chef and the owners let me come up with new menu items!” Do you see the difference?
If the person you are responding to can’t be excited for you, then reevaluate if they are actually your friend. Would you be excited for them if the situation was reversed?
Think about the last time someone contacted you, apologizing for something trivial and was not worth apologizing for. Don’t you start to wonder why they are apologizing? Wouldn’t you much rather them talk about why they have been so busy instead of how (potentially insincerely) sorry that they were too busy to contact you sooner? We should only apologize if it’s warranted and we mean it. If you’re having dinner at a friend’s house and you accidentally spill some wine – by all means, apologize if you feel sorry! Don’t cast a negative energy to shadow the situation when it doesn’t need to be there.
What if you are confronted about it? For example, what if you start to hang out with some new friends and your old friends get jealous? The best advice is to just be honest and to keep it positive with enthusiasm. Try coming with the approach that you meant some cool new people, you had a great time, and they should be excited you met them. You have no obligation to your current friends to not see other friends. You aren’t dating your friends. This isn’t an exclusive relationship.
The bottom line is to not apologize to people for doing what you need to be doing. You are in charge of your own life path. Carve it out with what makes you happy. Don’t let imaginary feelings of obligation hold you back. True friends will like you for you and will support you no matter what; as long as you treat them in kind. People who use you are the ones that expect you to bend over backwards for them and submit to their demands.
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