On Apologies: A Poor Man's Taxonomy

Posted on Sep 9, 2018

I have gotten confused and frustrated over apologies from time to time. They have been a consistent source of miscommunication. I figured that it isn’t clear to me what an apology means in the general case. Hence I tried to distinguish possible meanings in more concrete cases.

  1. I ‘regret’ my action and given the hypothetical chance to undo it, I would.
  2. I preferred you not having to bear the negative consequences of my action. Yet, given the the hypothetical chance to undo it, I wouldn’t.
  3. I will tell you anything to temporarily satisfy you without caring or investing any real effort.

I think the source of my confusion and frustration was assuming something rather close to (1) by default, without reason to do so. I guess a classic expectation management issue!

Going forward, I should put more effort in trying to distinguish the meaning in real-time.