Enough With All These Empty Public Apologies

Ryan O'Hanlon: If they need to be qualified, they don't count
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2013 12:48 PM CST
Enough With All These Empty Public Apologies

You've heard them—those non-apology apologies from companies or celebrities who are just going through the motions. They're usually qualified with an "if," as in, "We're sorry if we offended you for..." They're "conditional" apologies, writes Ryan O'Hanlon at Pacific Standard. "At this point, if someone issues a public apology, they’re probably not actually apologizing." Among his points: In a real apology, the sometimes "excruciating" part is facing the person you've harmed. "When you give a non-apology, you’re avoiding the hardest part," he writes.

Worse, these public apologies can make the aggrieved actually feel worse because they imply that people are overly sensitive or perhaps misinterpreted things. They rarely come from people who feel true remorse and want to take responsibility for what happened. It's all an empty act. "At worst, it turns expressing regret into some kind of cruel grasp at myopic moral high ground or this blind charade that hopefully bumps into the realm of apology," writes O'Hanlon. "At best, it’s a complete waste of everyone’s time." Click for his full column. (Read more apology stories.)

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