The Apologies That Never Come and Why We’re Better Off Without Them

“Treat others as you wish to be treated,” we are told from the time we can talk and understand rational conversation. Being good little girls and boys we adopt this philosophy and most of us do, in fact, treat others as we’d like to be treated. Ultimately though, there comes a day when someone, maybe a classmate on the playground or a colleague in the workplace, doesn’t reciprocate to our philosophy.

What happens then? Naturally, we expect an apology. To those of us whom treat others the way we wish to be treated it would seem a sincere, well thought out apology is the only logical remedy for our being wronged, our well-mannered behavior not being reciprocated.

I have spent many years waiting for an apology or two that I have come to realize I will never receive. Even if I were to receive these apologies they wouldn’t be the type I would want, believe, nor accept. Rather than being sincere and well-meaning, they would be forced and artificial.

Someone very close to me whom I admire and love dearly once gave me a piece of advice that has proven time and again invaluable. Upset and ranting and raving about someone “wronging” me, she told me “just because you’re nice to someone doesn’t mean they’re going to be nice to you. That’s not the way the world, or people, work.” In that moment I realized how idealistic and even immature I was. I’ve since learned to let things go. If someone “wrongs” me and they apologize, great. People don’t typically apologize unless they mean it so those apologies I cherish. If an apology never comes I’ve learned it speaks volumes more about the other party than it does me, and I’m probably better off without the artificial apology anyway.

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