I’ve been noticing more and more than apologies these days come trailed by any number of weak disclaimers.
“Sorry I didn’t get back to you, I was with my girlfriend.”
“Sorry I still owe you for brunch. Next one, promise.”
“Sorry that pissed you off, you must not have gotten what I was going for.”
It’s not our fault that we held our friend’s sweater hostage, or ghosted on a girl we went on a few dates with, or didn’t hit this gym for the past four days. There’s always a reason for our bad behavior, our laziness. It never just is, we never just own it.
Call it what you will. Be it our millennial tendencies, generation Y-ness, or simply because we don’t feel like we should have to be held accountable for anything from data overage charges to even splitting an Uber home, but the 20-somethings walking around today are kind of a bag full of assholes when it comes to holding themselves accountable. Rather than just sucking it up, and owning our shit we’re always full of excuses.
Well, I for one, think we need to knock it the fuck off. Stop making excuses for why you did something, why you made the choice you’ve made, and simply own it.
I was recently talking with another writer friend of mine who wrote a piece that was met with a certain amount of backlash. When you work for something as accessible to people as the internet is today, you can never expect to be universally loved. That being said, she wrote a piece, was met with the critiques from (for lack of a better word) “haters” and instantly went on the defense.
“Well that’s not what I meant.”
“I was just doing my job.”
“It’s not like I intended to offend anyone.”
And while all of the above statements might be true, I had to admit, I kind of agreed with some of the criticism. She was feeling vulnerable and attacked, which I understand makes people want to go immediately on the defense, but I couldn’t help but feel like she was ignoring some of the critiques that actually provided valuable points. If your gut reaction is to just to be instantly defensive instead of hearing people (who are being reasonable and not simply being another asshole just to fit in) out, you’re never going to get past stroking your own ego and improve.
Ultimately, when you’re faced with a mistake you’ve made and are being called out for something, you have a choice:
Are you going to own up to said mistake and simply admit that you screwed up, could have executed something better, and try again? Or are you just going to flip a middle finger and say, “Well they just don’t get me,” and go along your merry way?
I’ve definitely been guilty of the latter a time or two, but it’s something I’m really striving to not do anymore because frankly, excuses don’t get you anywhere. They don’t make you grow, they don’t make you a better person. I don’t say this because we should set out trying to make everyone like us; that’s a losing battle. But just because something is negative doesn’t mean it has value, doesn’t have substance.
So the next time you owe an, “I’m sorry” of your own, whether it’s at work or because you Instagramed another fucking sunset on your friend’s birthday instead of saying, “HBD GURL” with an old Facebook pic from when you were both skinnier, I encourage you to finish that “sorry” with a period and not a, “Well…” It’s a sign of human decency, true maturity, and will get you a whole lot farther than any excuse ever will. .
Image via Unsplash