Saturday, December 17, 2011

Apologies and Acceptance

Earlier this week I was in the middle of a situation that got me thinking about apologies and forgiveness. It was between two people, both of whom I know but who don't know each other. Person A unintentionally hurt Person B, there was a heated verbal exchange at the time which I witnessed and was drawn into. I tried to mediate but A wouldn't apologize and instead insisted on leaving, which only further infuriated B (she can be very headstrong and aggressive at times).

None of this involves Sandy by the way.

About twenty minutes later A phoned me and said he wanted to apologize face-to-face to B the next day. Sounds reasonable right? So I left a message with B to let her know. The following morning she called back and told me she appreciated that I cared enough to try to make things right (which I know she genuinely did), but that as far as she was concerned it was over and she didn't want to see his face again.

All this got me thinking. Although I didn't see the incident I do believe A was in the wrong, not because I want to side with B but because I know the circumstances behind what happened. And yes I believe he was also wrong in not staying to work things out at the time.


In the heat of the moment tempers and emotions flare and we don't always think clearly. I respected A for wanting to apologize to B, especially in person and not by phone or e-mail. The fact that B wouldn't accept and wanted nothing further to do with him or the situation was really disappointing. I've known her for years and would have hoped for better.

What are your thoughts on this? In what situations would you not accept an apology from someone?


  1. Hard to say, just because "B" didn't accept the apology, doesn't make them a bad person. Obviously their feelings were really hurt, and decided that it would be better without having to deal with "A" ever again. Regardless, I guess of what you expected from these people, you have to respect their decisions, whether you feel they were right or wrong. What you feel or expect, sadly is irrelevant. But I can see how you would be disappointed.

  2. And BTW, it would have to be something major for me not to accept an apology. There are certain things I cannot accept, no matter what the circumstances, and there are certain people (you know who I mean) that I wouldn't accept an apology from.

  3. I think patience is always needed, especially when someone's feelings are hurt. I do believe that forgiveness is the ideal to be worked towards. Good question to explore! I also think keeping a healthy distance isn't that same thing as being unforgiving.

  4. Interesting. For starters, that's very kind of A to want to apologize to B. That is very rare and shows that outside the heat of the argument, healthy reflection can be good. Definitely think that's awesome.

    It is of course a bummer that B didn't want to accept the apology. However- because I don't know the exact specifics and because you said they don't know each other, perhaps she just sees a better fit in not seeing him again and just moving on. Perhaps you could invite A to email her instead just to help smooth it over.

    Forgiveness and willingness to admit fault is a great quality and one that we should all strive for.

  5. Yeah, I also believe that forgiveness is something people should work towards. But sometimes, appologies are just aren't enough.

  6. Hi Barry, I would love to go to Hawaii again! haha.

    I think you're referring to one of the reasons I'm scared of flying?? I just had to look back - what I meant by "this fear didn't come about when we were attacked in the air in 2001" meaning that my fear of flying doesn't stem from 9/11 but just a general fear of the fallibility of mechanical beings flying through the air! haha, sorry- I didn't realized it sounded like I was making up a story about surviving an attack! :)