Don’t Ever Say You’re Sorry When You Don’t Mean It

William Iven
William Iven

It’s 12 at night and my phone vibrates. I grab my phone nonchalantly, thinking it might be a friend, and I’m suddenly taken aback by his name on my screen, which I haven’t seen in a long time. It’s been eight months since we actually broke up. Four since we parted our separate ways completely. And here he is, as unexpected as life-altering, checking up on me and asking to meet up. What for? To apologize. Obviously.

Every cell in my body, and every member of my family and group of friends, is telling me to run away. Just say no and go ahead with your life like nothing happened. It’s not that hard. However, there’s a tiny part of me that is still hopeful. Not for love, but hopeful for change. I might be completely off here, but I am a firm believer that I am no one to take opportunities away from anyone. It obviously depends on what they did and how you feel about it, it does not apply to everyone, but in this case, if somebody wants to apologize, I am not going to be an obstacle in the way of redemption. Maybe they have really changed. Maybe they do regret everything they’ve done. Who am I to stand in the way?

Long story short, I had high hopes. Long story short, I should’ve known better.

I have always said that forgiveness is a selfish act. You may not deserve forgiveness, you may not have asked for it, but most times I feel like I must forgive to move on, even if it’s just a symbolic act. My theory still stands. It’s a different kind of selfishness, but sometimes people will say they’re sorry just because they want to feel good with themselves and have your blessings before going their own way again. They’re that self-centered. A person who truly, honestly regrets everything they’ve done and has changed for the better will probably wonder if reaching out to an ex-partner you haven’t been in touch with for half a year will be beneficial for them. Maybe, I don’t know, they don’t need you to shake their world again.

I really didn’t. I didn’t need him showing up again, checking up on me, issuing false apologies without even wondering how it’d make me feel. Everything in the name of “This is what I’d want if it had all happened the other way around”. Thanks, but no thanks. It’s not what I want. I didn’t want, or need, a half-assed apology mixed with lies and slippery answers so many months afterwards simply so he could feel better with himself. A good old sorry is always welcome, but only if it’s honest. If it comes months after I’ve closed the book, I’ll appreciate it, but the marks of your betrayal will have been forged not only in my heart but, most likely, also in my personality and overall attitude towards you. If you’re doing it to feel better, I hope it works for you. For me? It won’t fix a thing, because after so long, there’s nothing that needs fixing.

Pals, in life, you will find two types of apologies: those of people who honestly want to right their wrongs and they acknowledge that what they did wasn’t right, and non-apology apologies, often found in politics, public relations and ex-partners. You will recognize the latter with a very simple technique. You know kids who are being told off and then cry and say sorry? They don’t know what they’re saying sorry for. They just know their parents are angry and they don’t want them to be, so they apologize. It’s the same with these people. Just ask them what they’re apologizing for. The specifics of the situation. If they can’t give them to you, that’s a warning sign. Run away and go ahead with your life. TC mark

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