Have you ever been the recipient of a fauxpology? I had coffee last week with my friend, Laura, and she said she’d received a faux apology. The term “fauxpology” came out of my mouth. I’m sure you know what this is, but just in case you don’t, let me clarify.
A fauxpology is when someone
1) says “I’m sorry you’re upset, but…” or “I’m sorry you feel that way, but…” putting all the responsibility for the injury back on you.
2) uses all the right words to apologize verbally but continues doing the same damn thing for which they’ve “apologized.”
I have both given and received fauxpologies, and neither of those actions feels particularly great because you know it’s bullshit as you speak it or hear it. Fauxpologizing is a cowardly and manipulative way to get out of owning your shit. It’s living small. It’s being a crappy relationship participant. Fauxpologies chip away at trust and show the recipients of them their feeling don’t really matter.
Fauxpologizing is a great way to push people away. I know some top-notch fauxpologizers who generally aren’t really happy or satisfied in their relationships. Fauxpologizing often goes hand-in-hand with dumbassery and douchebagitis. Fortunately, none of these are contagious.
The best way to avoid fauxpologizing is to
1) actually listen to someone when they tell you you’ve hurt them.
2) acknowledge their pain.
3) say the words “I’m sorry I’ve caused you pain.” Own your shit.
4) stop the action that caused the pain at the very least. Make up for that pain if you can. This is called remorse. It’s a good thing to have if you care that you’ve hurt someone.
Real apologies are healing for both the giver and the receiver. They build trust and leave both parties feeling positive and light. Legit apologies rule, kids.
So no more fauxpologies. M’kay?