May 5, 2013

"Feel free to apologize."

"'Feel free to apologize.' Am I the only one that says that?" I say out loud after writing this.

"It's kind of passive-aggressive," Meade says.

I Google "Feel free to apologize," and the first thing that comes up is a post titled "Feel free to apologize" at — no kidding! — passive-aggressivenotes.com.

52 comments:

Tim said...

Isn't it better to simply say, "I think you owe me an apology", or even more direct, "You owe me an apology"?

You're welcome.

ndspinelli said...

Tim, Annie is always passive-agressively correct.

ndspinelli said...

That's the ugly cousin of politically correct.

rhhardin said...

Feel free to double down.

Tim said...

ndspinelli said...

"That's the ugly cousin of politically correct."

I agree on the filial relationship; is it the uglier cousin though?

Passive-aggression is corrosive to relationships, no doubt.

PCism is corrosive to institutions and society.

Which is worse?

Maybe they're ugly as sin Siamese twins...

Shouting Thomas said...

Yes, Althouse, it is time for you to apologize.

First, apologies are in order for the spoiled brat feminism that you adopted as a kid because you wanted stuff. You owe men an apology for the self-serving lies.

Second, it's time to apologize for the godawful spoiled brat congratsturbating over gaydom. You owe straight men an apology for the veiled attack against them of "persecuting" gays.

You don't have to grovel. A couple of sentences will do.

Shouting Thomas said...

And remember, Althouse, any time you need to talk to a male who has the guts to tell you "No," you can call me.

betamax3000 said...

"Your forthcoming apology has been pre-accepted."

Phil 3:14 said...

Professor and ST;

I've heard this argument before

in the high school cafeteria.

Mark O said...

Just "kind of" passive-aggressive?

He is such an nice man. I can think of many other ways in which to frame that discussion.

Steve Koch said...

"Feel free to apologize" seems like a nice way to tell somebody that they were wrong and owe you an apology. Displays a light touch (opposite of heavy handed). What I particularly like about the expression is that it not only says that you owe me an apology but also that I don't care enough about your opinion enough to demand an apology and that you have not succeeded in getting me to lose my cool.

Ann Althouse said...

"Isn't it better to simply say, "I think you owe me an apology", or even more direct, "You owe me an apology"?"

Not to my ear. I don't like giving opinions about what people "owe" me. I'd rather refer to the other person's freedom to do what I'm implying would be appropriate/wise/worth considering.

The statement that something is "owed" expresses something about me that I don't feel. I don't feel burdened by a debt I'd like to collect. It doesn't matter to me. I too am free: free of that burden. Informing the other person of their freedom is what feels apt to me.

If I wanted to rephrase it to be more active-aggressive, I would say: It's plain to me that you're wrong and the smartest thing for you do right now is just apologize, but I bet you won't, because you don't seem like the type who makes the smartest choices, and I'm not interested in talking to you anymore.

Sam L. said...

Well, bless his/her pore little ol' heart! Ah feel purt near allus free to apologize, but, ya know, sometimes An think Ah oughtta be paid for to do that. YMMV. SHWOTM. BNI.

chrisnavin.com said...

Maybe fake apologies are natural rebellions against the politically correct.

Half-grown adults expect half-believed offers of apology from people pretending to be half-grown children..

It's play acting in the public square, and deep down, no one really believes much of anything they actually think and believe.

chrisnavin.com said...

Never mind, I'm not even sure of what I just said.

I'm sorry if I offended anyone.

Ann Althouse said...

Also "owe" suggests that we'd be squared up by a mere apology. When is that true?

If someone chooses to ask for forgiveness about something and sincerely requests it, that's a different matter. But most of what goes on with apologies in our culture is self-serving. There's sooo much bullshit in this category.

If I were to challenge myself to crank out an entire book as quickly as possible by clicking on one of my post tags and using what comes up as my raw material, "apologies" would be a good bet.

I bet I could write a nice book — "The Last 9 Years in the History of Apologies" — 200+ pages in less than one month.

Tim said...

"If I wanted to rephrase it to be more active-aggressive, I would say: It's plain to me that you're wrong and the smartest thing for you do right now is just apologize, but I bet you won't, because you don't seem like the type who makes the smartest choices, and I'm not interested in talking to you anymore."

Sure, if you want to escalate, despite the "I'm not interested in talking to you anymore" qualifier.

Otherwise, suggesting someone should feel free to apologize conveys, I think most would agree, that an apology is actually owed.

Why else say it?

One is free to say or do all kinds of things without prompts.

Prompts suggest something should be done.

How does "feel free to jump of the Golden Gate Bridge" sound to the average listener?

ndspinelli said...

So if we don't "owe you" anything, why the daily Amazon posts? Why not a more monthly post? Or are we so stupid that we need a daily, classless, barrage to "consider what's worth considering." Annie, you are full o' shit.

bagoh20 said...

My prefered method is "The tip jar is on the counter."

bagoh20 said...

If you found it inadequate, I apologize for the quality of my apology.

ndspinelli said...

This is eveolving into the pathology we've seen many times. Sometimes it's "Cranky Sunday," "Angry Sunday," and the infamous, "Bloody Sunday." I've long surmised it's directly related to Saturday night.

bagoh20 said...

I don't see what's wrong with the "If I offended anyone..." apology. Often it's just that, you don't really think you insulted or meant to, so that's the accurate apology. Just because you wish you hadn't said something, doesn't mean you have to grovel. It seems like people want groveling for even the tiniest infraction of their standards.

Æthelflæd said...

Ann, that book has already been written:

"The Art of the Public Grovel: Sexual Sin and Public Confession in America" by Susan Wise Bauer, a lit professor at William and Mary who also happens to be pretty famous in homeschooling circles.

edutcher said...

Never apolo...

Right, Cook says I'm being pathological.

I'd advise you crazy kids to shake hands and make up, but you might come out fighting for round 2, instead.

ndspinelli said...

This is eveolving into the pathology we've seen many times. Sometimes it's "Cranky Sunday," "Angry Sunday," and the infamous, "Bloody Sunday." I've long surmised it's directly related to Saturday night

Finally, nd comes to the real point of his pique.

Jeff Teal said...

That statement or any form of it just jacks up my resistance to any form of apology.First it sets you up as the arbiter of my conduct which you are not.Second it requires me to buy into your meme of aggrieved victimhood which you probably aren't.Third if an apology is owed then you have destroyed the sincerity in which it would be given.
Ifind such statements to be of that infuriating type which are passive -aggresive.But passive agressive is just aggressiveness cloaking itself in the artifice of victimology.Therefore Iinvariably have more desire to react appropiately and honestly.
That reaction sometimes involves loud voices and is my barely constrained desire to vigorously modify behavior by application of kinetic force.

bagoh20 said...

I can't remember personally ever needing an apology. I've never asked for one that I can remember. I give them freely whenever I think it will help or if it's deserved.

I would like one from some Obama voters. Not for myself, but for all the people who have done the right things in their lives and are now going to be badly hurt and punished exactly for that. The damage will be ongoing every single day for the rest of our lives. I understand if you got carried away with the bullshit because you just aren't that bright, but if you are one of the credential, self-defined smart people, then yes, you should apologize, for your very damaging mistake, and for walking around the chicken coupe with your chest all puffed out pushing the rest of us out of your way pretending you use reason and facts.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I don't see what's wrong with the "If I offended anyone..." apology.

The thing that is wrong with that is that people who say that are likely not really sorry about the actual actions that they did that caused others to be offended. Only apologize if you really are sorry for and will not repeat the event.

If I say (not likely to happen btw) "I'm sorry if anyone took offense": my implication would be that I'm not sorry for 'whatever' but rather sorry that the offended person is such an idiot that they took offense.

Instead of you "owe me" an apology or "feel free" to apologize, my preferred statement is "I expect an apology." I may not get one, but I DO expect that you do so and if you don't, any future relations will be nil or strained at the best. I'm still waiting for an apology from an ex-friend from 20 years ago. I really don't expect an apology, not holding my breath, because I'm sure that she isn't sorry and I don't want a fake one. Hold a grudge much? Um....yep.

phx said...

I completely agree with Althouse - much better to never allow anyone in your debt. Freedom is having no emotional debts one way or the other. I don't owe anyone and you don't owe me.

That's true freedom. That would be a true conservative.

phx said...

The thing that is wrong with that is that people who say that are likely not really sorry about the actual actions that they did that caused others to be offended. Only apologize if you really are sorry for and will not repeat the event.

I owe it to DBQ to tell her I agree with this statement.

I personally however would not be in the business of expecting anything from anyone.

CEO-MMP said...

If I wanted to rephrase it to be more active-aggressive, I would say: It's plain to me that you're wrong and the smartest thing for you do right now is just apologize, but I bet you won't, because you don't seem like the type who makes the smartest choices, and I'm not interested in talking to you anymore.

Heh. Sounds kinda like Inga flouncing out of an argument.

Paeonia said...

Why do commenters here so disparage the blogress? Why do they continue to read and comment if they so disrespect Althouse? It seems as if it's simply a forum for some to be abusive for some past real or imagined slight, or perhaps Althouse has dared to leave the plantation one too many times?

rcommal said...

I don't see the daily Amazon posts as expressions of obligation "owed," but rather as marketing. Do people view commercials on TV as expressions of obligation "owed?" I don't really get what the problem is.

phx said...

Why do commenters here so disparage the blogress? Why do they continue to read and comment if they so disrespect Althouse? It seems as if it's simply a forum for some to be abusive for some past real or imagined slight, or perhaps Althouse has dared to leave the plantation one too many times?

I often let her know I disagree. And when I agree, as here, I let her know, too. I never thought she cared much either way. Which is okay, she doesn't owe me that.

rcommal said...

Also, I do think it's quite possible to be sorry that someone was hurt and for it not to be fake or weak to acknowledge that without going the next step and apologizing for a statement or action that one doesn't actually regret.

I think:

I am sorry you are hurt

and

I apologize for saying/doing "x"

are two different things, and it's possible to mean neither, either or even both (and any of those things sincerely).

In short, I question the premise that appears to be underlying many comments here and the many comments on other threads when this issue has come up.

Steve Koch said...

phx said...

"...much better to never allow anyone in your debt. Freedom is having no emotional debts one way or the other. I don't owe anyone and you don't owe me.

That's true freedom. That would be a true conservative."

"I personally however would not be in the business of expecting anything from anyone."

Very interesting. But we do owe others, don't we? For example, I don't always want to listen to my loved ones talk about their problems but I do anyway because I feel I owe it to them.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

What I have noticed interesting about accepting apologies is that there are really two different situations that can breed reluctance. On the one hand, I could not accept an apology because the offense was too egregious for me to trust the person even after an apology. On the other hand, I could be reluctant to give an impression in accepting an apology that I was angry to begin with, because I never was. Accepting an apology then can be rather like writing someone who might be irrationally scared of you that you aren't going to kill them--saying something like that probably would just make them more scared in suggesting wrongly the comment had some relevance. Much apologizing is similar, it's purpose being to admit mistake by way of judging whether anger would still be there. If I don't care about someone apologizing, I'd be probably be all shruggy and like, "Well, that's nice of you, and if I had ever been angry at you about it I'm sure I would appreciate it, but actually I wasn't the least bit angry or resentful toward you, so what is the point?"

Steve Koch said...

"Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose".

ndspinelli said...

Paeonia, We disparage because we love.

Steve Koch said...

phx:

What did you think about "Silver Linings Playbook" wrt your theory of freedom? I watched it last night and it just blew me away (lurved it).

Ann Althouse said...

"This is eveolving into the pathology we've seen many times. Sometimes it's "Cranky Sunday," "Angry Sunday," and the infamous, "Bloody Sunday." I've long surmised it's directly related to Saturday night."

Things I had to drink yesterday, the day of the Mifflin festivities:

1. Water
2. Coffee
3. More water

No kidding!

bagoh20 said...

"Only apologize if you really are sorry for and will not repeat the event. "

I often apologize when I don't really feel it. If it helps that person move on, and preserves our relationship, then it's worth it to me to swallow my pride. Other people may perceive things differently than you do, and get offended when you don't see it. I don't assume I'm always right about that.

An apology is an easy thing if you aren't all invested in yourself, and always needing to be right, which is a real problem in forums like this.

If someone really needs an apology to get past some shit, and I feel I can afford it, then hey buddy, here's a 20, get something to eat.

A real apology where I know I'm wrong is handled and delivered differently, including making them whole anyway possible.

phx said...

@Steve Koch: I'm sorry, I haven't seen it. But now I'll have to, thanks.

BTW, fwiw, the idea of owing nothing to anyone has been a key principle for me for years. It's helped me tear down my sense of feeling offended by others. Even at Althouse where I'm a relative liberal I keep a sense of open handedness to virtually everyone. I argue hard and some people are really offensive but I never write anyone off.

They don't owe me anything from my POV.

I don't owe my loved ones courtesy and consideration either - I give that because it's the most powerful, beautiful, and strategic way to live as far as I can see.

Paeonia said...

Some mistake love for hate, abuse for correction. Abusive people rationalize their abuse of others. It's been this way with humans for quite sometime now, eons.

ndspinelli said...

Annie, I believe you. So then what is it w/ Sunday? I would honestly like your thoughts. Of course, you'll probably deny the history, but it is on the record.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"Only apologize if you really are sorry for and will not repeat the event. "

I often apologize when I don't really feel it. If it helps that person move on, and preserves our relationship, then it's worth it to me to swallow my pride.

I suppose that is the correct thing to do and I'm sure that I have done similarly. Especially, if the offense is not that big of a deal to me and it does help smooth the waters.

My original statement was one that my parents drilled into us. Probably they were sick of hearing our lame-o teenager insincere apologies and then seeing us either continue to repeat the bad behavior and just ignore them. Saying you are sorry and not meaning it can often be a lie. But, as you suggest sometimes a 'white lie' is ok to just get along. However..... If we are constantly having to tell 'white lies' maybe we should be examining our own behaviour or change the people we are hanging out with to those who are less sensitive or so easily offended.

Lem said...

You have to be humble to be great... like Jesus.

Meade said...

It isn't bragging if you really are the Son of God and King of the Jews.

Astro said...

Ann Althouse said... "Isn't it better to simply say, "I think you owe me an apology", or even more direct, "You owe me an apology"?"

Not to my ear. I don't like giving opinions about what people "owe" me. I'd rather refer to the other person's freedom to do what I'm implying would be appropriate/wise/worth considering.

The statement that something is "owed" expresses something about me that I don't feel. I don't feel burdened by a debt I'd like to collect.It doesn't matter to me. I too am free: free of that burden. Informing the other person of their freedom is what feels apt to me.

If I wanted to rephrase it to be more active-aggressive, I would say: It's plain to me that you're wrong and the smartest thing for you do right now is just apologize, but I bet you won't, because you don't seem like the type who makes the smartest choices, and I'm not interested in talking to you anymore.

Also "owe" suggests that we'd be squared up by a mere apology. When is that true?

If someone chooses to ask for forgiveness about something and sincerely requests it, that's a different matter. But most of what goes on with apologies in our culture is self-serving. There's sooo much bullshit in this category.

If I were to challenge myself to crank out an entire book as quickly as possible by clicking on one of my post tags and using what comes up as my raw material, "apologies" would be a good bet.

I bet I could write a nice book — "The Last 9 Years in the History of Apologies" — 200+ pages in less than one month.


It doesn't matter to me. ???

Mark O said...

More proof that Meade is a saint:

"If I wanted to rephrase it to be more active-aggressive, I would say: It's plain to me that you're wrong and the smartest thing for you do right now is just apologize, but I bet you won't, because you don't seem like the type who makes the smartest choices, and I'm not interested in talking to you anymore."

traditionalguy said...

The feel free thought seems to be a signal that a heartfelt repentance will not be disdained.

Which is then a signal that spending one's lifetime in hatred and revenge is a very poor choice.

Ergo: The Professor is teaching valuable lessons again.

deborah said...

'Feel free to apologize' is hackneyed and immature internet speak.

As far as passive aggression, is it being used properly here? I understand it to mean withholding something in order to express aggression, such as not sending birthday cards or constantly being late.

kentuckyliz said...

Anyone who says something like this after their sophomore year in college is an idiot.

How rude.

If someone said that to me, I think my reply would have to be, "I'm sorry you were offended."

Anyone whose boyfriend/girlfriend says that, break up now. A red flag for misery ahead.