Monday, 26 March 2012

Saying sorry: the art of apologising

Apologising isn't easy. Or is it?

No, this is still not a breathless bit of plugging for Vent du Sud.

I need to tackle this marketplace thing, see, and I'm putting it off. And still trying to find my feet in SL again.

Is that saying sorry? Er no, it's a fact. We'll get onto that in a minute.

Have a photo before we get to the rant. 

There we go. Just to remind myself that I used to make things, and that I intend to do again. At the Vent du Sud mainstore, 1L a piece, right up front). Colour change on the chairs and tablecloth (more cutting-edge technology *cough* and pretty pastels)

OK, on to the day's ponderings.

Somebody high up in an organisation I work for actually practices the 'apologise sincerely, don't justify your blunder or pass the blame, reassure people that it won't happen again,  and then suggest everybody move on' approach extremely well, and it comes out as totally sincere.

I really admire him for it. It's taught me a lot about apologising myself, although the temptation to say 'but I was tired, or 'but it's not my fault' can be rather strong (understatement) at times.

So how do you get sincerity across? Particularly when you've messed up your apology (by justifying it, whining, and finding it just wasn't good enough)?

Well first, tell yourself that for some people, no apology ever will be good enough. Some people enjoy grudges.

Lie low or be out of town run away? A possibility, but not easy if you want to continue doing something you believe in.

I think the only thing is to take action. Show you're trying to move on. Apologise for messing up the apology (ouch, but sometimes there's no alternative). Mind, you can't do this for ever. Twice may work, three times probably won't.

And if you can't or don't or won't take action (such as commit to changing your procedures / approach / methods 'next time'), then maybe it's time to quietly withdraw from that sphere and deal with the fact that - sad as it is - sometimes a major blunder really does haunt you.

Maybe this is the moment to be glad you aren't an air traffic controller or a brain surgeon. They have it much worse.

(Don't be flippant, woman). 

Sure, I'm referring to recent events in SL blogs but, to be honest, it applies to a lot of things.

It applies to anything from breaking up a relationship that was a mistake (because usually, apologies / admissions are due on both sides, no?) to being totally undiplomatic (guilty) or always late for things (not guilty: too many years in Switzerland, I think, where late is Not. Done.)

There's another side too - one that's also rather irritating. I'm talking about the 'compulsive apologiser' type who spends his / her life saying sorry sorry sorry. 

I tend to be one of those over certain things. Recent examples:

Sorry for not blogging (I did go back and edit it that out more than once because... well... who cares except me)
Sorry for not being in touch (I am, genuinely, sorry and I'm dreadful about remembering to call people at times, so I just need to DO something about it instead of apologising)
Sorry for burning the sauce (hey, it's a sauce and I'm a damned good cook, and I was distracted so we shall move on, take out a packet of the instant stuff and it shall not be a drama)
Sorry for not agreeing with you (actually no I'm not. I'd like to slap you and swear at you, but this is probably not a good idea. So I shall just shut up.)
Sorry for being pedantic (I also get frivolous and apologise for that too, but I should stop it. I am as I am, and I can't always make compromises).

OK, back to work.

I  may (if the big Marketplace move is not yet another SL catastrophe in the making) build something soon. But I'm not going to apologise if I don't.

So there ;)


Sian Pearl said...

I find that in work situations a simple apology: "It's our fault. Sorry," can sometimes end a conversation. It's actually the best kind of passive aggression: you force them either to take it or look ungracious and end up looking better, even when it is actually your fault.

Sascha Frangilli said...

Very much enjoyed your blog! Your "sorry" for particular things, sounds extremely familiar.
And hey, I know I do screw up at times (I think it is called "thinking that I can do multi-tasking, but in the end I forget to finish some of those 20 tasks.."), so I am getting good at apologising. :-) For me working full-time in RL and trying to run a business in SL, is very stressful, so I think I am allowed a few tiny mistakes each month (and so are you!). :-)

x Sascha