Sorry, Not Sorry.

December 6, 2017

Today I witnessed someone apologize for theft. They knew it was wrong and said they were sorry. They suffered some consequences, but certainly not permanent ones. They apologized. They were lucky that while the apology was not exactly “accepted” it did get them out of being reported to the authorities.

Over the last few weeks, we have heard comedians, actors and news anchors apologize for their various indiscretions. The apologies can come after they were caught which begs the question of sincerity?

What is the value of an apology? Does it diminish if comes after public admonishment?

And if we don’t value their apologies, what is the right course of action for people who have done bad things? Should they admit guilt without expressions of remorse?

Now let’s say we aren’t talking about famous offenders. Instead, we are talking about your best friend. Or your spouse. Or your sibling. Is saying I’m sorry enough? Is it enough to wipe the slate clean of any wrongdoing? Are the actions of people in the news weakening apologies or are we still civil enough to differentiate sincerity?

I’m sorry, but I don’t have the answers. I tend to think that this issue may cause some people to consider their actions and perhaps, prevent them from doing harm. Or more harm.
Perhaps I am naive and bad people will continue to do bad things. The difference might be they will try harder not to get caught.

The one thing I do know, we live in interesting times and it’s never a bad time to evaluate your moral compass.

What are your thoughts on apologies?