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How do you feel about apologies?

foliodoe

I'm living my whole life at once.
I don't really understand the purpose of an apology. If someone has hurt my feelings or otherwise done something wrong, the last thing on my mind is an apology.
Are they going to fix the problem or address the issue? Are they going to change their behaviour?

On the other side of the equation, if I've upset someone I respect then I don't understand the purpose of the apology. Are neurotypical people really that... simple? Or naive? Do they really allow people to hurt them as long as they're given an apology afterwards? Is this something they tolerate because they expect to get away with anything as long as they apologize?

I've learned how to apologize, but it still doesn't make sense to me really... My life has gotten easier by becoming a person who just has fewer reasons to apologize to anyone in general. But I'd love to hear some other people's experiences with this topic! Thanks :)
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
It's simply protocol- an extension of politeness and diplomacy. - Not really intended to realistically resolve things.

If and when actions are more likely to speak louder than words.

Reminds me a bit of the tv show "Ally BcBeal". Where Peter MacNicol played an attorney who would routinely say, "I apologize, your honor." -In a way that sounded almost intentionally disingenuous.

Or Riker's "apology" to Worf for removing the plank instead of retracting it. -"Sorry!"

 
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AutistAcolyte

Well-Known Member
i think it is important to remember that while i may be underwhelmed or not understand someone's apology, there are things that i have had to/will have to apologize for. i don't do things perfectly, and when i mess up and need to apologize, i would want the other person to be understanding and forgive me. that's why i try to forgive others.
 

LadyS

One eye permanently raised it seems...
V.I.P Member
I see an apology as more like an acknowledgement of wrongdoing on one's part. Without acknowledgement it's really hard to move forward. But the apology has to be sincere as others have said, followed by true change. Unfortunately a lot of people apologize but don't show the follow through with the change, thus making the apology hollow.
 

MildredHubble

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
There are some people in the world who don't understand what an apology is for. They see it as transactional. So if they persist in doing something wrong they see an "apology" as simply their "payment" to balance the books. Then invariably go back to the problem behaviour again.

In some ways when people apologise to me, I don't put a lot of stock in it. If it's said in a condescending tone, it is ultimately meaningless.

There is only a point to an apology if it's genuine and showing regret to past actions, and a genuine commitment to do better in the future.

Unfortunately apologies have just become so transactional these days, I don't often take them at face value anymore.
 

foliodoe

I'm living my whole life at once.
It's just a way to say "I know I screwed up and I feel bad about it". But an apology is not a way out, you can't just do whatever you want to people and then say "sorry" and then they have to forgive you. If you tell someone you are sorry about something, you are reaching out to them, showing them you know you messed up and then you just have to hope they will forgive you. It is also the adult thing to do, you show a little respect by saying you are sorry. If you mean it when you say it.

But you don't allow people to hurt you and then think it's ok if they just apologize afterwards, it doesn't work like that.
Forgiveness is another thing I struggle with. It's easy for me to ignore or compartmentalize my feelings, so people get the impression that I'm forgiving. Really, I just move on externally because I feel like I don't have a choice.
 

MildredHubble

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
If I feel that someone genuinely feels remorse for something they've done I can very quickly move on.

But like you @foliodoe I can compartmentalise my feelings. Essentially for the sake of moving on. But this can bring about other problems such as creating the impression that everything has been resolved.

But if the problem persists it can be rather annoying. I can rise above it for a long time, but it can be exhausting.
 

LadyS

One eye permanently raised it seems...
V.I.P Member
Forgiveness is another thing I struggle with. It's easy for me to ignore or compartmentalize my feelings, so people get the impression that I'm forgiving. Really, I just move on externally because I feel like I don't have a choice.
I can relate to this. It's almost like an open door for others to continue to keep making the same mistakes again.

Right now to deal with this I've been trying to do the following: confronting people when they continue to do wrong to me and set boundaries with those same people so they know that there are consequences until I see change.
 
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Angular Chap

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I think I only really understand maybe 60% of what to apologize means.

My life has gotten easier by becoming a person who just has fewer reasons to apologize to anyone in general.
Beautiful! Nicely put! :)

Like you say, I try hard to be as considerate as possible at all times so as not to have a need to apologize in the first place.

I've been apologized to by people for something and I didn't really understand what they were apologizing for, then they would get upset at me for "not accepting their apology."

I can't remember ever having someone apologize to me for something when I thought they really should have. Occasionally I'll get an admission of guilt.

I've also been made to apologize to people, not understanding what I was apologizing for, so I just said "sorry" and nothing else. They would reply with "apology accepted." Strange I thought.

Also, consider this: I reckon some people try to force an apology out of others to make themself feel good or to look good. I've noticed this when it comes to internet attention seekers: They find someone with a high profile, coerce an apology out of them for some contrived or exaggerated reason, and then celebrate that they got the person to apologize. Or sometimes they will claim the person apologized when they didn't, using misquotes and exaggerations. Keep an eye out for that one. (No, I'm not advocating anyone give attention to internet drama!)
 

Mr. Stevens

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I don't really understand the purpose of an apology. If someone has hurt my feelings or otherwise done something wrong, the last thing on my mind is an apology.
Are they going to fix the problem or address the issue? Are they going to change their behaviour?

On the other side of the equation, if I've upset someone I respect then I don't understand the purpose of the apology. Are neurotypical people really that... simple? Or naive? Do they really allow people to hurt them as long as they're given an apology afterwards? Is this something they tolerate because they expect to get away with anything as long as they apologize?

I've learned how to apologize, but it still doesn't make sense to me really... My life has gotten easier by becoming a person who just has fewer reasons to apologize to anyone in general. But I'd love to hear some other people's experiences with this topic! Thanks :)
The point of the apology is to acknowledge what you've done and show respect for the other person's feelings. It's a display of awareness which says you will change your behavior and/or address the situation as needed. It would be weirder to expect this from someone who never acknowledges what happened.
 

Knower of nothing

Well-Known Member
Like others have said, an apology is acknowledgement. I'd say it's vital.
If someone hurt me I won't just cut them out of my life or instantly regard them as a bad person, but if they vehemently refuse to apologize I just might.
 

paloftoon

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
An apology is the first step to considering trusting someone again if they did something particularly egregious to you.
 

WhitewaterWoman

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Apologies are a social behavior used to prevent conflict.

If I bump into someone while walking down the street, I say "I'm sorry," or "Excuse me." Otherwise the person might take offense, think the bump was intentional, that I was trying to "start something."

This is so important that when I travel, I make sure to learn the very basic words of polite discourse in the language foreign to me. I have learned to say "I'm sorry" in many different languages and use it frequently when traveling.

As social behavior gets more complex, the reasons for apologies and whether they are sincere or not and what NT-type reasons might underlie them also get more complex.

We are all human. We all make mistakes. With autism, we make more honest "mistakes" in socializing than NTs. I know I have made some terrible mistakes and ended up losing friends over them. Totally inadvertant slips of speech that I would take back a hundred times over if I could.

I also know that sometimes what I did (or didn't do) was a total misunderstanding, but the NT who was offended never believed me. I never understood this. Now that I understand autism better, I know there are "rules" that the rest of the world knows and understands, but I don't.

So, I think that many times, there are genuine misunderstandings and apologies offered and accepted make the world a nicer place to live.

I will say, I was much less tolerant when younger and would quickly cut off someone who had offended me.
 

autism-and-autotune

A musical mind with recent revelations
I don't really understand the purpose of an apology. If someone has hurt my feelings or otherwise done something wrong, the last thing on my mind is an apology.
Are they going to fix the problem or address the issue? Are they going to change their behaviour?

On the other side of the equation, if I've upset someone I respect then I don't understand the purpose of the apology. Are neurotypical people really that... simple? Or naive? Do they really allow people to hurt them as long as they're given an apology afterwards? Is this something they tolerate because they expect to get away with anything as long as they apologize?

I've learned how to apologize, but it still doesn't make sense to me really... My life has gotten easier by becoming a person who just has fewer reasons to apologize to anyone in general. But I'd love to hear some other people's experiences with this topic! Thanks :)
I resonate very much with your words---thanks for writing this.

I too lately have become very confused with the purpose of apology. Somehow I'll mess things up with my fiancee, and I'll say, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to do _x_" and they'll say 'It doesn't matter what you intended." This is where I get very confused, because obviously I'll never intentionally hurt someone. Isn't it implied anyways? What's the point of apologizing if it's just going to seem null and void? Other times I don't understand the point of an apology...well, I just lost my train of thought. It's this odd divide because I'm fine with apologizing from a sympathetic point of view (for example, "I'm sorry the meeting didn't work out with friends" "Oh, it's fine--it's not your fault.").

I don't really care if people hurt me though. I just...regard it as a thing that happened/they did _x_ for reasons of their own--why let it get to me? I can't tell if this is my way of thinking due to my childhood or what :/

Sometimes I want to say "Well tough, get over it" because it's often how I was treated during my young years but...I don't want to be heartless. It's so so confusing.
 

foliodoe

I'm living my whole life at once.
I'll say, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to do _x_" and they'll say 'It doesn't matter what you intended."
I've had this exact exchange before.
If they think I'm someone who would intentionally harm them, why are they even seeking an apology from me?

And, again, if they know it wasn't my intention to harm them - why are they seeking an apology? Why are they taking it personally?

It's moments like those when I understand that it's normal to just act out a certain script in social situations. Like characters in a video game, there are specific keywords in a specific order that people want/need to hear in order to move on. It makes no sense to me.
 

autism-and-autotune

A musical mind with recent revelations
I've had this exact exchange before.
If they think I'm someone who would intentionally harm them, why are they even seeking an apology from me?

And, again, if they know it wasn't my intention to harm them - why are they seeking an apology? Why are they taking it personally?

It's moments like those when I understand that it's normal to just act out a certain script in social situations. Like characters in a video game, there are specific keywords in a specific order that people want/need to hear in order to move on. It makes no sense to me.
*lightbulb moment* you're completely right!I understand why it's important to apologize, but...my confusion is all-encompassing.
 

paloftoon

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
We are human. So, we are bound to make mistakes. Being able to apologize and learn from those mistakes is a part of what makes you a good person and not too selfish.
 

Sasha22

No surrender
V.I.P Member
To me "I'm sorry" is the keyword I can use to express "Wow ok I get it, I did wrong, it was not my intention." Which leads to the next step: figuring out how I can fix the damage I did, or just improving whatever behavior caused the misunderstanding in the first place (or if I can't improve it, figure out why and explain it).
So basically to me "I'm sorry" is putting into commonly understandable words the tipping point/lightbulb moment between "We have a problem" and "We're fixing the problem". I usually say it the second I understand what went wrong.

But there are situations where people expect an apology and where it doesn't make sense to me either. Sometimes it seems to me that they just want to hear the words and feel like they have "won" and the other was submitted. Or someone does something terrible to you, and you realize that and tell them "you did x-y-z", and they think you just want to hear that they "apologize". Like, what do I care about the "I apologize" when the damage is done and I've had to fix it already.
So I guess it depends on the context, the scale and what happens after the "I apologize"...
 

paloftoon

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
An apology is only so meaningful if it's words. Being able to right the wrong with quality actions after the apology is what makes an apology meaningful.
 

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