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Thread: Apologizing: A Sign of Weakness?

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    Apologizing: A Sign of Weakness?

    How do you feel about apologizing and what were you taught about it? Are you one who is hesitant to apologize or not? When and when isn't it appropriate to apologize? How do your religious views or experience with relationships and marriage affect your stance on apologizing?

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    Senior Member Loddfafner's Avatar
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    Apologizing is, mostly, a gesture of strength. Refusing to apologize, for the most part, is a sign of immaturity. The exception is when the apology is for merely existing.
    The sitters in the hall seldom know
    The kin of the new-comer:
    The best man is marred by faults,
    The worst is not without worth.
    -- The Havamal, #133 (trans. Auden and Taylor)

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    If the other person apologizes first and I feel that we were both wrong I will in turn apologize, but I wont go first, it's to do with dignity I guess, as well as a "I am right" attitude . I'm not the type of person who does or says things and then quickly regrets them either, I have too much self-control for that. Even if I have regrets I tend to think that I was mostly in the right and feel that it is better to not show remorse. But again, if the other person makes a move first and apologizes, and I feel that I too was at fault, I am often willing to apologize myself.

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    Whether I view an apology as a sign of weakness, or a sign of genuine remorse entirely depends upon the situation it is uttered in, the tone and sincerity attached to it and most importantly, the very spirit of it.

    In truth, I actually consider it a sign of strength of character if someone can reflect upon their choices and realise that they have made a wrongful one: That is if they show an excessive spirit to make up for it and do not ask for unconditional forgiveness but request instead an opportunity to show that they are made of better flesh. That is how I do it and this is how I expect other people to act: Don't whine, just say you're trying to do it better next time around.

    Cheap apologies that are intended as meaningless absolutions from guilt I do however see as a sign of weakness: I believe that one has to bear the consequences of their actions, rather than wishing that a deed could be undone. However, since I tend to be rather forgiving anyhow - I generally give people a chance to prove themselves; just like negative deeds can bear negative consequences, good deeds will bear positive consequences. You reap what you sow.

    What is important to me there is that one intends to "take it as a man" and acccept that what has happened, has happened - just do it better next time, end of story.
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
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    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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    If I recognize that I did something wrong, I apologize.
    Apologies can never be words, only deeds.
    "Nothing is more disgusting than the majority: because it consists of a few powerful predecessors, of rogues who adapt themselves, of weak who assimilate themselves, and the masses who imitate without knowing at all what they want." (Johann Wolfgang Goethe)

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    I think its civilisation that sees an apology as a sign of weakness. I remember in one of the Conan the barbarian novels Conan says "manners and politeness are the mark of a barbaric society", since any implied, real or imagined insult would rapidly lead to bloodshed.
    Makes sense to me.

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    If you wronged someone, apologizing is definitely a sign of strength. All the more if the other person hasn't even learned yet what you did. Apologizing is a threefold process: 1. being intellectually and morally able to recognize the harm or injustice done to others : an essential prerequisite for this is empathy (= the ability to reflect on the occurrence in a manner, as if you were the party who was offended or to whom injustice was done), 2. a set of firm moral vales enabling you to differentiate between right and wrong, and 3. the strength and willpower to take responsibility for your wrongdoings and actions.

    I agree with Jager that sincere apologies have to be corroborated by actions. An action which made an apology necessary is usually combined with a severe breach of trust : trust which cannot be restored by a casual "Sorry, pal!" Trust earned and built over years can be destroyed in a single moment by letting people down when they counted on your friendship.

    Contrariwise, the inability to apologize indicates either moral shortcomings, character deficiencies or intellectual deficits.

    To err is human, and we all make mistakes. We express things at times - for example if we are angry or enraged - which are absolutely inappropriate. I believe everyone of us knows a situation from his past where he did the wrong instead of the right thing.

    The question is how we react to being wronged : When I am wronged, I accept apologies which are sincerely meant once or maybe twice. Having said that, if being wronged or insulted by someone turns into a regular issue, one has to reflect whether such individuals are still worth to be counted amongst the group of one's friends or comrades and if one wants to associate with people whose character is vile, hostile or at best instable. A man is amongst others judged and assessed by his friends, the people he associates with and their character.

    Such people will become a liability to yourself. They will have a negative influence on your character and well-being and frequently try to keep you in distress. It's maybe better to disassociate oneself from such persons completely, all the more they do not even recognize their wrongdoings or are not willing to accept any responsibility for them.

    I prefer a small circle of loyal, polite, respectful and responsible friends on which I can rely. Initially, I thought this is a question of life experience and maturity, but over time I discovered that this is not a question of age. There are people in their twenties, even teenagers, who have a pleasant character and who take responsibility for their actions, and there are people in their thirties, forties and fifties who are irresponsible and immature cowards with a flawed character.

    Appearances are in addition frequently deceptive. Many people can be very pleasant and reveal their true nature only in times of temptation, of a moral crisis or when they can gain benefits for themselves. However, there are often indicators. If people don't mind their own business and focus on doing positive and productive things and helping others, but spend lots of their energy to badmouth others behind their back, they will probably also badmouth you behind your back and change allegiances, as it suits them.

    I did well in my life by disassociating myself from the gossipers and badmouths.
    The answer to 1984 is 1776.

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    I believe refusing to apologize when you've gone wrong is a sign of immaturity. As is apologizing for something you are not guilty of, just because you wish to please some foreign powers. That is what Germanics are doing today and I believe it is dishonorable.


    Die Sonne scheint noch.

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    I'm not considering it a sign of weakness to apologise if I've done something inappropriate. But I'm considering a sign of weakness to crawl on all fours and beg for forgiveness endlessly. If the person doesn't want to accept my apology, then we move on. And in my view deeds count more than words too. There are many peoples who sweettalk but are rotten on the inside.

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    "Apology" is one of those words that is so widely misused that its wrong usage has all but overcome its correct usage. It actually means to explain yourself, and is in the nature of a vindication or defense. If I bump into someone in a crowd, he turns and says "what the heck?" or something like, and I say, "I'm sorry, I didn't see you", then the apology part is the "I didn't see you". Whether it 'makes it all better' or not depends on whether the person offended agrees that "I didn't see you" is sufficient justification for the accidental contact.

    As far as I know, the only place this sense of the word is really retained is in theology, where "apologetics" and "apology" are used in this etymological sense.

    What makes things interesting in everyday life is the way we mix (and confuse) our statements of sorrow or regret and our justifications for our actions. "I'm sorry, I didn't see you" is a two-pronged response, offering both an expression of sorrow and a partial defense in the hopes that the offended person will be soothed. They don't necessarily go together, though, and it's useful to try to keep them separate.

    It's also useful sometimes to focus on simply taking responsibility, whereas apologizing is often (for some people pretty much always) an attempt to evade responsibility one way or the other. How hard would it be to say, "I'm sorry, I should have been watching more carefully where I was going". That usually works better as an "apology", anyway.

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