The generic apology(DW# 774 )
Jun 11, 2020
In the subcontinent and east African cultures, there is a kind of apology which is somewhat unique: we get an email or a text message before someone is going on a spiritually significant journey. And they want to do this with a clean slate. And so they send a mass message blast to all their contacts which goes something like this:
I am sorry if I have ever done anything, intentionally or unintentionally to hurt you. Please forgive me.
This is a generic apology: basically another form of non-apology that does not apologize directly to the injured or insulted party, but rather generically "to anyone who might have been offended"
If you are on the receiving end of such a message, the following thoughts might cross your mind:
Yes, you have offended me. I am hurt and this is not good enough. You need to please take responsibility for the specific action and apologize for it.
Nope you have not. Why are you apologizing?
Well, have you? Have you done something to me that I am not aware of?? Hmm, this is very suspicious.
Who is this? They are not in my contact list and why are they sending me this message.
It is highly unlikely that a person who receives such a message will excuse our behaviour if it was significant. And also unlikely that they will remember it if it was insignificant. In any case, an apology like this does not meet any criteria for a sincere apology so please let us stop using it, okay?
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