When our mummies and daddies were teaching us to say 'Sorry' and 'Thank you' to gali-waley-Uncle & next-door-Aunty, many of them neglected to explain the finer nuances of these niceties. I'll save the 'Thank You' for another day...
...Because saying sorry, to steal a page from Elton Uncle's songbook, sometimes really does seem to be the hardest word.
An apology incorrectly made can cause more damage than good. Therefore I've prepared what I feel is a comprehensive of Do's and Don'ts in the aftermath of a blunder that needs to be atoned for:
1. Inflection:The tonal quality of your apology is of paramount importance. Before you craigslist 'vocal coaches near Shalimar Bagh', let me assure you, you don't need the chops of a Groban to do it right. 'Sorry' is a word that's said slowly and with deliberation. Not to be barked out in an 'eat my shit' tone. If you choose the latter approach do not be surprised if the Wronged One throws you a swift one-two in the 'nads.
2. Prefixes and Suffixes: Sorry is often accompanied by words either preceding or succeeding it. Choice of these words is indispensable to an effective apology. Words like 'Really', 'Extremely' and 'So' are great when used before the sorry. The word 'Fine!' and 'But' are counter-productive to the apologizing process when used before and after the sorry, respectively.
3. Facial Expression: All veteran Fucker Uppers know that a solid sorry is only complete with the appropriate sorry face. This does not mean channeling the Olsen twins (circa 1990) and making poochie faces. An insincere apology can be spotted from a mile away - especially if your eyes wander over her shoulders to catch the umpteenth rerun of the friggin IPL. The apologizer MUST channel the adult in him (hard, but worth the effort), look deep into the eyes of the Wronged One and take responsibility for being a champion bozo.
4. To the Pros: Some smarties amongst us figured out long ago that the best away to reduce time spent in the doghouse is to immediately apologize. They've got the inflection, prefixes and facial expressions down pat. However, they are eventually recognized as repeat offenders and much like the Boy Who Cried Wolf, get a rather gory ending.
5. Intent: And so we get to our next essential point:Apologize only when you mean it. Only when you acknowledge that your actions messed someone up. If you don't get it, save your breath for when you go hunting for new friends.
6. Sorry isn't a standalone word: Just saying sorry without conveying what you're sorry about makes no sense. The bigger the mess, the longer the discussion must be. Sorry boys - try to stay awake.
7. Sorry cannot be replaced with expensive gifts: This does NOT however mean that it can't be accompanied by them.
8. Sorry cannot be said via email or sms: Do not - I repeat - do NOT use the internet or a pager to do your dirty work - unless you are trapped under a 20 tonne truck and have just enough life-force left in you to text the Sorry template to the Wronged One.
9. Sorry cannot be conveyed through Third-Party: Saying sorry through beloved sister, mother or best bud is wrong. If it's done through an ex-girlfriend, that's even worse. There's no excuse for third-party-apologizing unless there's a restraining order against you; in which case you've made bigger messes than the one you're apologizing for.
10. Follow On: An apology means nothing if your subsequent actions don't back up the apology. "Sorry I frolicked with Seeta" does not work if you're out partying with Geeta 2 weeks later.
PS: One will notice that this blog assumes that most of the apologizing will be done by men. Since, it is in this blogger's experience that 99.93214% of the times it is in fact the male Homo Sapien who fucks up (and since said blogger is only 0.06786% imperfect), this post has been tailored accordingly.
For those who disagree, two words: Jesse James.
For those who still disagree: Sorry.