Did you know that I know how to spot a fake apology? It's actually kind of like a super power of mine. But more to the point, a lot of people who get blocked on any of my various social media sites want to get around their blocking just to do whatever the hell they did to get them blocked, but some of them are genuinely repentant. How do you spot the difference, because to tell you the truth, it's not always easy. I'm going to go more into detail about this in Brian's a Bad Father because it has some of the worst, most half-assed non apologies that I've ever seen. Well mostly. Reality is stranger than fiction. But I'm going to use that episode as some of these examples, along with things that people have actually tried to say to me to pretty much do the same shit again.
How many first person pronouns do they use?
This is the rule of thumb. If there's a first person pronoun that doesn't involve "I'm sorry" or "I messed up pretty bad" or something along those lines, it's generally a bad apology. The apology is about the person who had been hurt, not about the person who hurt them. "I want to be your friend again." "I couldn't control myself" "I had a bad day" "Are you still my friend?" "I just miss you so much." A lot of these are just excuses, and we'll talk about that in a bit. But the more first person pronouns a person uses, the less genuine their apology is likely to be. The apology should be focusing on your feelings, not theirs. When an apology focuses on the person who did the hurting, what they're really saying is "I'm not sorry that you're hurt; I'm sorry that you're mad at me" or alternatively "accept my apology so I can scratch this off of my to-do list."
Believe it or not; if you're sorry, you actually don't need an excuse. Those people who say their only assholes because they have Asperger's Syndrome are definitely not sorry. Now, what if their excuse is true? Then they'll truly have regret for what they did and won't hide behind it unless they're lazy. There's actually one more excuse that I hate more than the "I have Asperger's so I can be a douche" excuse. It's the "You know that I didn't mean it." Apology will be denied on the spot because I really don't know if that's true, now do I? You didn't mean it. Right... except you did. Most "excuses" don't do much more than remove inhibitions, meaning that the original thoughts or feelings were still there. Bottom line, a genuine apology will NEVER (I cannot stress this enough) give you an excuse. Think about it. If there is a genuine excuse, then they're just going to do the same thing again and you're going to get hurt in the same way again.
On those same lines. "I'm sorry, but..." But will negate the sorry and will ramble into an excuse. Also in this, "I'm sorry if this sounds racist, but <insert fucked up conversation." No you're not because you're a racist.
They don't acknowledge what they actually did
This sounds obvious on the surface. But, "I'm sorry that I hurt you" sounds vastly different then "I'm sorry I forgot to feed your dog an caused him to run away." Maybe give them the benefit of the doubt in that they might actually not know what they did, so don't be vague about it. If you're willing to talk to this person again, tell them exactly what they did wrong, and give them time to process it.
The habit isn't broken
If the person your dealing with has alcoholism, drug addiction, or what have you, then you can't really forgive them until they've gone through getting themselves clean. Trust me on this one. If they're truly repentant then getting forgiveness should be incentive enough. That brings us to...
The Peter Griffin Scenario
In Brian's a Bad Father both the A-plot and the B-plot deals with forgiveness in an extremely half-assed way. At the start of the episode, Peter Griffin shoots Quagmire and that puts him in the wrong. Quagmire no longer wants nothing to do with him. Now, relating back to the real world (it's complicated. People in Family Guy get shot all the fucking time), let's just say that Peter hurt Quagmire through some continuous habit of his own. Quagmire's had enough, and he's actually in the right do so. Skipping to the end of the episode, Peter tells Quagmire to shoot him in order to make things even, to which Quagmire obliges. Who's the bad guy? Well... everyone. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind Quagmire, and even if you did shoot him it wouldn't stop Peter's carelessness from shooting you again. This solution would not solve the overall problem. Before an apology can be accepted, the problem that caused the pain must be removed or you're back to square one.
Here's the other thing. Peter wasn't truly repentant. He wanted Quagmire to say no. I'm not saying that he should have been shot; obviously, I just said the opposite. But it's an example of "I want your forgiveness because everyone thinks I'm a jerk" (because I hurt you). What I'm saying is that the apology-giver should be willing to make it up to the person who's been hurt. Here's how this should have gone down. When Quagmire took the gun, he should have had no intention to shoot, but to see how Peter reacted. Due to how Peter reacted, Quagmire would have refused the apology and the story could have ended with them making it up, instead of Peter suffering from severe brain damage.
The Brian Griffin Scenario
If Herpe, The Love Sore wasn't hanging over my shoulder, this would be Brian Griffin's worst appearance due to how he deals with apologizes. He didn't want to make up to his son until he had something to gain, you know, after skipping all of the hard parts of being a father. He pushes his limits too far without even thinking of his son, and when he gets booted he only thinks of himself. He doesn't think of how Dylan might have been embarrassed, how his credibility was tarnished (Brian got a job based on his word). Brian only thinks of himself. But actually, Stewie's line what pisses me off the most. "Isn't taking that risk (that you'll be hurt badly again) better than not having a dad?" No. Just no. Let me be clear. You don't forgive someone just after they say they're sorry, but that they regret what they did, specifically because it harmed that other person. Brian never does that. Ever, and Dylan probably won't appear again.
But back to the bottom line. This episode does piss me off in a very personal way, but it really has allowed to figure out who is being truthful and who just wants to mess with me again. It's not in the emotions either. There are some damn good actors in the world, but through the crocodile tears you've got to see the words and intentions. One final note, if someone says that they need a few days to think it over, you probably should listen, because not respecting their wishes shows off your apology as fake.
I think that I know what the next Growing Around episode is going to be about.