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Saying I’m Sorry

A friend screwed up recently.  Not in a big way – she just forgot to pick up the milk delivery from our house (again.)  We all screw up.  The important thing is what comes next:

Technique #1:  Avoidance

We’ve all done this one – just keep going, avoid eye contact, and hope nobody notices…and wallow in guilt.

Technique #2:  I’m Sorry

An authentic apology is indeed a fine art, requiring courage, empathy and the ability to look someone in the eye and own our mistakes.

Technique #3:  Get Creative

This may take the form of a gift or handmade card, or simply a wildly creative email that will leave the recipient in utter amazement so that they can’t possibly feel angry/frustrated/annoyed at you.  This is what my friend chose to do – a truly playful apology.  She can forget to pick up her 12 liters of milk from my overflowing fridge any time she likes if she writes me emails like this (names & locations have been changed to protect the guilty…):

Lets down family and friends

Associated Press
13 February 2010
Vancouver, Canada

In a development that surprises no one, Kathryn Miller, to all appearances a typical Canadian housewife, has revealed the depths of forgetfulness achievable by a truly scatterbrained specimen.

Having confirmed her milk pick up no less than 4 times with her associates the Juliussons and her husband, she could not explain to reporters how she managed to forget her three substantial jugs of valuable, farm-fresh local milk. “I had carpooling today! It’s our first day back to school! It just slipped my mind, okay?”, said Miller as she tried to get her younger child out of a minivan with his lunchbox and mittens.

A disappointed Ross Hanson, Miller’s husband and partner of many years, just shook his head when confronted with events. “Well, it’s happened before… so no one really… counts on having milk around here…”, he revealed when pressed.

The Juliussons, whose standard-size kitchen fridge is currently burdened with Miller’s milk overload, couldn’t be reached by phone for comment.
– Rita Skeeter

There is real grace in her playful response and forgiveness was easy – as Renee Zellweger says in the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire, “You had me at hello.” The time & creativity she put into her apology still have me grinning.  What better apology than that?

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Rick March 2, 2010, 4:14 pm

    Nice attempt, friend, but I’m still bitter. Bitter because I couldn’t come up with a response even remotely clever enough to match this. Praises for clever friends!