The Do's And Don'ts Of Apologizing ... So You Can Be Really, Really Awesome

Here are a few tips that might come in handy next time you slip up and do something that warrants an apology.

Transcript:
Show Transcript Hide Transcript

Male: Good Morning, John. I'm obviously still in the studio. They're tracking banjo in the other room. Didn't ever think there would be banjo dragging onto my album, but I'm not here to talk about music today, John, I'm here to talk about how to apologize. So, I'm gonna verify. Terry, these past seven years has been “don't forget to be awesome,” and that is a good slogan, not because it is easy, but because it is hard. Being awesome requires constant vigilance, and you will slip up, whether because of ignorance or because of selfishness or because of outright malice or because you're drunk, but you have a choice.

After you've done something crappy you can transform into one of two things. Either you can regain your awesome through actual apology or you can become a fart bag. A fart bag, this is a technical definition, is a person who hurts someone and then blames the person they hurt for their pain. Its like if I stepped on your toe, and then you were like "ouch!" and I was like "God, stop standing everywhere!" I understand you didn't mean to step on the persons toe, but you still did, and their in pain, and you caused it, so apologize. So, I put together some do’s and don’ts on how to be awesome and not be a fart bag.

Don’t blame people for how they feel. If you are telling someone that you've hurt to not be so sensitive and that their such a delicate flower and that they don't understand how the world works and they don't understand you're suffering, what you've been through, you're being a fart bag!

Do feel bad. I am sick of this idea that we are supposed to go through life experiencing the absolute minimum negative emotions. If you did something sucky, you're supposed to feel bad about it, that's the definition of a conscience. That's how its supposed to be.

Don’t, if you're apologizing, think that you are asking for forgiveness. That's not what you're doing. You have done something crappy to a person, you should not then like go forward and make additional requests of them. Yes you can hope that your apology results in forgiveness, you can hope for that, but you are not requesting that.

Do figure out what you did wrong. Figure it out, understand it, believe it, internalize it, otherwise your apology is just gonna be a load of poo, cause you're not gonna actually think that you did anything wrong or you're gonna end up blaming the person who is hurt. Fart bag.

Do figure out why you did the hurtful things. Maybe it was because of ignorance, maybe it was because of insecurity, maybe because you were having a really super bad day, and you really needed to snap. Spend that time in your own head figuring out and then,

Don’t make excuses, but

Do provide context. The other person or the people understanding why you did what you did is not going to excuse what you did and its not gonna fix what you did, but it might help them understand why you did what you did, and understanding is a really powerful force in human relationships.

Don’t just express sympathy. You can express sympathy, but not just that, you also have to accept the blame. You are not sorry that your friend is hurt, you are sorry that you hurt your friend. Tell the people that you hurt that you can see what you have done. You know that you cannot undo it, but you will not do it again in the future.

Don’t think that you are losing or that you are submitting. The biggest cause of fart baggary is the belief that all social interactions are zero sum games and that I am trying to win over you and that if I get you to apologize then I have won some kind of battle. Apologizing is not a sign of weakness, people say that all the time. It's a sign of strength. Its a sign that you and your ego are strong enough to handle it when you make a mistake.

There has been some interesting research on this actually, and it turns out that people who apologize feel weaker but are perceived as stronger people, whereas fart bags feel stronger but they are perceived by the people around them as weaker. I know which one of those I'd rather.

Don’t forget to tell the people that you hurt how you are going to change it. Finally,

Do change. Cause otherwise you are just a very eloquent, lying fart bag. John, I'll see you on Tuesday.

Female: Hey guys, so today I want to talk about getting called out and how to apologize. What you're supposed to do when you get called out and the way to apologize so that people believe you and know that you are actually committed to change.

There may be small errors in this transcript.
About:

Original by Hank Green of the vlogbrothers.

Topics:

Next bit of Upworthiness:

Flash Video Embed

This video is not supported by your device. Continue browsing to find other stuff you'll love!

Hey, Internet Friend. Looks like you're using a crazy old web browser, which is no longer supported. Please consider upgrading to something more modern—for a better experience, and a safer time online. We only want the best for you.

Download Google Chrome, and try it for a week. Don't think about it, just do it. You'll thank us later.