If you talk about the apologee's thoughts, emotions, or feelings you are not apologizing.
- I'm sorry you felt that I....
- I'm sorry you thought I...
- I'm sorry you misinterpreted me
- You made me XXXX, but I'm sorry I X.
- I'm sorry I let you push me to doing X.
- You did X, so I did Y... and I'm sorry for doing Y.
If you are not willing to make amends, correct wrongs, and swear on all that is holy that you plain just fucked up.... this is not an apology.
An apology is you recognizing yourself as being a flawed individual. You did/said something you realize was not acceptable. You feel like you made an error against someone and are trying to make it right. Chances are, if you feel like you're being forced to apologize, it won't be genuine. If you're doing it for someone else, to make someone else happy, it won't be genuine.
If you lied about someone, and these lies got back to them, it's not enough to just apologize to the person you lied about. You have to reach out and apologize to all those you told lies to for not being honest with them. Otherwise, it's obvious you don't feel bad about the mistakes you made, or you don't recognize them as mistakes at all.
If you don't feel personal and internal guilt for the actions you committed, for the words that you said, there's no use in apologizing. I think this is where most people tend to fail. If you don't feel bad for throwing the phone out the window, for not calling and checking in, for spreading hatred in abundance... then what's the point? If you're not making a conscious effort to stop being the person you were that committed the trespass, then don't apologize. If you don't recognize all that you did/said as being wrong, then don't apologize.
We as a society expect apologies to ring out from all around us. I'm sorry I bumped into you. I'm sorry I cheated. I'm sorry I told your friends you were talking about them when you weren't. I'm sorry I didn't listen to you. I'm sorry I believed in someone so false. I'm sorry I am such a piece of shit.....
Sometimes they come. Sometimes they don't. The point is, we shouldn't expect them. We shouldn't force our kids into saying they're sorry they lied about taking a cookie, when in reality, they're only sorry they got caught in the lie. Why make someone apologize when they don't see their actions as wrong? We can try and make them realize what they did/said as being out of tune with the expectations that were set upon them. We can try and tell them that lying is wrong... but if they don't believe it, don't make them apologize. If they're so twisted in their own mind that they don't realize the mistakes they've made, if they don't understand what they've done, if they don't understand the grievances they've brought onto the world, however large or small - why make them apologize. It takes these words of "I'm sorry." and turns them into the biggest white lie we say every day.
On the other hand, if you know you messed up. If you feel you did wrong. If you hurt someone intentionally or otherwise and you feel really, truly, genuinely bad about it... apologize! An apology can mean a lot to someone wronged. If you forget to call and check in and you realize when you get home and you feel bad about it, say you're sorry. If you lose your temper and freak out and feel like it was the wrong thing to do, let the person you yelled at know that you feel bad about your actions. Letting the person you wronged know that you realize you messed up is a very important step in the road to recovery.
So, kid that threw a rock at his brother. You know you wanted to throw that rock... don't apologize.
So, husband that cheated on his wife. You wanted to cheat, you only feel bad you hurt her, but you're not really sorry because you're going to do it again... don't apologize.
That's the end of my message to the world on apologies. Make them if you should, don't if you shouldn't. Simple, really.
If you're actually sorry, really truly sorry... Not for how you broke up friendships, or the consequences of your actions, but the actions themselves... If you realize that lying is wrong, that bending the truths to suit an evil agenda is wrong, that continuing to make two innocents out as bad people when they most definitely are not is wrong... if you realize these things, if you feel a deep pit in your soul for being so wrong so often, for continuing to propagate lies and stick to your make believe stories... if you're willing to admit all the wrong doings you've done to me, to your wife, to your old friends, to everyone you spoke ill about us to... if you're willing to stop immediately in your tracks, to take it all back, to talk to all those you lied to and apologize to them (this list grows by the day). If you really are sorry for being such a hugely awful person, and you have miraculously changed or are working your ass off to change... I'd be open to hearing it. I'm curious to see what in your life changed so drastically from May 31st to now June 10th (that's just 10 days), that made you realize all of the above and want to apologize.
If you don't really feel you did any erroneous wrong, if you think that your actions and words were okay in any way what so ever, don't bother. If your plan in place is to try and get an apology out of me, you will not find one issued from my lips tonight or any other night.