Stop Making Excuses and Apologize

Seth Godin’s recent post, Might as well burn that bridge…,[1] highlights the importance of apologizing when you have wronged somebody, which we all do on a regular basis. While his advice is intended more for marking and business relationships, it is equally applicable to familiar relationships. Two points seem relevant:

  • The person you have hurt doesn’t “want an excuse, a clever comeback….”
  • “Here are some of the magic words that might help:”
    • “I”
    • “sorry”
    • “thank you”

Progeny don’t care about your adult excuses. They just want to hear: “I’m Sorry.” Similarly, partners don’t want to know how or why you misunderstood or misinterpreted them[2] or how well intentioned you were, they just want to an honest apology.


  1. with an unfortunately long title.  ↩

  2. To be sure, people often do not say what they mean and then seem to get mad at you for not divining what they meant. But at that moment, they certainly don’t want to know how they were misleading or how their half-articulated ideas were confusing. And perhaps they weren’t babbling in half-articulated thoughts.  ↩

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