I'm Canadian. Stereotypically, Canadians are polite. We say sorry. A lot. But in close relationships--family, friends, coworkers--a sincere apology can go a long way.
When I've been hurt, if I have the nerve to bring it up with the person who hurt me, most of the time, all I need is a sincere recognition of the wrong done, and a simple, "I'm sorry I hurt you." When I hurt someone, it sometimes takes me a while to get to the place where I'm ready to admit I was wrong. But when I do, it is important for me to apologise and let the other person know that I acknowledge and take responsibility for the pain or inconvenience or annoyance I've caused.
So I have an apology to make that is long, long, LONG overdue:
When I was in grade eight (homeschooled), our class at church met every Wednesday night for a bible study. There were four or five of us in the class. Sometime in September (I think), our class teacher, Holly, put on a contest to come up with a name for our class. The prize was to be a cassette tape from the Christian book store. Three of us came armed with ideas, which Holly wrote on the board and then we voted. I knew my suggested name was not the best (Soul Faith? Seriously? What kind of a class name is that?) The best suggestion (which I don't remember) was made by a guy named Andrew. I knew it, he knew it, but somehow the rest of the class vote was divided by gender. I voted for my own idea, of course, being 13 years old and selfish like 13-year-olds can be.
I should have voted for Andrew's suggestion. I knew it then, and I know it now. Andrew thought I got the name from a video game (do I look like I play video games called "Soul Blade?"), and made his case for his suggestion being better. Which it was. But the vote was tied and our teacher had to cast the deciding vote. Andrew was her brother and she thought he was just being grouchy because he was in danger of losing, so she picked my suggestion. I won the contest, but ever since then, I've carried the guilt of "stealing" a prize that rightfully belonged to Andrew.
Now you may think this is a silly thing to apologise for, especially 16 years later. And it probably is. But this is the very first thing that popped into my head when I thought of writing about apologies. I think it just needed to be exorcised.
Although there is a chance that Andrew may read this one day. Holly used to be my grandparents' neighbour, so there's still a slight connection. So, Andrew, I'm sorry for not voting for your suggested name. You were right, my suggestion was dumb. I owe you a cassette tape.
Do you find it easy or difficult to apologise? Do you wait 16 years like me? Does it bother you when people don't apologise to you?