Wednesday, November 01, 2006

When You Fuck Up

NCIS would have you believe that apologizing is a “sign of weakness”. That’s what Gibbs would say on this marvellous TV show.  This is a statement that has stuck in my craw since the first time I heard it. I understand why it’s bullshit now more than ever.

Just very recently, I made a sad-assed mistake with one of my very best friends. The mistake itself is not relevant; suffice it to say that I spoke out of turn and hurt my dear, dear friend.

On the one hand, I could do the Gibbs thing and refuse to apologize, since I am not weak!

Or alternately, if this friend will find room for forgiveness, I am given to apologize profusely and with very sincere regret.

I could see Gibbs’ scenario with regards to federal agents not wanting to appear weak in front of suspects et al, and so as a matter of course, would refrain from doing so, in case it slipped out during an interview.

However, I firmly believe that caring for and nurturing a friendship entails acts of much higher courage, once in a while, such as asking for forgiveness when a mistake has been made.

The ideal situation is to be perfect all the time and thusly never make mistakes that would require apologies. Such is not my case. No one is perfect, not I, not anyone, much as each of us would like to believe. The pressure to be at our best at all times is high enough without adding utopic perfection to the weight.

Once the bad has been committed, there remains only one single course of action for any kind of salvage of the friendship, and that is to keep the lines of communication open. Without this primordial umbilical cord all hope of regaining what was is lost.

Words have this uncanny ability to stay. It has been proven by philosophers and communication-majors that once a word is out, it can never again be recalled. It will forever, sometimes regrettably, affect the other party.

This is why it becomes critically important to keep channels open in order to at least tamper the effect with, you guessed it, more words. Explanations maybe, or simple compassion is often more appropriate, in this case sincere regret.

This is where the apology comes in. It is the groundwork for building a new relationship between the interlocutors. The friendship may be damaged, but forgiveness yields new ground to break, for the work to continue on, despite the bent-up shape it’s in now.

If the friendship was true it should be able to withstand such an assault that a mistake can unleash.

I wish I hadn’t hurt my friend’s feelings,
In fact, I wish I hadn’t made any mistake in the first place,
I certainly wish to salvage a friendship,
I wish to make things right again,
I wish for forgiveness,
I wish for… friendship to prevail.

As much as I wish all these things, my mistake has been committed, and because of it, none of these depend on me anymore, it all depends on my friend.

There are only two things I can possibly do to rekindle the friendship: apologize, and hope.

And I am, very sincerely, doing both.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow thanks so much i really needed to hear all that really did.

Your Friend

November 01, 2006 4:45 p.m.  

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