Think of something that makes you angry. I’m talking really angry. When it happens, you’re like, “WHAT?! Why is this happening?! The universe must be mad at me because, god, what the HELL did I do to deserve this?!?!”
If you actually talk like this, message me. We should have started hanging out long ago.
This is the angry face I’m looking for. Just without the gun. Which is a fake. I promise.
I’ll give you my example: I hate when the internet isn’t working perfectly. I realize the internet is a luxury that not everyone has. When it isn’t working, it’s not the end of the world. I still have a job, still can pay my bills, and still have time to pursue acting and writing. However, when the internet does go out at our apartment (aka “Tango Sur North”) you’d think that someone told me I just lost all of those things. Without getting too detailed, my reaction usually involves a lot of cursing and sometimes throwing things.
The most recent time this happened, it was fairly late and I was getting ready for bed. The internet went out. Not only was I unable to watch the rest of my show on Netflix (this is a big deal before bed) but I also would have issues starting my day the next morning. This was clearly unacceptable. I stormed out of my room into the living room, where my roommate Eric was playing video games. I proceeded to furiously work on our router. *Insert lots of cursing and sighs of exasperation here.* An hour and a half later, still no internet. I went to bed in a very unhappy state.
The following morning, I apologized to Eric for my childish behavior the night before. This wasn’t the first time I had to apologize to a roommate for something like this. Yet every time I did apologize, I would end up doing the same stupid thing in the future. And that, my friends, is where we need to be careful.
Apologies lose meaning if you know you’re going to be unpleasant again later. It doesn’t mean apologizing doesn’t help. But if you go right back to your old ways and continue to be unpleasant, it doesn’t bode well.
I’ll give a couple of examples. I used to work for a manager who was extremely unpleasant. He was verbally abusive and sometimes made other employees cry during shift. Once I was sitting down with him for my year-end review. Before it even came time for me to give my thoughts, he told me he was well aware of his flaws and was sorry for his behavior. At the time, I actually believed him. Yet he was back to his barking ways the very next day. After this, his apology became useless.
Another time I was on a very expensive film set. The director gathered everyone together before the shoot to give us a pep talk. He was so nice and friendly! I got really excited for the shoot itself. He also warned us that he could get cranky sometimes and not to take it personally. This was an understatement. He was constantly yelling at his crew, sometimes actors. By the end of the day, I didn’t care about his pep talk anymore. I just cared about leaving so that I would (hopefully) never have to see him again.
So guys, next time you find yourself apologizing for that stupid thing you’re going to do later, think about the “later” part: Is your friend really going to accept your apology? Or is he going to ask you to move out because you keep breaking other people’s possessions every time the internet goes out?
…I swear I don’t actually break things. Or possessions.