July 24, 2013

Greg Kesich: Is it time to apologize? Here's how not to do it

Why is it that public figures find it so hard to say 'I did it and I'm sorry' when they get caught?

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So, you may have thought you were being offended but really you were just being woken up. No napping with this governor.

Jackson doesn't need an apology -- this incident may be the best thing that ever happened to him politically.

The publicity surrounding governor's off-color remark could send the Aroostook County lawmaker to Congress in 2014. He announced his candidacy days after LePage guaranteed him 100 percent name recognition.

But the governor's example does provide a few tips for the student of advanced apology avoidance.

• It's not an apology if you apologize for something someone else did. ("I'm sorry that you misinterpreted my playful sense of humor" won't cut it.)

• It's not an apology if the words "I'm sorry" are followed by the words "if" or "but." ("I'm sorry if you are too stupid to understand what I was saying.")

• A bad apology is worse than none at all. If you are not ready to take responsibility for your actions, don't give everybody another reason to be mad at you.

When people in public life master these simple rules, the lost art of the apology could make a comeback.

 

Greg Kesich is the editorial page editor. He can be contacted at 791-6481 or at gkesich@pressherald.com

 

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