Apology is Like Being Served a Meal. What Does Sincerity Have to Do With It?

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Surly waiters are thankfully very rare.

Surly waiters are thankfully very rare.

Is there such a thing as an insincere waiter?

An inattentive waiter, sure. An incompetent waiter, all too often. Even a surly waiter, on thankfully rare occasions.

But if your meal is delivered accurately, politely, in a timely manner, do you ever speculate if the waiter’s heart is really in it?

So why are we so hung up on sincerity and apology?

We seem to be very concerned that we might be duped into accepting an apology from an offender who’s not really sincere. 

For example, NJ governor Chris Christie has offered profuse apologies for his administration’s roll in the George Washington traffic jam stunt. 

But many people suggest that Christie’s apologies are just expressions of political cynicism and he doesn’t really mean them. 

It’s a useless exercise to speculate on what goes on inside another person’s soul. We can never really know for sure, so let it go.

Apology is a Verb

That inner process doesn’t really matter because it’s the performance part of apology that’s important. 

Just like a waiter serving a meal. 

If your dinner is delivered in a professional manner, just accept the meal, thank the waiter, enjoy the meal, and leave a nice tip.

Same thing with Christie’s apology.

Is the apology delivered in a professional manner? Has Christie said the right words? Has he accepted responsibility? Has his body language been appropriate? Has he taken responsive action? Has he made promises about future behavior and, most important, has he kept those promises? 

If the answer to these questions is yes, then Christie has delivered an apology you should be able to accept on the strength of the delivery and his subsequent performance.

Doing anything else is like stiffing a waiter who has performed professionally because you are not sufficiently convinced of his or her sincerity.

 

 

 

 

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