The Ugly Side of Apology

9 Oct

I had a new experience the other day–and, it wasn’t pleasant. I actually had an apology ungraciously  rejected…and it felt really bad. Really bad.I’ll give you a little backstory–my five year-old son and a friend from class have what you would call a “volatile relationship.” What I mean by this is that one provokes the other, they scuffle a lot, then make up. Scuffle again. Compete for Alpha Male. You know the drill.

Well, it happened again in class. This time the teacher called to tell me my son “almost hit” his friend, and they wanted me to know. So, at pick-up, I administered the proper discipline and lecture about how to use words to resolve conflict, not physical force. My oh my–how my words would prove untrue just 24 hours later!untitled

The next morning, I approached the friend’s Mom and apologized for my son’s behavior, explained how I had disciplined him, empathized with her feelings and waited for the obligatory “It’s fine–my son has been physical with your son before. They’re boys!” It never happened.

Instead, she refused to meet my gaze, told me how upset her son was, and argued that her son had told her my son actually hit him–contrary to the teacher’s report.

Honestly, I didn’t know how to react.

In 40 years, I’ve never had an apology rejected–much less for something I didn’t even do!  I have to admit–it hurt. I even shed a few tears. And, I should add something. I’ve never rejected an apology.

But, it was later that my husband explained that I did my part by putting the apology out there. I can’t control what happens to it.

So, I learned something new–you can attempt repair, but, after that, it’s up to the other person how it’s handled. And, you just have to be O.K. with that.


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