We called it a social gathering/nite . It held at least once a term. All the students usually participated on a Saturday night. There was dance, drama, quiz, debates and games. It was our own way of getting together. Every class came Sometimes people were put on the spot.
On one of those days of our social nights out when I was still in a very junior class, still in my boarding school, a female senior student was brought out and one of my female classmates (was also brought out) and then the MC asked my classmate to say something about the senior. I am not too sure she thought about what to say before blurting out “you are short”.
It is almost two decades later and I can still remember that statement. I recall telling someone more than a decade ago that her hair looked horrible .I cannot even believe I said something like that but I did and we all most likely have several variations where we have played the part.
In the first case ,although it was true the senior was short, reminding her about something she absolutely had no control over in front of everyone was cruel. It must have hurt her self-esteem and as for my telling that girl that her hair was horrible, that was just a no no. In short, I didn’t realize how bad It was till she started crying minutes later. The ground didn’t open, luckily in spite of my wishes.
From time to time, we will make blunders with our words. Say things we shouldn’t have or perhaps things we should have put in a better way .This ends up hurting the people that we really care about and could really make us feel bad. But what do we do when we discover we have goofed , I mean really goofed.
As for me , I have learnt that the best way to go ahead is to admit firstly I have spoken unwisely and then to apologise as soon as possible. No need rationalizing or trying to give reasons why I said what I said .
I have heard some ladies complain about how their partners never apologize, rather they will prefer to buy gifts to make up. From the conversations I have heard, it seems most ladies would prefer a simple apology rather than a trip to Dubai but we sometimes like to do it the costly way because of ego issues thinking that we will loose face by saying sorry . On the contrariwise, we do not. People are more inclined to respect that individual who returns after doing or saying hurtful things and say one of the three necessary words in the human language I am sorry. The ability to do so is a gift we must all learn to exercise well.
Being able to say we are in the wrong also helps others to identify with us also and this level of vulnerability usually deepens our relationships and I am not just talking about apologizing to our spouses or bosses. I want us to include apologizing to our children, our employees, the househelps and the gateman , those who generally look up to us and to people whom it may look like we are better than , when we have spoken wrongly to them. Strangely enough, it seems apologizing to strangers is easier to do and our courtesies are of the best behaviour outside our homes!
However it is actually a mark of integrity and a strong sense of character to apologize or have the readiness to do so irrespective of the environment/circumstance and if you are in a relationship with someone and cannot remember the last time you apologized or heard an apology, it may be an indicator that something may be wrong. Note I said “may”.
But saying sorry should not just be a tick box exercise as people can tell when we are really genuine , neither should we act like saying sorry means our mates /partners do not have the right for the matter in hand to be discussed or revisited. I meansorry should not be used as a reason to sweep things under the carpet, holding an imaginary but strongly perceptible “touch not” sign to the other party. Sometimes saying sorry is just the beginning of a discussion that will deepen a relationship further as talking about the matter will help those involved in understanding each other better. The genuineness of our apology is shown when we are open for the other person to talk about how they felt hurt so we can use it as a learning curve.
The timing of our apology should also be right as an apology tendered on the brink of asking for a favour may most likely not go down well.Unfortunately some people have only used the wordsorry when it comes to bedtime business and wonder why their mates are not in the mood, being very oblivious of the fact that no one likes being manipulated!
As we round up our series on words ,let us remember we will not always get it perfect all the time and for those times when we don’t , then we have to swallow our pride and say I am sorry. I personally do not believe it is ever too late to give an apology. There is only one person I know who does not ever need to apologize because he can never be in the wrong, thank fully it is not me, and neither is it you. Apart from God, we all need to practise saying I am sorry in all our relationships as the use/misuse/non-use of the phrase can mar or make our relationships .