People have many relationships, and it is inevitable that they will be deceived at some point. These deceptions come in many forms, as do the attempts to fix the damage that occured because of it. That is, once the deception has been discovered, the offending party generally offers some form of apology to mend the relationship. However, these apologies may be sincere or they may be simply a token apology, depending on the amount of contrition. This has certainly been the case for me, as I have been deceived many times and have received many different types of apologies. One incident in particular demonstrates how powerful deception and the following apology can be.
This incident happened several years ago and it involves a friend of mine and a girl that we were both interested in. Even though we were friends, we were competing for the same girl, which, of course, is inevitably going to cause conflict, as it often does in situations like this. My friend, however, was willing to sabotage our friendship to get what he wanted. That is, he began spreading lies about me in an attempt to make me look bad so that he would gain the upper hand. This went on for several weeks and involved numerous lies told behind my back. When I began to hear about them from other people, I naturally inquired as to where they were coming from. Some people told me that they had originated from my friend, and when I confronted him about it, he lied and told me that it was not him. I asked him several more times over the next few days, and he lied each time. However, it was not long before I was able to piece everything together, and once I told him that I knew it was him, he tried to apologize.
His apology was not genuine, as it was only to try and save his reputation. He said that he was sorry, and he asked what he could do to make it up to me. However, it was obvious that this was only a token apology, as there was no follow up and no action to back up his words. That is, he could have apologized on subsequent occasions in various ways to demonstrate that he was truly sorry, and he could have proposed actions and followed through on them to correct the damage that he did. According to an article by the BBC, a genuine apology can be discerned from an empty one by looking for three factors. These are “show concern, demonstrate action, and offer reassurance” (Taylor, 2018). In other words, if a person does not do these three things, their apology is probably not genuine. Furthermore, according to Psychology Today, “A true apology needs to be backed by corrective action” (Lerner, 2014). However, he did not do any of these things, thus demonstrating that this was an empty apology.
Therefore, in the end, I chose not to forgive him. This is because he clearly demonstrated that he was not a good person and not willing to do what was necessary to mend our friendship. Had he had given me a sincere apology, along with the necessary action to make things better, I would have considered forgiving him. However, he did not, so I feel justified in not forgiving him. While this was not an easy decision, I believe it was the right one, as he showed me who he really was. In fact, as time went on, he did similar things to other people, thus demonstrating that he had not changed.