The road to forgiveness is not easy and especially when the other person, the one seeking forgiveness, isn’t sincere with their apologies. They know what they’ve done wrong but they are incapable of feeling remorse or guilt over it.
And when they come seeking forgiveness, their insincere apologies can make you feel worse than ever.
An insincere apology is a non-apology and can often cause the slow burn of resentment to sow its roots in your heart. A fake apology offered to you can make you feel slightly manipulated and even invalidated; like all your efforts are equal to nil.
The one offering the fake apology might be doing it out of the goodness of their heart but it can still cause anger and insecurity to fester, harming the relationship.
Learning how to spot and respond to a fake apology can protect your relationships from faltering. Read on to know how you can spot an insincere apology and how to respond to a fake apology.
Is The Apology Real Or Fake?
Insincere apologies can be manipulative and even defensive. Many people use a fake apology as a defense and resort to denying their faults. They may even play the victim or blame others to get out of the confrontation.
Here are some common signs of an insincere apology;
1. There’s A “But”
If the apology is followed by “But”, then you know it’s a fake apology. This often states that the person apologizing is saying that they’re sorry, but they are not truly sorry about it.
Instead, they are trying to make you feel like they were wronged somehow, and now they owe you an apology. They believe that they are the true victim and their apology is just not warranted.
2. Misplaced Intention
Another common red flag when it comes to insincere apologies is that the apology often has a misplaced intention. It sounds genuine but in reality, the other person is acknowledging a miscommunication but is not sorry for what happened. For example, “I’m sorry you took it that way, but you’re completely missing the point!”
3. Indirectly Blaming You
If the apology often comes with a declaration of overreaction, then it could be a fake apology. By doing this, the other person is blaming you for your feelings and how you can’t seem to understand their point of view. They think that it’s your fault for the way you reacted because they are right and did nothing wrong.
4. Apology With An Excuse
Again, if an excuse is followed by an apology, then it’s not a sincere apology. This kind of sorry is said to defend the person’s actions, but not to atone for them. Because they want to move the blame away, they will invalidate your feelings by making an excuse. For example, “I’m sorry, but it’s your problem that you can’t accept the truth.”
5. Apology With A Condition
In our childhood, we often fight with our friends and siblings and in our naivety, we often add a condition to the apology. So as adults, when you hear an apology with a condition, then you can’t blame it on our lack of wisdom.
This apology is an insincere one. This means that the person apologizing just wants to get it over with. For example, they’ll say, “I’ll say sorry when you drop the subject.”
6. Accusations With Apology
Another big red flag is hearing an apology with an accusatory tone. This is not apologizing; this is indirectly accusing someone. The other person might say “sorry” but they’ll twist their apology to make it sound like you’re in the wrong.
For example, they’ll say, “I only did it because you asked me to!” This is, in a way, a denial of their faults.
Examples Of Insincere Apologies
Some studies done over the years have shown that a sincere apology consists of empathy, emotion, and timing. When the person apologizing is empathetic, and emotional, and chooses the right timing to word their apology, only then it could be considered a sincere apology.
Also, a sincere apology will often;
Express remorse, and even
Some common fake apologies you may hear can sound like this;
I’m sorry, but…
I already said I was sorry
I’m sorry, but you’re just being too dramatic and overly sensitive about it
I will say I am sorry if you will just stop talking about it
I guess I owe you an apology
I’m sorry, and I won’t do it again if you…
Okay enough, I’m sorry, alright? Just drop it!
I’m sorry if you were offended. I was kidding
How To Respond To A Fake Apology?
Now that you know how to recognize an insincere apology, here are some ways you can respond to a fake apology;
1. Point It Out
When you’re offered a fake apology, then instead of standing there and taking it silently, point out the insincerity. Tell the person offering the apology that it’s not a genuine apology and even though they’re saying it, their actions will not change. Explain your reasons for pointing it out and help them understand where they are wrong.
2. Reinforce Your Boundaries
When someone offers an insincere apology, you can try to reinforce your boundaries by reminding them that you will not accept their insincere behavior. Let them know that you have limits that you won’t cross and asking to accept a fake apology is one of those limits.
Be assertive and calm when explaining your boundaries. Any waver in your boundaries can make others feel comfortable breaking them again.
3. Ignore The Apology
Another way you can respond to a fake apology is to not accept it. You shouldn’t accept an apology when the person is not going to feel remorse over their actions. If you’re offered an insincere apology and when you refuse to accept it, it tells the other person that you’ll not tolerate this behavior. If the other person has a vengeful attitude, then make sure you are in a safe space to hold the conversation.
4. Tell Them To Reflect And Try Again
When we fail, we try again, right? So why not with apologies? If you are receiving an insincere apology, then try to explain to the other person why you can’t accept the apology and tell them to reach out again to apologize when they’ve truly reflected on their mistakes and are ready to sincerely apologize.
This will also help the other person to figure out what they did wrong and learn how to correct it.
When it comes to apologizing, no one needs to rush. We all receive insincere apologies from time to time, and while they are not inherently harmful, they can make you feel bad, humiliated, manipulated, and invalidated.
If it’s apologies without change or is followed by blame, accusation, excuse, or conditions, then it could be a sign of a fake apology. Remember, that you don’t have to accept the apology when it’s insincere.
I hope the above-listed ways to respond to a fake apology (or any apology, really) will help you. For more, you can write to us at email@example.com or DM us on social media.
You can also share your thoughts and tips with us in the comments section below.