February 9th, 2005


does anyone else do this?

I've noticed something that I do, or lean towards doing (and have for as long as I can remember) that I'm curious to know if other people do.

Say you've screwed up in some way that impacts a friend or family member. It's not a life-or-death screwup, but it's a real disappointment or sadness for them, say, forgetting a dinner date, or failing to recognize some effort that they've made for you. You feel terrible, and so, naturally, you apologize profusely, expressing all the relevant sorrow for having misstepped and your hopes that the apology, while not as good as doing the right thing to start with, will stand in for having done so.

You friend or family member accepts your apology in a genuine way, and you move on.

Only... you're stuck on it. You really feel awful, and you think that your apology didn't actually manage to convey the full impact of how terrible you feel. You want to apologize again and again, perhaps falling to your knees in front of them and begging their forgiveness.

Except, of course, that they've already accepted your apology, and by making a big deal out of it, you're making them responsible for your problem. You've already bummed them out with the original "oops", so it's obviously not fair to make them also soothe you until you feel better about standing them up or what have you.

Does this happen to anyone else? And is there a way of finding a balance -- say a follow-up, "I just wanted to express again my apology," without it becoming a burden, or is it one of those things that you just have to work out on your own?