Author Topic: What to do when an apology is not accepted  (Read 6096 times)

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cass2591

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #30 on: January 13, 2014, 08:08:19 PM »
As we age, our perception of how things are said varies or changes. We interpret things totally differently and sometimes "hear" things in tone that aren't there. Try to be understanding of our elderly.

The Op is 34, her Dad is most likely in his 50s or 60s, nowhere near elderly.

Now see, I actually did see that she is 34 when she posted it in her OP, but thanks for reinforcing it.  ;)

Perhaps elderly was not the correct choice of wording; however, the effects of aging can hit at any stage.

Pardon me for suggesting a behavior strange to the father should be anything other than UNconcerning.

And she's off, right out of the gate with the snark.

Please try to be a bit more diplomatic in your posts.
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BestNanaEver

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #31 on: January 13, 2014, 08:25:58 PM »
I'm sorry if you interpreted my post as "snark" but that's on you. It wasn't meant that way.

And while you're chastising me I hope that works for the other poster involved as well since her post could be conceived as snark toward me as well.  ???

Have a great evening!

Zizi-K

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #32 on: January 13, 2014, 09:05:39 PM »
I have something of the opposite situation with my father - he's the passionate argumentative one who can veer into the condescending when in the heat of an argument. I for the most part do realize that this is just his style and he actually does not think I am dumb or anything else negative. Once in a while, though, I get more upset about it than usual. Maybe I've had an off day, maybe I didn't get enough sleep, who knows - the emotional state of humans is anything but constant! So, I would chalk up dad's reaction to just being more sensitive. I don't think the comment was so out of line, but hey - there are those days when someone looks at you funny and it's the end of the world. If either my dad or myself became that upset, it would also take us a little while to get over it. The apology would be appreciated, but yes it would probably have soured the visit. In that situation, I think the best course would have been to say "Dad, I'm sorry, it's clear that I've upset you. I didn't mean to imply anything negative, and I agree that I stated something pretty obvious. I can see why it would upset you. I'm going to go now, and give you some space." Leaving would have been the kind thing to do, because then Dad could have talked it out with mom, taken a nap, or gone for a walk - all things that would help him smooth over his ruffled feathers.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #33 on: January 13, 2014, 09:17:24 PM »
I think there are polite ways and rude ways to not accept an apology. A polite way would be to say "I appreciate you apologising, but I still feel extremely hurt by what you said. It might take me some time to process this." Or even "I don't believe simply saying 'sorry' is enough, because what you said to me was absolutely appalling and disrespectful."

A rude way would be to give the other person the Silent Treatment (like the OP's dad did) or worse, use the apology as an excuse to berate the other person. "So you're sorry, huh? So you d*mn well should be!"

As for the OP's question, if a person didn't accept my sincere apology, I'd simply leave (if possible). The ball's in their court now. I think the worst thing you could do would be to keep on grovelling and apologising.

(And add me to the list of people who think the OP didn't even need to apologise for this incident in the first place!)

cass2591

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #34 on: January 13, 2014, 09:35:34 PM »
I'm sorry if you interpreted my post as "snark" but that's on you. It wasn't meant that way.

And while you're chastising me I hope that works for the other poster involved as well since her post could be conceived as snark toward me as well.  ???

Have a great evening!


I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt because you are new, however we do have previously banned posters who manage to fly under the radar. Some are successful, some are not. Just an observation.

Good luck and I cannot stress enough that if you want to stay on this forum, learn how to be more diplomatic and non apologies, such as informing me that my interpretation of your snark being "on me", is an example of just that.
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BestNanaEver

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #35 on: January 13, 2014, 10:16:20 PM »
Alrighty then. Thanks for being so friendly.

Marbles

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #36 on: January 13, 2014, 10:47:07 PM »
Giving you the silent treatment because he felt that you implied that he was stupid is an over the top reaction. To continue it after receiving a sincere apology was punitive. No wonder you felt like crying. Your instinct to leave at that point was correct, I think.

Psychopoesie

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #37 on: January 14, 2014, 01:38:33 AM »
It doesn't sound like OP's dad has ever reacted this way to her before even though they both seem to enjoy vigorous debate on contentious issues. Sometimes people close down because they're sulking, sometimes because they're too upset to discuss stuff, or they need time to process. Usually, if it's someone close to me, I'd be aware that this was their style of dealing with things - even if their approach hadn't been directed at me before. Yet the dad's reaction seems to have caught the OP by surprise.

If this is a new, out-of-character way of dealing with stuff, it makes me wonder if there's something else going on with OP's dad, completely unrelated to this blow up. Something for the OP to consider.

On the etiquette side if things, think one apology is enough. Personally prefer to give the upset person some space if they're still obviously bothered. Making excuses and cutting the visit short would be one way of calming things down and perfectly polite.

Girlie

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #38 on: January 14, 2014, 03:52:04 PM »
Wow. I feel really bad for the dad in this instance. Not because of what the OP said or did, but because more than one person here is jumping on the "what a bad reaction," "really immature" bandwagon, and I don't think it necessarily WAS a bad reaction.

My husband is like this, you see. When he is arguing a point, fine, whatever. But when his feelings get hurt, he "shuts down." I don't view it as a emotionally immature thing to do - he just, suddenly, doesn't know what to say, and therefore says nothing. When my feelings get hurt by someone, I know it can take time for the sting of it to go away, even if they do apologise.
It's quite easy to say what the dad SHOULD have done, but truthfully, I don't think he or the OP did anything wrong. They were having a discussion, it went a little further than it should have, the father got his feelings hurt and stepped back from the conversation for a moment, the OP reacted emotionally, and then dad reassured his daughter that he in fact did NOT want her to leave.

Considering that this is an otherwise close relationship, I just don't think it's worth too much concern. And I don't think it's fair to jump on dad for it, either. It happened, now it's over.

JeanFromBNA

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #39 on: January 14, 2014, 04:58:31 PM »
Wow. I feel really bad for the dad in this instance. Not because of what the OP said or did, but because more than one person here is jumping on the "what a bad reaction," "really immature" bandwagon, and I don't think it necessarily WAS a bad reaction.

My husband is like this, you see. When he is arguing a point, fine, whatever. But when his feelings get hurt, he "shuts down." I don't view it as a emotionally immature thing to do - he just, suddenly, doesn't know what to say, and therefore says nothing. When my feelings get hurt by someone, I know it can take time for the sting of it to go away, even if they do apologise.
It's quite easy to say what the dad SHOULD have done, but truthfully, I don't think he or the OP did anything wrong. They were having a discussion, it went a little further than it should have, the father got his feelings hurt and stepped back from the conversation for a moment, the OP reacted emotionally, and then dad reassured his daughter that he in fact did NOT want her to leave.

Considering that this is an otherwise close relationship, I just don't think it's worth too much concern. And I don't think it's fair to jump on dad for it, either. It happened, now it's over.

I agree with Girlie.  I don't think that silence is negative.  In this case, Dad may have thought that if he continued to speak he'd say something that he regretted.

And I particularly agree with the bolded.


Onyx_TKD

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #40 on: January 14, 2014, 06:40:31 PM »
Wow. I feel really bad for the dad in this instance. Not because of what the OP said or did, but because more than one person here is jumping on the "what a bad reaction," "really immature" bandwagon, and I don't think it necessarily WAS a bad reaction.

My husband is like this, you see. When he is arguing a point, fine, whatever. But when his feelings get hurt, he "shuts down." I don't view it as a emotionally immature thing to do - he just, suddenly, doesn't know what to say, and therefore says nothing. When my feelings get hurt by someone, I know it can take time for the sting of it to go away, even if they do apologise.
It's quite easy to say what the dad SHOULD have done, but truthfully, I don't think he or the OP did anything wrong. They were having a discussion, it went a little further than it should have, the father got his feelings hurt and stepped back from the conversation for a moment, the OP reacted emotionally, and then dad reassured his daughter that he in fact did NOT want her to leave.

Considering that this is an otherwise close relationship, I just don't think it's worth too much concern. And I don't think it's fair to jump on dad for it, either. It happened, now it's over.

I agree with Girlie.  I don't think that silence is negative.  In this case, Dad may have thought that if he continued to speak he'd say something that he regretted.

And I particularly agree with the bolded.

As someone who does tend to withdraw or "shut down" when a conversation goes into hurtful or IMO overly-confrontational territory, I still think the father's behavior as described in the OP was rude and hurtful. His original reaction of drawing back from the conversation was fine, IMO. But that wasn't where it ended. The OP said:

This weekend I went to see them, and we were discussing a political hot topic (I will say what if asked, but I don't think it's necessarily relevant). We generally have similar political outlooks so it wasn't an argument waiting to happen. In the course of discussion I noticed that my dad had gone quiet and wasn't engaging anymore, so I asked him if I'd upset him. He said yes, and that something I'd said in the course of the discussion (again I am happy to say what, but am not sure its relevant to the question - the point is, I upset him) had upset him. I immediately apologised and said I had meant nothing at all by my comment, certainly not directed at him, and that I was really very sorry. He just nodded and still wouldn't talk to me. Mum and I carried on talking abut something else for another 15 minutes or so, then mum got up to do something in the other room. I then tried to apologise to dad again, and he just told me he was shocked that I'd said what I had, and went back to ignoring me.

So the sequence I see is this:
1. Dad just gets really quiet and pulls back from the offending conversation, while the OP and Mom keep chatting. Perfectly fine, IMO.
2. When the OP asked what was wrong, Dad politely explained that he was upset and why. Again fine.
3. After the OP apologized, he acknowledged the apology, without necessarily accepting it, and "still wouldn't talk to" the OP. IMO, his response to the apology was fine; refusing to talk to her might or might not have been rude, depending on how he went about it. If he just continued to be quiet and withdrawn, OK. OTOH, if he was unwilling to acknowledge or respond to anything the OP said (Cut Direct-type behavior), then he should have removed himself from the situation and left the OP and her Mom to visit without him. You don't give a Cut Direct to your own guest in your own home.
4. The OP's Mom left the room, so that the OP was alone with her Dad. Despite a second apology, Dad refused to interact, basically sentencing his guest to sit in awkward silence until her Mom returned. That is rude. If he truly couldn't bring himself to converse civilly, then he could have suggested that the OP join her Mom, or asked Mom to postpone her tasks in the other room so the OP wasn't left hanging, or, if nothing else, offered the OP a magazine or something to occupy herself with while he excused himself! Anything but sitting there giving the OP the silent treatment when she had no one else to interact with!

Marbles

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #41 on: January 15, 2014, 12:01:56 AM »
Thanks, Onyx. You summed up what I thought was wrong with the father's actions really well.

Girlie

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #42 on: January 15, 2014, 09:39:43 AM »
So the sequence I see is this:
1. Dad just gets really quiet and pulls back from the offending conversation, while the OP and Mom keep chatting. Perfectly fine, IMO.
2. When the OP asked what was wrong, Dad politely explained that he was upset and why. Again fine.
3. After the OP apologized, he acknowledged the apology, without necessarily accepting it, and "still wouldn't talk to" the OP. IMO, his response to the apology was fine; refusing to talk to her might or might not have been rude, depending on how he went about it. If he just continued to be quiet and withdrawn, OK. OTOH, if he was unwilling to acknowledge or respond to anything the OP said (Cut Direct-type behavior), then he should have removed himself from the situation and left the OP and her Mom to visit without him. You don't give a Cut Direct to your own guest in your own home.
4. The OP's Mom left the room, so that the OP was alone with her Dad. Despite a second apology, Dad refused to interact, basically sentencing his guest to sit in awkward silence until her Mom returned. That is rude. If he truly couldn't bring himself to converse civilly, then he could have suggested that the OP join her Mom, or asked Mom to postpone her tasks in the other room so the OP wasn't left hanging, or, if nothing else, offered the OP a magazine or something to occupy herself with while he excused himself! Anything but sitting there giving the OP the silent treatment when she had no one else to interact with!

While I can understand and appreciate your argument, I'm still going to have to play devil's advocate on this one, for two main reasons:
1. OP states that she is very close to her parents. My husband and I are both very close to our parents, as our most of our friends. None of us acts like or expects to be treated like a "guest" when we visit their home. I know it maybe doesn't work that way for everyone, but I think the rules for entertaining immediate family (who are close to you and whom you are on good terms with) are way more lax and the general rules of good etiquette aren't quite so black-and-white. A daughter is different than a neighbor.

2. While OP says that her dad was ignoring her, her description of his actions does not support that. He says nothing, yes, but he does acknowledge her.  He even tells her why he's not engaging at the moment. I don't think he meant to upset her, because when he realized that she was crying, he told her he didn't want her to leave. Maybe what she said just stung, and he needed time to process and think about how he was going to react. That is not rude, IMHO. Not talking to someone for a few minutes is not the same thing as cut-direct behavior.

When I get upset, I'm an arguer. I want to discuss the point until all matters are settled and we can go back to living our happy lives. It took a long time for me to realize that my DH is the same way, and we finally had to make an agreement that if I hurt his feelings and he needs time, he has to specifically ask me to leave him alone (I sometimes miss those cues), and I have to honor his feelings on the subject. He's not being mean. If he were an otherwise bad husband, perhaps it would bother me or perhaps I would view it as passive-aggressive. Because, however, he is actually a very wonderful husband, I have learned to accept and adjust.

All I'm saying is that we should always strive to give other people the benefit of the doubt. I don't think it's fair to call out OP's father for this one-time thing. I don't think it makes him immature, or a bad dad, or a bad host, or anything else. I think it just means that they had one bad afternoon.

magician5

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #43 on: January 15, 2014, 09:44:02 AM »
Looking past who (if anybody) was rude, going forward it might help to take the conversation to a new level: "Dad, what can I say or do to get us past this?"
There is no 'way to peace.' Peace is the way.

MindsEye

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #44 on: January 15, 2014, 11:28:19 AM »
Looking past who (if anybody) was rude, going forward it might help to take the conversation to a new level: "Dad, what can I say or do to get us past this?"

I tend to agree with this.

In getting back to the OP's original question - "Would I have been better to try not to react and stay and hope that dad came round of his own accord, or should I have accepted the non-acceptance of my apology and left immediately? Any advice?"

I think that the bolded would have been your best option.

In general, you (general) do not have to accept an apology that is offered.  Also, you (general) cannot compel someone to accept an apology that you offer.  Indeed, we have had lots of threads here about refused apologies and refusing apologies.

I think that if you offer an apology and it is refused, the best thing to do is to simply let it go.  Drop the rope.  To go on and continue to bring up the attempted apology and to continue to try to push the apology on the other person would be rude, especially if the other person has indicated (either by words or actions) that they do not want to discuss it anymore.