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What to Do When Someone Apologizes but Keeps Doing the Same Thing?

“I’m sorry” – two words that have enormous power. They can make things better and take the pain away.

You reduce the power of these words if you say them and don’t mean them.

Sincerity is an essential part of an apology. Without it, it loses its meaning. Yes, an apology can take the pain away, but it also can cause even more damage.

Apologies have become all too automatic these days, unfortunately. They are done automatically, without any natural desire for change, just like another mechanical action.

Has it ever happened to you that someone apologizes to you, you believe it, and then he continues the same? That’s a bad feeling, isn’t it?

Attractive Afro American woman sitting on bench outdoors in the park feeling dissapointed aftre conversation with friend

You no longer want to fall into the vicious circle of false apologies, and you want to know how to avoid it next time.

Continue reading this article to learn more about fake apologies and the people behind them, and how to react the next time in that situation.

What is a fake apology?

A term commonly used for fake apologies is fauxpology or non-apology apology.

A fauxpology is a false apology that someone says to tell someone that he is sorry but does not mean it.

We can find fake apologies all around us. They are also common in pop culture.

Take the example of Will Smith and his apology after punching Chris Rock on the red carpet. Everyone saw his apology as fake. He only apologized so he wouldn’t lose his acting privileges.

Youtubers are also known for fake apologies. They create a problem and apologize later only for their views, not because they mean it.

What are the different kinds of fake apologies?

There are different types of false apologies, and we will list some:

“I’m sorry, but…” – this is probably the most common fake apology.

I am sorry, but I don’t think you should have done it that way. Or, I am sorry, but that hurts me too. I am sorry I have cheated on you, but you made me.

Does this sound familiar to you? An apology followed with a but is a huge red flag.

“You are taking it all wrong” – Yes, you will get an apology and detailed reasons that you completely misunderstood everything. You got it all wrong, but here’s a fake apology just like that, like that will help you. Why such an apology at all?

“You are too sensitive” – Along with this apology, you will also get an explanation of how you are too sensitive.

You will probably hear also that you take everything seriously or that you don’t know how to take a joke. In this way, they are just shifting the blame from them to you.

“I’ll apologize if”… – this is more kind of deal than an apology.

A typical example of this apology is I’ll apologize if you apologize first.

Negotiating the terms of the apology destroys its meaning. The apology that comes with a condition is not genuine.

“I was just”… – this is a minimizing apology.

Minimizing apologies tends to mitigate the blame of the person apologizing, remove it entirely or even shift it at you.

“I’m sorry for everything” is a one-size-fits-all kind of apology.

It’s easiest to say I’m sorry for everything without thinking about the reasons for apologizing.

The other side is not interested in why you feel you need an apology.

“Enough already, I apologize!” – this is a get-of-my-back apology.

This apology is very ironic and fake. The person has no intention of apologizing but just wants you to stop bothering him by asking him to apologize. They may not believe they did anything wrong and want to end the argument.

What types of people have a habit of making false apologies?

The answer to this question is complicated because everyone makes false apologies sometimes.

What matters is what qualities are associated with a person who does it constantly and without remorse.

People who often give false apologies are naturally selfish and manipulative. They are narcissists, and they don’t have a problem gaslighting you.

What are the consequences of fake apologies?

Side view young woman looking away at window sitting on couch at home

There are various consequences of false apologies. Their main characteristic is that they create a circle of mistrust.

After constant false apologies, we can feel hurt, betrayed, disappointed, and bitter.

It’s much worse if the person giving us a fake apology is someone we care about than when it’s someone we don’t care.

One thing is sure; a fake apology can permanently ruin relationships.

What are the characteristics of a proper apology?

A genuine apology has these characteristics:

  • It does not include unnecessary words such as but, if, and similar;
  • Shows empathy and understanding of other person’s feelings;
  • It does not shift the blame to another person, but the person is aware of their guilt and shows remorse;
  • It is unconditional;
  • Offers a commitment to avoiding hurtful behavior in the future;
  • Understands that “I’m sorry” is just enough, and take actions to fix the problem.

What should you do when someone offers you a fake apology?

Two girls having hard talk, polemic and argue between friends, sisters or roommate concept

The first choice is to accept it. That is the path of least resistance. Choosing this sounds bad, but if it’s something that doesn’t bother you, but you just notice it, it doesn’t have to be toxic.

If you feel intimidated by fake apologies, you must let the other person know that it bothers you. We found that fake apologies are a form of manipulation, and you don’t need to put up with it.

If you let them get away with it, you know that it will happen again, as it always has until now. That’s why it’s important not to keep silent no matter how much the argument is over your head.

Do not approach in a hostile manner because you will not achieve anything that way.

If you conclude that all your talk has no effect and that the other person will not change anything in their behavior, perhaps you should reduce contact with them.

To conclude,

Apologies bring people together. Their power is to heal all wounds and bring good changes in relationships with others. Don’t let false apologies destroy your faith in those right ones.