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In which Hank talks about apologies.

I've been thinking about it a lot because some of my good friends did dumb things, realized how dumb they were, and made very good apologies, not because they're good at apologizing but because the legitimately feel bad for the harm that they've caused.

On the other hand, some other people on the internet seem perpetually convinced that the world is out to get them and that they are in a battle to confirm that they are always right. But, y'know, you're never always right, and the fact that you didn't intend to hurt someone has no bearing on whether or not you hurt someone.

ChescaLeigh's video was really helpful for me and is more specific to when you get called out on being inappropriate or hurting an entire group of people with your language or actions...she is REALLY AMAZING...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8xJXKYL8pU
Good morning John.

I'm obviously still in the studio, they're tracking banjo in the other room- didn't ever think there'd be a banjo track on one of my albums. But I'm not here to talk about music today John, I'm here to talk about how to apologize. A slogan of nerdfighteria these past seven years has been Don't Forget To Be Awesome, and that is a good slogan, not because it is easy, but because it is hard. Being awesome requires constant vigilance, and you will slip up, whether because of ignorance or because of selfishness or because of outright malice, or because you're drunk. But you have a choice, after you've done something crappy, you can transform into one of two things. Either you can regain your awesome through actual apology, or you can become a fartbag. 

A fartbag (this is the technical definition) is a person who hurts someone, and then blames the person they hurt for their pain. It's like if I stepped on your toe, and then you were like "ow!" And the I was like "God, stop standing everywhere!".

I understand you didn't mean to step on the persons toe, but you still did, and they're in pain, and you caused it, so apologize.
So I put together some dos and don'ts on how to be awesome, and not be a fartbag.

DON'T blame people for how they feel. If you're telling someone that you've hurt to not be so sensitive, and that they're such a delicate flower and they don't understand how the world works, they don't understand your suffering, what you've been through, you're being a fartbag!

DO feel bad. I am sick of this idea that we are supposed to go through life experiencing the absolute minimum negative emotions. If you did something sucky, you're supposed to feel bad about it, that's the definition of a conscience. That's how it's supposed to be!

DON'T, if you're apologizing, think that you're asking for forgiveness, that's not what you're doing. You have done something crappy to a person, you should not then, like, go forward and make additional requests of them. Yes, you can hope that your apology results in forgiveness, you can hope for that. But you are not requesting that.

DO figure out what you did wrong. Figure it out, understand it, believe it, internalize it. Otherwise your apology is just gonna be a load of poo, because you're not gonna actually think you did anything wrong. Or you're gonna end up blaming the person who is hurt: fartbag. 

DO figure out why you did the hurtful things. Maybe it was because of ignorance, maybe because of insecurity, maybe because you were having a really super bad day and you really needed a snack. Spend that time in your own head figuring out, and then:

DON'T make excuses, but DO provide context. The other person or the people understanding why you did what you did is not going to excuse what you did, it's not going to fix what you did, but it might help them understand why you did what you did, and understanding is a really powerful force in human relationships. 

DON'T just express sympathy, you can express sympathy, but not just that, you also have to accept the blame. You are not sorry that your friend is hurt, you are sorry that you hurt your friend. Tell the people that you've hurt that you can see what you've done, you know that you cannot undo it, but you will not do it again in the future.

DON'T think that you are losing or that you are submitting. The biggest cause of fartbaggery is the belief that all social interactions are zero sum games and that I am trying to win over you, and that if I get you to apologize then I have won some kind of battle.

Apologizing is not a sign of weakness, people say that all the time, it's a sign of strength. It's a sign that you and your ego are strong enough to handle it when you make a mistake. There's been some interesting research on this actually, and it turns out that people who apologize feel weaker, but are perceived as stronger people, whereas fartbags feel stronger but they are  perceived by the people around them as weaker. I know which one of those I'd rather be.

DON'T forget to tell the people you've hurt how you're going to change, and finally:

DO change. Because otherwise, you are just a very eloquent, lying, fartbag.

John, I'll see you on Tuesday.

CHESCALEIGH: Hey guys! So today I'm going to talk about getting called out, and how to apologize. What you're supposed to do when you get called out, and how to apologize so that people believe you, and know you're actually committed to change.