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About apologies? (sorry it's long)

(24 Posts)
thiskiwicanfly Mon 25-May-15 00:06:12

In conversation with someone who forms part of a committee I sit on I asked some questions. These questions should be generally available information to the members of the organisation and I wanted to know the answers. He dithered about answering until I insisted, at which point he said that I wasn't going to like this but he didn't want to tell me as he didn't think I could keep it to myself. This comes on the back of telling other people on the same committee that I am unduly influenced by several members of the organisation who are not on the committee.

Someone came into the space we were working in so I continued helping him with a wee job that he couldn't do on his own and didn't say anything much further (other than letting him know in no uncertain terms that I can absolutely keep my own counsel and requesting the information which he reluctantly gave an incorrect untruthful answer to).

The next day I wrote an email expressing my dismay and hurt at his comments and requesting an apology.

The response came almost a week later and basically said that his comments to me are his opinion and he doesn't have to apologise for that, and that he wasn't responsible for anything else I may have heard so he wouldn't apologise for that either.

AIBU to think that if you cause distress or hurt to someone by making personal attacks on their integrity and independence of thought then you should at least apologise for the hurt? Especially if you have to work together on a committee? Or am I just being precious?

Fatmomma99 Mon 25-May-15 00:10:00

There's not enough information here to comment. Have you broken a work confidence? Have you' gossiped? Is the committee the PTA or the boardroom for the Bank of England?

sorry not to be more helpful.

WorraLiberty Mon 25-May-15 00:10:43

You're not being precious as such because if you're feeling hurt then you're feeling hurt.

Having said that, he shouldn't have to apologise for his opinion if he stands by it.

However, he should back his opinion up with some evidence otherwise he just comes across as fairly nasty.

RainbowFlutterby Mon 25-May-15 00:27:16

At best you would get a non-apology. You can't force someone to apologise for something if they don't believe an apology is warranted.


VanitasVanitatum Mon 25-May-15 00:33:02

If it's information you have a right to know then he should apologise for withholding and lying for sure. If he has expressed to anyone but you that he thinks you are untrustworthy then unless he has evidence, he's totally in the wrong.

thiskiwicanfly Mon 25-May-15 00:34:58

I've never broken a confidence - not my style. However I have told him that some of the things being kept "secret" from members should not be and strongly encouraged more transparency.

Not Bank of England, think club/school type environment.

I guess I have always felt that if you hurt someone's feelings and they let you know that it has happened then you should apologise for hurting them - even if you keep your opinion (if that makes sense). And if you are caught out spreading malicious comments then you should definitely acknowledge it. And there is definitely nothing to back up his comments.

Agree though with Rainbow that if you have to force an apology then it's not really an apology so have decided to let it go (but will be much more reticent with assistance with tasks etc). It has certainly changed how I feel about him.

Happy to accept that IABU though.

thiskiwicanfly Mon 25-May-15 00:36:06

Thanks vanitas that's how I feel in a much more succinct kind of paragraph...

WorraLiberty Mon 25-May-15 00:41:34

I guess I have always felt that if you hurt someone's feelings and they let you know that it has happened then you should apologise for hurting them - even if you keep your opinion (if that makes sense).

No that doesn't make sense to me I'm afraid, not if you keep your opinion.

We can't all take responsibility for other people's feelings when we're stating our honest opinions. As long as that opinion is valid and not put forward in a nasty or deliberately hurtful way, it can sometimes just be unfortunate that someone feels hurt.

For example, if someone is being blatantly sexist or racist and I tell them so, It's not my responsibility to apologise if they feel hurt by me pointing it out.

If anything I'd say that by them telling me they're feeling are hurt, they're trying to distract from the issue or guilt trip me into pretending I didn't really mean it.

Icimoi Mon 25-May-15 08:28:38

There is a sort of view around that if something is your opinion then you should be entitled to state it unchallenged even if your opinion is a load of rubbish. You see it round here sometimes - someone posts something ludicrous, everyone disagrees with it, and the original person goes all hurt and says "It's my opinion and I'm entitled to express it and you're all nasty". Of course you are entitled to express it, but you can't object if people differ from you.

However, if your opinion is backed by good factual evidence then, as Worra says, you don't have to apologise just because someone feels hurt hearing it. Imagine discovering that someone you know has been stealing: if you tell them they are a thief and they tell you that their feelings are hurt, are you seriously expected apologise for it?

Obviously this person thinks you are giving confidential information to the people outside the committee that you are apparently influenced by. It would probably be more productive for you to have a discussion with him about why he things that and, if it is not true. to make that clear to him.

WinterOfOurDiscountTents15 Mon 25-May-15 10:38:42

No. You are not owed an apology just because you feel hurt.

Say for example you do a bad job of something you are doing for me. I tell you its not very good at all. Your feelings are hurt. I don't owe you an apology for that, your feelings are hurt because I told you the truth, not because I did anything wrong.

Now, whether or not he is right, or he has the facts to back up his opinion, thats all debatable and nobody here knows any of that. But he doesn't necessarily owe you an apology.

And to be honest, who wants an apology from someone who isn't sorry? Whats the point?

pillowaddict Mon 25-May-15 10:53:22

If you get an apology but he doesn't change his opinion then it basically consists of "I'm sorry if this upsets you, but I..." and I believe that type of apology is fairly passive aggressive and pointless. I would be more concerned with maybe having a mediated chat with s chairperson and ask him for some evidence/give you a chance to offer explanation or rubbish his concerns. Once it's all cleared up then it would be appropriate for him to apologise if proved wrong. He does sound like he is a bit self important and pompous though.

NRomanoff Mon 25-May-15 11:32:59

YABU on wanting an apology because his opinion hurt your feelings. You kept insisting on getting the information and he told you why he isn't giving you it.

YWNBU to press the point the the information he has given you is wrong and should be available or even pressing the point of why he thinks that. But I don't think he should apologise for his opinion. If he can't back it up and he has no reason to think this then, yes, he should apologise.

He has probably heard something, that makes him think you won't keep it yourself. You have heard that he said things about you. So in that instance, you are both BU, by assuming things that you have heard are true.

DoJo Mon 25-May-15 11:55:16

I suppose if you have previously expressed a desire to have a more open environment as far as information sharing is concerned, then I can understand him being wary of sharing information that you have already stated you think should be made available to all committee members. You may never have broken a confidence in the past, but if he believes that you are trying to bring about a change in the way the committee runs, then having this information could give you leverage to go against his preferred way of doing things.

With regard to your being influenced by others, he is entitled to think that, whether you agree or not.

I can't really see what you think an apology would achieve - you appear to have some fundamental differences in your approaches to the way the committee should be run, both could be equally valid as far as any outsider is concerned. If you want to effect a change, then presumably you will need to go through official channels to alter the group's constitution or working practices rather than hashing it out with him individually.

TapDancingMollusc Mon 25-May-15 11:56:23

I continued helping him with a wee job that he couldn't do on his own

That would have been the point at which I would have said, as you don't trust me with xyz so you're on your own, mate. And walked out.

No-one disses me to my face and then expects my help!

The5DayChicken Mon 25-May-15 12:10:30

There isn't enough information here to get a good grasp of the situation. It's too vague.

That said, did you think that you were going to get a sincere apology simply by demanding one? This man feels strongly enough about his opinions that he shared them in front of others. I doubt you'll get more than a token apology.

Fatmomma99 Mon 25-May-15 12:10:30

Like it, TapDancing

And I agree with Worra's first post.

I don't want to distract from the topic (and, IMHO, Thiskiwi, no YANBU, either to feel hurt or to have vocalized that nor to want to correct incorrect information/rumour).
But it seems to me if someone expresses a valid view, and someone else is hurt by that, then you can say "sorry you are hurt" (and mean it, I don't think it's necessarily PA at all), but still have the same view.

I.e. "I find the regional accents from [insert location of your choice] difficult to understand and I find the tone quite ugly. It grates on me."

Next person: "Oi, I come from there. No one here has any trouble understanding each other and how dare you describe the tone as ugly"

me: "I'm sorry, I genuinely didn't mean to cause offense"
However, I go on my merry way still finding the accept difficult to understand and somewhat unpleasant to listen to.

Theycallmemellowjello Mon 25-May-15 12:19:36

I think yabu to make this about 'feelings'. It sounds like a disagreement about what information should be made public. His view that you were not going to keep the answers he gave secret sounds to be completely justified in the light of the fact that you consider the information to be stuff that ought to be available to all members of the organisation. He wasn't questioning your integrity, he was making a correct assessment of the difference between his and your view as to the status of the information you were asking about - you consider it public and he considers it private. It's impossible to know which of you is right on that front, but at any rate it's not something you should take personally.

Birdsgottafly Mon 25-May-15 12:23:43

I have had to express my opinion many times in a work capacity, which has caused upset etc, I wouldn't apologise for that.

Sometimes you've got to be pedantic to get your point across.

Don't go down Tapdancers route, your either a member of the team, or not, not co-operating would be just childish. That isn't the way to handle professional disputes.

Keep emotions out of it and sort it out properly.

Birdsgottafly Mon 25-May-15 12:27:57

I also think your over invested in obtain a sorry than clarifying who you are supposedly influenced by and disputing that beyond doubt.

TapDancingMollusc Mon 25-May-15 12:38:36

I do think you deserve an apology because he did lie to you after expressing a doubt about your honesty - but you probably won't get one. It's not a committee of him - a committee is the whole. I think I would bring it to the attention of the committee that when asked a direct question he evaded it, brought my honesty into question and then blatantly lied to me.

Which as he evaded and then lied... who is more untrustworthy?

thiskiwicanfly Tue 26-May-15 03:46:40

Thanks everyone, all input gratefully received.

In all actuality it doesn't matter that much on a personal level I don't suppose - I was personally offended on a matter which is much less important than the bigger picture of running the organisation in a way that benefits the members and I will focus my efforts on that.

And it doesn't matter what he thinks of me personally I don't suppose.

Grip gotten - thank you.

claraschu Tue 26-May-15 04:10:01

People don't seem to be taking on board that: !) he is withholding information which you are entitled to have 2) you are trustworthy and have never betrayed a confidence 3) he is accusing you of lacking integrity 4) he took a week to answer your email and din't provide any evidence to back up his hurtful and inaccurate opinion of you.

I don't know if people are assuming that you are either lying or deluded about your own trustworthiness, but if everything you have said is true, I think you have every right to be hurt and angry; he is being an arse.

Fizrim Tue 26-May-15 07:50:25

Are you the only member of the Committee who thinks this information should be in the public domain, and have asked repeatedly? Because it does sound a little like a personal crusade, although the sharp turn into personal comments (by the other Committee member) is unnecessary IMO.

thiskiwicanfly Tue 26-May-15 09:30:56

Thank you Clara. I appreciate your support. I really do feel I have been honest but I also accept that I can't really expect an apology for an opinion and that he is in fact an arse. Borne out by the meeting tonight where more lies were told to the committee by him and questioned by other committee members who knew the truth.

Oh well we live in interesting times and elections aren't too far away.

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