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Is There A Time & Place For An Apology?


It’s all over the news: Lance Armstrong mea culpa for his doping habit in a taped interview with Oprah.

Sounds like it might be a hollow apology doesn’t it?  Some have said it’s likely some kind of publicity stunt. Others think it might be too little too late. Maybe celebrities of any kind have a duty to uphold.

This event got me thinking, do those of us who show more of a preference for introversion ever need to consider an apology? I mean sometimes you know, we want to leave a party early, skip a networking event or just have some quiet time. Is that the time and place for an apology? Heck no! Not if we understand what the real confession is.

We generally have a small circle of friends. On the whole we tend to be private about our lives and thrive on meaningful one to one conversations. When it’s just a few people there tend to be less distractions, fewer interruptions and more genuine conversation. I’m sorry, I like that.

We like time to think. Susan Cain, the author of Quiet, talks about how our work environments tend to be wired for the highly engaged extrovert. If you find that teamwork and brainstorming storm your brain, then it’s time to be assertive for some things that will help you cope better. Ask for a meeting agenda ahead of time. Ask that it be okay that you pass in a round or two of brainstorming until you get your creative juices flowing.

Some introverts are accused of being shy. That just may not be the case because there is a difference between shy and introvert. Shy is more of an anxiety because you think people are judging you. Introvert is guarding your energy. You can even be an extrovert and be shy but would you expect, an apology?

Other introverts, like me, are accused of being extroverts because we speak in public or appear outgoing, but the truth is, after any of that kind of activity, it’s time to find that quiet space, any where, just to recharge. Will I apologize? Never. Take me as I am – authentically me.

We’re comfortable with silence. I remember attending a month long training program in the hills of Colorado. Early in the first week, in a larger group of about 50 of us, we sat in a double circle and one by one, took a center seat to introduce ourselves. Toward the end a man took the seat and for literally 60 seconds said nothing, until he said, “I am me.” Try saying nothing for that long regardless of the size group you are in. I remember some of us were sitting and smiling, and others of us wriggling and wringing hands. I was quite pleased. And I’m certain more people remember than not.

Maybe Armstrong needs to apologize, with genuine regret. What he did was wrong and could even hurt others. Think of the young aspiring athletes who looked up to him as a celebrity over the years, even as he was publicly denying he did no wrong.

But just because we are more introverted and act in ways that help us to cope in what is more of an extroverted world, doesn’t mean we need to say, I’m sorry. Let’s be authentic, true to our nature, and preserve our energy. This lets us be the best we can be and that means never having to say, I’m sorry.

Patricia Weber is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire, a blogging community created by Annie Jennings.


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