JENN: If ever there was a writing award for the best dressed author, it would surely go to today's guest, the fabulous Diane Vallere. Whenever I know she's going to be at a conference, I make sure I check her Instagram to see what she's packing. This girl can rock a conference, I'm just sayin'! Not a surprise as she writes the Costume Shop, Material Witness, Samantha Kidd, and Madison Night mystery series. Welcome to Jungle Red Writers, Diane.
DIANE: My friend says I apologize too much. She thinks women in general have been trained to say I’m sorry when they have nothing to be sorry for, and that by saying the words, they’re allowing themselves to be in a submissive position. It’s not just her, either. There’s a whole slew of online articles about whether or not women should apologize. (There are! I just Googled them for the purposes of this post.)
After she said this, I became more aware of how often I use the phrase in conversation and emails. Sometimes it goes hand in hand with an acknowledgment that I didn’t fully comprehend what the other person asked me to do (“I’m sorry, I didn’t know that’s what was expected.”). Sometimes it’s intended as a soothing phrase (“I’m sorry you’re dealing with that.”). Sometimes it’s preemptive to an insult (“I’m sorry, but you’re a idiot.”). And sometimes, it is what it is: an acknowledgment of having inconvenienced someone else (“I’m sorry for taking up your valuable time for something I could have figured out myself.”) In every one of these examples, I might shorten the phrase to just “I’m sorry” and consider the balance implied. Especially the idiot one, which might lead to additional apologizing for rudeness.
There are daily I’m sorries: I’m sorry I didn’t tell you I was running late. I’m sorry I spilled coffee on your favorite shirt. I’m sorry I didn’t do the laundry. And there are more massive ones: I’m sorry this isn’t going to work out. I’m sorry I let you down. I’m sorry that we want different things. Are these apologies equal? No. They require on-the-spot interpretations, not unlike “I love you.”
Thanks to my friend’s comment, I’ve spent a bit of time analyzing my use of the two-word phrase. The way I see it, there’s a power in apologizing. Saying “I’m sorry” indicates ownership, good or bad. Instead of pointing fingers, passing the buck, or looking for excuses, saying “I’m sorry” is like grabbing hold of an unsatisfactory interaction, establishing that there was a hiccup in communication, and hitting the reset button. When two parties are stuck at a crossroads because one disagrees with the other over, “I’m sorry” serves as the period at the end of the sentence that precedes the sentence with the active verb.
And here’s the selfish truth: I like to be apologized to. I like when someone else tells me they’re sorry for how their actions negatively impacted me, because it indicates a level of respect (except in the idiot example mentioned above). I like when someone other than me takes ownership of a miscommunication and apologizes so we can move on. And since I’m a huge believer in treating people the way I want to be treated, I’m most likely going to continue apologizing despite what my friends say. And for that, I’m not sorry.
What do you think, Reds? Do apologies have their place in daily conversation or is it all too much?
When Interior Decorator Madison Night accepts an assignment in Palm Springs with handyman Hudson James, she expects designing days and romantic nights. But after spotting a body in the river by the job site, she causes a rift in the team. Add in the strain of recurring nightmares and a growing dependency on sleeping pills, and Madison seeks professional help to deal with her demons.
She learns more about the crime than she’d like thanks to girl talk with friends, pillow talk with Hudson, and smack talk with the local bad boys. And after the victim is identified as the very doctor she’s been advised to see, she wonders if what she knows can help catch a killer. An unlikely ally helps navigate the murky waters before her knowledge destroys her, and this time, what she doesn’t know might be the one thing that saves her life.
A little bit about Diane: After two decades working for a top luxury retailer, Diane Vallere traded fashion accessories for accessories to murder. THE DECORATOR WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, #4 in her Madison Night Mystery Series, is out April 2017. Diane is the president of Sisters in Crime. She also writes the Samantha Kidd, and national bestselling and Lefty Award-nominated Costume Shop and Material Witness mystery series. She started her own detective agency at age ten and has maintained a passion for shoes, clues, and clothes ever since.