Wedding Woes

My roommate: The annoying apologizer

Dear Prudence,
My roommate is a fabulous person with one pretty obnoxious flaw: She gives the worst apologies. Like all of us, she occasionally does stupid or thoughtless things, but the problem is that whenever she apologies she feels the need to offer a dozen excuses for what she did. It feels compulsive—half the time these excuses simply aren’t true. She doesn’t lie under other circumstances, only while apologizing; usually for grievances so minor that I’ve already forgiven them. I’m not especially upset about these occasional slipups, but these lies leave me angrier than I was before!

My current solution to the problem is to tell her that I forgive her and that whatever happened wasn’t a big deal, but then also point out that the excuse(s) she’s given aren’t true. This strategy leaves her feeling awful and it doesn’t shake off my annoyance at being lied to needlessly for someone I love. Is there a better way to handle this situation?

—Endless Excuses

Re: My roommate: The annoying apologizer

  • LWer's tactic sounds like what I would do but if that doesn't work maybe stopping the roomie before she starts making excuses?
    charlotte989875short+sassy
  • How about telling her you don't need the excuses? Don't point out she's lying, just say you forgive her, but that you don't need explanations when the apology is enough. 
    NiceKindaSpiceshort+sassyOurWildKingdom
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado
    Moderator Tenth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
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    I kind-of want to know how often she feels the need to have to apologize that this is a problem for the LW?    

    Are expectations so high living there that she feels the need to not only apologize often but feels the need to add a lot of excuses?   To the point it annoys the LW?






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    charlotte989875cowgirl8238kimmiinthemitten
  • atomicblondeatomicblonde The Shire
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
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    Idk why it matters that roommate is "lying," especially if they're harmless and inconsequential.  Isn't that what all excuses are, really?  "I had a flat tire" is a reason for being late. "I'm late because I had a flat tire" is an excuse, because it could be argued that had you left earlier, you'd have had time to fix the tire and still arrive on time.

    Regardless, I don't understand why LW feels the need to say, "I forgive you, why are you lying?"  I mean, duh, no one likes to be called out on that, so what was the end goal?  I feel like if LW really truly was forgiving, the excuses and/or lies wouldn't matter at all. 

    People fib.  It happens.  Just my thoughts.  


    "And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me..."
    --Philip Pullman

    charlotte989875
  • Joney Joney
    100 Love Its 10 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
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    So many questions.  What lies is she telling?  How often is this happening?

    It almost sounds like LW is a compulsive people pleaser, and instead of apologizing for not getting to her dirty dishes sooner, she feels the need to create an elaborate excuse.  I can see how that can be annoying - instead of owning her decision to sleep in, she starts talking about having to chase a flock of pigeons out of the kitchen, but she left the balcony door open and a cat got in.  Once she'd chased off the cat, and herded the surviving pigeons outside, she found one pigeon lying in a bloody heap and had to euthanize it with a pan to the head. The dishes obviously got forgotten in this mess, as she scrubbed the kitchen down.  Also, she tossed the pan, but went to the store and bought the exact same one, funnily enough it has precisely the same dent in it as the original. 
    VarunaTTshort+sassyOurWildKingdom


  • I'm actually curious how this plays out.... 

    LW: "did you use/finish the milk I had in the fridge?"
    Roomie: "Yes, I am so sorry. There was a fire on the stove and I had to put it out. And I heard the best way to repel ants is with milk...did you know we have a HUGE ant problem? And out of no where, 17 feral cats showed up at our door so I gave them milk. I'm volunteering at an orphanage, did you know I'm volunteering at an orphanage?... anyway, they needed milk so I thought for sure you wouldn't mind." 


    Lmao the more I read this, the more I think yes
    cat animals pallas cat GIF
    OurWildKingdom
  • LW should be talking to her roommate when they aren't in the middle of an "apology." "Roommate, I realize you have this habit, and it's not very good communication. Is there a way I can help you be conscious of it in the moment?" 




  • LW should be talking to her roommate when they aren't in the middle of an "apology." "Roommate, I realize you have this habit, and it's not very good communication. Is there a way I can help you be conscious of it in the moment?" 


    I feel it might be a safe assumption that Roommate would jump to the defense on that tbh, regardless how LW says it
    cat animals pallas cat GIF
  • atomicblondeatomicblonde The Shire
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    member






    LW should be talking to her roommate when they aren't in the middle of an "apology." "Roommate, I realize you have this habit, and it's not very good communication. Is there a way I can help you be conscious of it in the moment?" 




    I feel it might be a safe assumption that Roommate would jump to the defense on that tbh, regardless how LW says it


    I disagree. It's one thing to say what @JediElizabeth suggested, but it's another to say, "I accept your apology, but I'd like to point out your excuses aren't true."  One is, "Can we work together on this?" another is, "Okay, but these are your flaws, the end."  It's exactly like when someone says, "No offense, but..."  Saying "I forgive you," should not also include a "but."  

    No one likes to hear they aren't perfect, but there's always an appropriate time and place and manner in which to point these harmless individual quirks out.  I don't think in the middle of accepting an apology for X meets any of those acceptable conditions.  

    If I were roommate, I'd be far less defensive if LW approached me outside of all of this.  


    "And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me..."
    --Philip Pullman

    JediElizabethcharlotte989875NiceKindaSpiceOurWildKingdom
  • I mean, I guess you could address it with the roommate, but how long is the lease? In my experience, unless I'm planning to live with someone long term or whatever they're doing crosses the line, I pick my battles. 

    If the excuses are false, but just stupid false, not hurting anyone...I would just be like "yea ok...." and ride out the lease. If the excuses are hurting people and an argument is worth the time/potential drama, then sure, call it out.
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    VarunaTTDrillSergeantCatOurWildKingdomcharlotte989875


  • I mean, I guess you could address it with the roommate, but how long is the lease? In my experience, unless I'm planning to live with someone long term or whatever they're doing crosses the line, I pick my battles. 

    If the excuses are false, but just stupid false, not hurting anyone...I would just be like "yea ok...." and ride out the lease. If the excuses are hurting people and an argument is worth the time/potential drama, then sure, call it out.


    In the letter, the roommate is described as "someone I love." I assume this friendship goes deeper than someone who answered a Craigslist ad for a spare room....I'd actually go through the trouble of healthy confrontation and offering help if this was a person of want to keep in my life long after the lease was up. 
    short+sassysouthernbelle0915sparklepants41OurWildKingdom






  • I mean, I guess you could address it with the roommate, but how long is the lease? In my experience, unless I'm planning to live with someone long term or whatever they're doing crosses the line, I pick my battles. 

    If the excuses are false, but just stupid false, not hurting anyone...I would just be like "yea ok...." and ride out the lease. If the excuses are hurting people and an argument is worth the time/potential drama, then sure, call it out.




    In the letter, the roommate is described as "someone I love." I assume this friendship goes deeper than someone who answered a Craigslist ad for a spare room....I'd actually go through the trouble of healthy confrontation and offering help if this was a person of want to keep in my life long after the lease was up. 


    That's a good point. 

    There are "roommate problems" (e.g. standards of clean, use of shared things), which, even if you love the person, you can decide not to address as they're neatly within the silo of a cohabitation arrangement. With those kinds of problems, ending the arrangement ends the problem. 

    But you're right - this is more of a "communication problem" which could maybe endure after the arrangement ends. And if you love someone, you want to help them and see them succeed in other relationships too.

    I can definitely see the case for addressing it. But I'd still dig deep within myself whether this truly had the potential to hurt me/others, or if it was just something that I found really annoying that would probably wane if we didn't live together.
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    JediElizabethOurWildKingdom
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