The Art of The Non-Apology


I’ve been trying to develop the art of the non-apology.

Let me know if any of these works for you. They’re some that I’ve been polishing, so it helps to know if they’re effective at all.

“I need to give you my apologies. I’m sorry I’ve been subversive lately, but your timid passivity brings out the negative aspects of my character.”

“I’m sorry I’ve been cranky lately. It happens when I work too much and miss lunch.”

“Sorry we crushed your house. You never know when you’re building where the warpath is going to be.”

The non-apology is the best tool for when you don’t want to admit fault, but you don’t want to directly pass the blame either. It’s a passive-aggressive technic, for sure.

It’s a great writing tool as well, because the reader can detect the inequality, and they start to develop a liking for one character and a dislike for another without knowing for sure why they like one over another. It’s subtle implication at its best.


Published by Kurt Gailey

This is where I'm supposed to brag about how I've written seven novels, twelve screenplays, thousands of short stories, four self-help books, and one children's early-reader, but I'd rather stay humble. You can find out about things I've written or follow my barchive (web archive, aka 'blog) at or follow me on twitter @kurt_gailey. I love sports and music and books, so if you're an athlete or in a band or you're a writer, give me a follow and I'll most likely follow you back. I've even been known to promote other people's projects.

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