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  • Writer's pictureCraig Richards

A study in apologies including mine to you

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Funny thing about apologies, they can be sincere or laced in sarcasm. The power of an apology is retained by the apologizer. Apologies by themselves are a great bridge for offense to forgiveness. Unfortunately, they are also powerful tools that when wielded as a weapon can take pain to poison.

Wielding the apology for good and even for evil, I have had my share of bridging and at times poisoning the inflicted with an apology. I too have been on the receiving end of both. Being married for more than 30 years, it becomes important to gather some level of understanding of the art of apology. Considering my rather aggressive personality in both matters of business and personal life, I have become somewhat of an apologetic guru by necessity.

I have studied, implemented and even on occasion received one of the following five types of apologies. This is a brief educational column on the forms of apologies. In the end I will offer an apology to the community at large.

Before I present my apology for your consideration, let’s first explore the general categories of apologies I have uncovered. Every apology is derived from a situational position of necessity.

Most individuals employ an apology rooted in at least some degree of remorse. This is often required in situations where the offender fully recognizes their behavior or statement hurt another individual or group and believes that action or statement was wrong. “I’m sorry I yelled at you.”

Regret is the foundational characteristic of the second category. In this case the offender does not believe their statement or action was wrong but recognizes the behavior hurt the individual or group. “I’m sorry I spilled your drink when he pushed me into you.”

Often someone recognizes another person or group has suffered and the apologizer simply wants to show compassion. This form of empathy allows someone who does not believe their behavior injured or affected anyone or that they did any wrongdoing. This apology is simply expressing compassion in a situation of hurt or loss someone or a group is feeling. “I’m sorry you lost the game.”

In some cases, an individual will employ an apology for a perceived or anticipated offense. In this case it serves as a pre-emptive apology to mitigate potential conflict or to avoid offending an individual or group. This has elements of a compassionate apology in attempting to have a level of empathy, however, it is often given to avoid hurting someone of a group before it occurs. This is commonly seen in joke telling. “I’m sorry if this joke offends anyone here, but…”

Finally, I believe there is a no harm, no foul apology. This is when the apologizer believes their statement or action was wrong and although they do not perceive anyone has been hurt, they offer up a precautionary apology. This is implemented as a form of showing respect to an individual or group rather than trying to make verbal restitution. If someone leaves a room and forgets to shut the light out, they may make an apology for their error as they go back to turn it off.

Sure, there are ample fake apologies based in self-motivated principles, but I am focusing on categories with their foundational principles in sincerity. With the encyclopedia of apologies basically covered in this preamble to my apology, let me employ an apology now.

The beauty of community newspapers is their small but embedded staff. The closer we are to our community, the better we serve it. The challenge of such a limited but dedicated staff is that each member of the team must wear several hats. Therein lies my apology.

As Publisher of The Hammonton Gazette, I find it necessary to perform various roles during any typical business day. That invokes a very common principle—”jack of all trades, master of none,” meaning the necessity to perform diversified tasks does not allow perfection in any of them. Many days require me to be a bookkeeper, reporter, salesperson, volunteer or even a janitor. These multiple facets of daily work extend to every member of the team here. No complaints. I love this community and this job.

But as in the individual extending an apology of regret, I find myself compelled to do so.

While the support we receive is substantial, including thousands of readers and hundreds of advertisers, it has been impossible to reach all of you in the few months I have been in the role of publisher. For that I apologize to all of you I have not reached out to yet. While some may be hurt or offended that I have not been to see them, it is not due to my lack of desire to do so.

I am on the road daily meeting members of the community and a steady visitation schedule for advertisers who trust us with their marketing budgets and continue to support our work. As a team we are continuing to implement actions that are improving our products and service.

I only regret that there are not more hours in the day. Your patience is appreciated, and your support is imperative. We are moving forward – together and my door is always open to those we serve. Please feel free to reach out to me by phone or email, (609) 704-1939 or

Craig Richards is the Publisher for The Hammonton Gazette.


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