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How to Apologise Insincerely

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An angry, perhaps tearful, person stands before you, and you owe an apology. You could express your regret for what you did or failed to do. You could acknowledge the harm you caused. You could promise to make amends or behave differently in the future. You could, at least, empathise.

But what if you're not the least bit sorry?

You may feel entitled to behave as you did. Instead of shame or regret, you may be basking in something akin to pride. Maybe the only thing for which you are sorry is having your offence or failure discovered.

Would you like to return to your previous thoughtless behaviour with minimal effort? You can - by making an insincere apology.

Never Confess

If your sins are well-documented, if everyone heard you, even if the video of your misdeed has gone viral, don't confess. You could do worse than follow the advice of American political strategist Roger J Stone, Jr: 

Admit nothing, deny everything, and launch counterattack.


Some might call your behaviour sexist. Suppose both the woman you insulted and her husband did just that. You could apologise for what you said. But why would you do that, when you can attack her for having the temerity to suggest your sexist comments are sexist?

Remember you are the true victim. Blame her for infringing on your right to free speech, being too thin-skinned, and not having a sense of humour. Sneer as you call her a feminist. Complain about her to your friends; maybe they'll blame her, too.

But what if some of your friends suggest you should apologise? Society, civility, and the wronged party demand an apology in some circumstances. If you find yourself in such a situation, offer an apology that's as insensitive as you are:

The Offensive Apology

Don't apologise for saying something offensive. Include the word 'sorry' as part of your offensive remark. For example:

I didn't bring enough Christmas cookies for everyone. You're Jewish, so I'm sorry, but no cookies for you.

A similar technique is to apologise for offending. When you apologise for offending, your message is, 'I'm sorry you're the type who is so easily offended.' See? Nothing to do with your offensive comments. Extra credit for crafting faux apologies that insult your victim's intelligence.

  • I'm sorry I offended you by not offering you a Christmas cookie. Aren't they against your religion?
  • I'm sorry if I offended you, but I already apologised for not bringing enough Christmas cookies to go around. Jeez.

Constructing an Insincere Apology

You can mix 'sorry' with other words to create meaningless or insulting pseudo-apologies. Avoid placing the word 'sorry' near a verb describing your actions.

Suppose that you broke your promise to give a friend a lift after work on a rainy day. Whatever you do, don't say, 'I'm sorry I wasn't there to give you a lift, like I promised. I messed up, completely.' Instead apologise for the meteorological event, and toss in an excuse and an insult:

I'm sorry about the rain. My meeting ran late. You look like a drowned rat.

Or, you can include the word 'sorry' in any rambling speech:

I'm sorry my meeting ran late. And it was raining today, too. Don't you have an umbrella? Aw, bless your heart.

Drive 'em Nuts with 'Ifs' and 'Buts'

You can shift a heavy load with a fulcrum and lever. Similarly you can shift blame with the words 'if' and 'but'. Learn to position 'if' and 'but' in your insincere apology. Let's start with an actual apology:

I'm sorry I stepped on your foot.

Now place the word 'if' between the expression of regret and the description of your transgression.

I'm sorry if I stepped on your foot.

Follow the description of your harmful act with the word 'but'. Add any phrase, no matter how nonsensical or rude.

I'm sorry if I stepped on your foot, but you are such a clumsy child.

With practice you can shift blame from yourself as you deliver abuse: 

In Conclusion

Consider the unhappy people whom you've hurt. How dare they expect an apology? With an insincere apology, you can get even with them for trying to make you feel guilty. Deflect criticism, shift blame, and add insult to injury with the apology that says:

I'm not sorry at all.

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