IOUs Made Awkward

What’s more awkward than owing someone? Somehow though, whenever we say “I owe you,” we don’t think of owing someone something other than money.


Like an apology, for instance.

I owe you an apology. It’s awkward because I don’t realise I owe you. And even if I do, I wouldn’t want to apologise. Because, it’s demeaning.

Unlike owning cash for a petty party we crashed the other night, owing an apology isn’t as fashionable. There’s no pride in it. Sure, people used to frown even when you owed money, but that’s in the past. Now, owing money for a group outing is the posh thing to do. People have come to accept that youngsters spend their money and time on parties and food. It’s only natural.

But to owe an apology, is to make yourself vulnerable. How often do we hesitate at the send button after typing out “sorry”? It’s proof that you’ve been in the wrong, and we hate being wrong. It’s an inherent quality — the obsession with being right, and the ego that prevents us from accepting our mistakes.

No matter how big a personality, looking another person in the eyes, and saying you’re sorry is still too much for far too many people.

But what’s the point of living in a society if we can’t accept it when we’re wrong? What’s wrong with letting down that ego and just say sorry? After all, we’ve got nothing valuable to lose. On the contrary, an apology only shows we’re human, and broad in the mind. If only we can realise that “to err is human,” we wouldn’t let our incorrigible behaviour get in the way of happy co-living.

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