OMG! I’m so sorry!
I’d much rather say it myself – “I’m so sorry. I screwed up.” – in a phone call, in an email, in a Facebook message – than have someone come back to me and say, “You screwed up.”
We’re way past, “The dog ate my homework.” Note: do not make this excuse if you have no dog.
You make a promise. You keep a promise.
Simple, isn’t it?
When I hear excuses
You may be uttering remarks that are quite different, but I hear, “I messed up but I’m making excuses because I can’t admit I made a mistake.”
Keep a calendar
I keep one calendar for all things. I tell everybody, “Let me check my calendar,” so I don’t over-extend myself.
I think I have made it fairly clear that my family comes first – before all things. When I make an agreement with a new client, I consider my family obligations, t-ball games, birthdays, special events, and my own personal relax time (yes, I take time to veg out).
Friends, clients, blogging
If I tell a friend, “I will meet you at The Bagel Stop on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.,” then damn straight I’m gonna be there by (probably before) 10:00 a.m.!
If I tell a client, “I will have a full MS edit and an Editor Letter to you by Saturday,” then you can take that to the bank.
If I tell you your guest blog will go live on Monday, I will have your guest blog up that Monday morning.
Fire, blood, hurricane, flood
These are truly the only excuses that work for me. If you are not on fire, bleeding, or in the midst of a hurricane or flood, then lame excuses feel icky. I actually got to use the flood excuse last year, and it still felt like I was letting people down.
I’ve screwed up mucho. When I realize it, I apologize immediately. I keep it simple and honest.
What lame excuses have you heard? Have you been tempted to make excuses to get out of some event or obligation? What do you do when you realize you are over-extended?
Karen S. Elliott was raised by a mother who wanted to be an English teacher and who worked for Merriam-Webster as a proofreader and an aunt who could complete the Sunday NYT crossword in a day. Their favorite expression was, “Look it up!” Karen reads punctuation and grammar manuals for fun.
Karen is an editor and proofreader, blogger, and writer. She edits fiction and non-fiction. Karen completed her writing coursework through UCLA and the University of New Mexico. Her short stories have been featured in The Rose & Thorn Journal, Every Child is Entitled to Innocence anthology, Valley Living Magazine, BewilderingStories.com, and WritingRaw.com. She is currently working on collections of short stories and poetry.
Opening photo by Jink Willis. You can find and link to Jink via her website here.