‘I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took an excuse.’
We live in a world padded out with meaningless excuses that merely muffle and annoy. Leaves on the line, the wrong sort of snow, the ubiquitous signal failure – transport excuses alone have soured us all into total cynics ….
If you are the person attempting to dodge something or someone, making excuses can often seem the polite way out. You don’t want to tell someone you don’t want to meet them, or help them out, or come to their charity evening – because to do so would be rude – so you make an excuse.
The trouble is that you are then trapped by the excuse: do you hide in your house until it’s safe to come out? Is it not better to examine why you’re making the excuse in the first place? Is it not then kinder to avoid making excuses and stick more closely to the truth? The truth may sound bald and unadorned, but you won’t have to remember which excuse you made the next time you see the inviter. Excuses will change into a complex web of lies all too easily.
If you are truly stuck with having to make an excuse (because you might get sacked from work, or dropped by a friend or lover) then the key is to stick to the truth as far as possible, keep it simple, involve no one else and then tell as few people as possible. As for making excuses about your own behaviour, this is best avoided. Benjamin Disraeli’s famous comment, ‘Never complain and never explain,’ was all about strength, confidence and knowing when to
stop talking. Excusing yourself only dilutes that strength.