I may have become a little bit caught up in Married at First Sight. A few weeks ago, I said to Em that I was happy to watch whatever she wanted. I was being an excellent husband. She picked MAFS (that’s right, I used the acronym). I wasn’t expecting to get into it but now I’m pretty darn invested. There are some couples I really want to last, others I’m sure should break up. I really care what happens to these people.

One of the big controversies of the season has been the Dean-Tracy-Devina saga from a few weeks ago. I won’t go into details (google it if you’re interested), but let’s just say Dean disrespected Tracy, he disrespected Devina, he disrespected Ryan, he disrespected the Experiment, and he disrespected Australia. We’ve all been hurt by what Dean and Davina did. This controversy meant that Dean has been apologising all over the place. He’s been on a mission to prove that he’s not the bad guy – while the producers have been on a mission to prove that he most definitely is. So for a few episodes for those of us who love a good nonpology (that is an apology without actually apologising), there was a veritable feast from Dean and friends. Watching this show I’ve learnt so many valuable life skills. So here are some things I’ve learnt about apologies, specifically the best way to apologise without apologising.

Apologise for someone else’s feelings, not your actions

This is a classic move. You say “I’m sorry if my actions made you sad, that was never my intention.” This is a powerful nonpology. It sounds like you’re actually sorry and you’re acknowledging the hurt party’s feelings, but really you’re just saying “I never did anything wrong, it’s your emotions that are broken.” Sometimes you’ll fool the person into thinking you are genuinely sorry, sometimes they’ll go away feeling like they have faulty emotions, either way, you’re in the clear.

Apologise followed quickly by a defence of your actions

To pull off this manoeuvre you need to say something like “You’re right I shouldn’t have done that but you really have to understand…” You then follow this up with an explanation of all the reasons why what you did was actually completely justified. Then you tell them how if they didn’t do what they did, you would be forced to do what you did. If all goes according to plan, they’ll be apologising to you. What more could you want from a nonpology?

Say “My apologies”

Want a low effort “sorry-not-sorry”? This one’s for you. Justin pulled off an excellent “My Apologies” on MAFS while on his honeymoon with Carly. Carly was upset that he was doing work selling his fantastic ice cream machines on their honeymoon when he should have been present with her. After listening for a little while he could see that he wasn’t going to win by using the “But how can I be expected not to sell soft-serve machines on my honeymoon?” excuse. So he quickly said “My apologies” which admits defeat, but never actually took responsibility for his actions. Take a leaf out of Justin’s book. If they want more from you, you can easily claim the high ground by saying “I apologised!” and then the other person looks unreasonable. It’s a great move.

Appeal to your happiness

There is no higher moral imperative than one’s own happiness. When hearing that their children were going to marry a stranger all the parents on the show eventually encouraged their kids by saying something along the lines of “If it makes you happy I’ll support you 100%”. So it’s clear that if you want to not apologise and get away with it you can say you were just looking out for your happiness. To do this you can start your nonpology in a number of ways: “I’m sorry, but I need to look after myself…”, “I came here to find love…” or “I can’t compromise on my happiness…” To argue against this line of reasoning is to try and deny another human being their personal joy and there is no greater human right than happiness!

And now one way not to not apologise…

Refer to yourself in the third person

If we’ve learnt one thing Nasser and Gab it’s that referring to yourself in the third person is not going to help your cause. Saying “Nasser is Nasser and will always be Nasser” just gives you more to apologise for later. People will see right through it. Never refer to yourself in the third person if you’re trying to appear contrite, Tom has never found this works.

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Hopefully, this has given you some great tips on how not to apologise. It’s an important skill for any grown human to master. It is my sincere hope that none of you ever have to actually take responsibility for your actions.