I Bet Keanu Reeves ALWAYS Says I’m Sorry

This morning I read a great article in Time entitled, “Why Everyone Is So Rude Right Now,” and it reminded me of a post I started (but never published) about how no one says “I’m sorry” anymore. At the time I wrote it, I thought maybe it was just my overly sensitive reaction to a minor offense … definitely not worth exposing my deep central nervous system sensitivity to physical, emotional, or social stimuli. After all, I’m a pretty private person!

But ya know … I don’t think it’s just me.

To be clear, I’m not referring to Sorry Syndrome apologies, “the overwhelming need to apologize for every little thing, even if the individual apologizing isn’t to blame or if the event they’re apologizing for is completely out of their control.” I know I don’t have to apologize to the sofa for bumping into it, and my therapy sessions on this are coming along nicely, thank you very much. Nor am I referring to the fact that women apologize more than men. Which … don’t get me started.

Nope, I’m talking about situations in which a clear injury, error, or other clash has occurred, but rather than apologize, the other party either ignores the situation or obstinately reinforces their assault. “I can’t believe you’re upset because I just ran that red light and almost hit you. So now I’m going to turn around and intentionally run into you and really give you something to be upset about.”

Sounds a lot like “You better stop crying, or I’ll give you something to cry about.” Ugh!

What’s going on here?

It’s interesting that a “should I apologize?” query brings up MILLIONS of articles on the Internet. And telling that the first of those results is “11 Times You Should Not Say “Sorry” (And What To Say Instead).”

Some other examples are:

This alone wouldn’t be a problem, as most of these articles explain (later in the text) that they are referring to situations in which an apology really isn’t appropriate but wholeheartedly recommend an apology when a clear offense has been made. The problem is that on average, eight out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only two out of 10 will read the rest. That means that eight out of ten people have now learned that if you want to be a successful person you should stop apologizing and say “thank you” instead. Hmmm … (and by the way, congratulations if you’ve read this far and realize this post isn’t just about Keanu Reeves!)

But clearly there’s something more endemic going on here than a bunch of really confused people who have to “google” whether or not they should apologize.

People who cannot apologize often have such deep feelings of low self-worth that their fragile egos cannot absorb the blow of admitting they were wrong

Guy Winch, a licensed psychologist whose three TED Talks have been viewed over 20 million times (and I’m not even exaggerating this time!!), and author of three science-based self-help books that have been translated into 26 languages, offers an explanation in his article, “We all know people who just can’t apologize — well, here’s why.” “People who cannot apologize often have such deep feelings of low self-worth that their fragile egos cannot absorb the blow of admitting they were wrong” Winch explains. “So their defense mechanisms kick in — at times, unconsciously — and they may externalize any blame and even dispute basic facts to ward off the threat of having to lower themselves by offering an apology.”

Similarly, in “Saying I’m Sorry – 4 Guidelines for an effective apology,” Richard B. Joelson DSW, LCSW writes, “It seems that some people experience an apology as a sign of weakness. Interestingly, when asked if they view it that way when the apology comes from another, they do not see it as a weakness at all, but rather the “right” or “responsible” thing to do. Remarkably, some will say it is a sign of strength or maturity when the apology is offered by the other person, but still feel that it is an unacceptable admission of defeat—or weakness—when the apology is theirs to give to someone else.”

So how are you supposed to react in these situations? Winch suggests, “the best way to do this is to accept their behavior — annoying as it is — and realize they’re simply psychologically incapable of apologizing. What’s more, they’re not going to change. Practicing acceptance can help you disengage from arguments with them and help you limit your feelings of frustration, anger and hurt.”

But for many of us “just too sensitive” people, it’s hard to reconcile the damage done with the necessity to just accept the behavior of the person who caused it. I admit, that’s a tough one for me. Disengaging has never been my forté, and I never learned the words to “Let It Go.”

But (here, finally, comes the Keanu Reeves reference) while I think I’m as badass as John Wick and don’t want to back down, I’d also love to think that, at least for myself, I can be “The One who would bring peace” like Neo, and has a second chance to live up to my potential like Shane Falco.

Yes, I aspire to be every character Keanu Reeves has ever played, and yes, I thought Diane Keaton was INSANE to choose Harry Sanborn over Julian Mercer. But I digress. The point I’m rambling on about and will eventually make is that I just love that a guy who can play a legendary hitman who once killed three men with a pencil … “a fucking pencil” … is strong enough to also say, “I don’t want to be a part of a world where being kind is a weakness.” And if Keanu can say that, then so can I.

So, I think I’ve found a solution to my “weakness.” From now on, I’m going to proudly wear my “I’m too sensitive” badge as a reminder of my INNER John Wick, tough enough, mature enough, and responsible enough to recognize it takes an incredibly sensitive person to understand that rudeness and bullying are the real indications of weakness.

Stop that text!

I am very grateful for a successful 40+-year career in communications. Technology, however, has sometimes taken my perfectly crafted message and thrown me right under the Schoolhouse Rock bus! The message is crystal clear, the word choices are both sesquipedalian and vernacular, the conjunctions are junctioned, AND I ACCIDENTLY SEND IT TO THE WRONG PERSON!

Granted, this isn’t a horrible thing when we’re talking about an update on Los Angeles County real estate metrics. It IS a horrible thing when you’re supporting a friend who just bitched about their sister and you include the sister on the thread because you still don’t know how to use that pesky little “@” symbol properly.

Unfortunately, it’s not the first time my fingers worked faster than my brain. It has happened many times, over every medium. Email, text, social media – I’m pretty sure that had I been the one in charge of the smoke-signal warnings along the Great Wall of China, I would have somehow told the Mongol cavalry exactly where and how to breach. My husband has heard, “oh shit, oh shit, oh shit …” countless times when I’m texting, and my best friend barely communicates electronically because she’s been so traumatized by my stories of shame.

And I’m clearly not alone. In a survey of more than 1,000 people, nearly 45 percent of those sending text messages accidentally sent their conversations to the person they were talking about. When I searched “what to do when you send a text to the wrong person” about 5,910,000,000 results were delivered to me in less than 1 second.

Unfortunately, despite five billion answers, not one of them can tell you how to retract an iphone text message once it has been received. But there are some suggestions.

So, can you unsend a text message?

Apple Messaging

I reached out to Apple recently to see if there was ANY WAY you could redact a text message. It was the millionth time I reached out to them. I have a direct line. They know me. And every time the answer is the same – you can’t do it (“, Nikki. so please stop calling us and just slow down from now on!”).

BUT, if you’re faster than the speed of light AND you know how to quickly access Airplane Mode, AND you happen to be in an area with the worst WiFi reception in the world, then it is possible to stop a text that you sent from reaching the inbox of the recipient. Here’s how:

Immediately put your phone into airplane mode. If you’re successful, the message will fail to send.

IMMEDIATELY put your phone into airplane mode. If you’re successful, the message will fail to send, allowing you to delete it.

My experience? Good luck. I tried this a few times and here’s what I found out:

  1. I have amazing WiFi service (thanks Verizon?)
  2. Be careful when you’re trying this technique. Chances are it won’t work, so think carefully about those practice text comments

For what it’s worth, there was a rumor in June, 2020 that the iPhone 14 would include a feature that would “retract iMessages after sending them, with the retraction visible to both parties. Fine print visible to both the sender and recipients would indicate that a message has been retracted.” My fingers have been crossed for 15 months now (but it still hasn’t stopped me from sending texts to the wrong people!).

TigerText for “Spies and Cheaters”

There are messaging apps that allow you to undo mistakes. Evidently there was a great app called “TigerText” that allowed you to retract unread messages, set a time limit after which text messages would self-destruct and be wiped from the original phone, the receiving phone, and the server.

I learned about TigerText in the aptly named article, “TigerText: The App for Spies and Cheaters.” However, after CBS chief Les Moonves and his executive team were accused of deleting critical messages in their legal battle with Shari Redstone (“What Is TigerText, the App CBS Execs Are Accused of Using to Delete Communications?“) the app was evidently rebranded as “TigerConnect” and is now used by physicans and hospitals as a messaging app fully compliant with HIPPA regulations (😳).

I have a feeling that if I had TigerConnect on my phone, I’d be breaking HIPAA regulations left and right.

WhatsApp

If you happen to be texting with someone on WhatsApp (you’re both using the app), there is a way to recall a message sent by mistake on your mobile phone if the recipient hasn’t read it yet. All you do is go to the chat window, hold down on the text you want to remove and tap “delete.” If the recipient has already read the message it will only be deleted from your chat window … not theirs. Bummer.

Even so, I wish everyone I knew used WhatsApp. It sounds like I might have a chance with this one!

Apologize, forgive yourself, and try not to do it again

So what can you do when you sent a text to someone without meaning to? I found lots of articles and posts offering excuses and lies for misdirected texts. There are some incredibly creative suggestions for this (Hey! I just sent a message to you that was meant for (name another person). Could you please forward that to them? Or there’s this one: Check out my last text I sent to ( so and so) I just sent you. What do you think?) In the study above, just over 33 percent of people who sent a text to the wrong person used some combination of pretending it didn’t happen, blaming someone else for using their device, making up a lie, or simply saying nothing.

But even though it is soul-crushingly difficult to own up to the mistake, it is ultimately the best solution. In fact, 57.4 percent of people who sent a text message to the wrong person apologized for their error. Yes, it’s nauseating. Yes, you might even lose a friend (1 in 5 people report that a relationship has been negatively affected by an unintended text), but a sincere apology can “heal humiliation and foster reconciliation and forgiveness.” And even though you might still feel horrible … doesn’t the person you hurt deserve your apology?

(Care to share your experiences? Feel free to leave a comment below.)

10.25.2021 Update!!! I just tried to “undo” a message on Facebook Messenger, and it works! You and the recipient see that the ,message has been unsent … but hey, that’s a WHOLE LOT BETTER than what it COULD say!!

A Pirate Looks at 73

Rick La Roche, Navy SEAL, diplomat, pilot, college professor, champion gamer, motivational speaker on geopolitical, leadership and team-building issues, blogger, and reality TV star – at 73 – wakes up every day with curiosity, excitement and vigor.

Part of the reason for his attitude are the three rules about aging he adheres to:

  • You are what you believe you are
  • The goal is to die “young” as late as possible
  • Make sure you’re still alive when you die

Another reason for his attitude? It’s just the way he lives his life, and oh, what an exciting life he has led.

A proud Baby Boomer, Rick’s childhood in Tampa, Florida wasn’t unlike most boys of the time, but Florida-style. “We swam a lot. So, we learned about alligators, and we learned which snakes were dangerous and which weren’t.”

Rick was predestined for a life of adventure. “I broke my arm twice by the time I was 6,” he recently revealed in an interview. “The first time was when I fell out of a tree that was slippery during a storm. The second time was when I tested my mother’s theory that ‘you shouldn’t climb trees when it’s raining.’

“It was a time when you were told that anything was possible. There were jobs galore, and you didn’t have any boundaries if you were willing to do the hard work to get there.” 

With a love of all things water and a mastery of swimming, Rick became a competitive swimmer in high school, and one of his favorite movies was “The Frogmen.” Turns out, that movie would have significance later in life. 

 “I didn’t know much about goal setting in those days,” Rick said, and after a couple of months of college, he dropped out with plans to start a lawn care business. “The day after I asked my father for $50 to start my business, he took me to the recruiting offices for all branches of the military.” The choice was: “join one of these four.”

Navy boot camp in Great Lakes, IL led to Gunner’s Mate Guided Missile School, during which Rick tested to become a member of the US Navy’s Sea, Land, Air Teams (SEALs). When those orders didn’t come, Rick was stationed on a guided missile destroyer. It wasn’t until he was thousands of miles away in the Mediterranean that orders came for Rick to return to the US to begin Class 39 of BUDS (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) school).

Let’s pause here for a little perspective about the SEALs: Only about 1,000 recruits make it to SEAL training. Of those, only about 250 complete their training and join approximately 2,500 more active SEALs, who work among nine active-duty teams. 

“I was scared shitless, to be honest with you,” Rick said. “I’m not particularly large and there were some massive guys there. I started thinking, ‘I can’t worry about these people. I need to worry about myself and live in the moment. If you look too far ahead, it can be overwhelming.

“This was the beginning of learning how to set goals and break them down into micro goals,” Rick explained. “Whatever the evolution (exercise) was, you only thought through that exercise. Never what was coming next.

“I told myself, they can’t make me quit, and they can’t throw me out. All they can do is try to make me quit.” When he made it through Hell Week (week four of the 24-week program), Rick knew he’d complete the program.

“Hell Week is five days and five nights solid with a maximum total of four hours of sleep. It starts at sundown on Sunday and ends at the end of Friday.” Although he doesn’t remember all the details from Hell Week, he does remember going into the barracks Friday night and hearing his chief instructor yell, “you’re the worst people who’ve ever tried to become frogs – and there’s nothing that says we have to end Hell Week today – so we’re doing it all over again.” 

“That’s when a guy got up and quit,” Rick said. “He just walked out. But as soon as he did, the instructor told us he was just kidding, and that he could usually get one more person to quit that way.”

Hell Week, indeed.

After his military service, Rick attended commercial flying school and earned his private pilot’s license. He returned to university, but the wanderer in him sent him to Pamplona for the “Running of the Bulls,” which turned into a trip around the world. He eventually began teaching in Stockholm, Sweden, where he met his first wife.

Rick returned to the US and ultimately obtained his undergraduate degree in Geography and Political Geography. He returned to Sweden and continued to lecture at the Stockholm School of Economics. Eventually, he returned to the US and worked as a diver for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Key West and lectured at Florida Keys Community Collage and was struck again with wanderlust that led him to California.

“I was teaching at the Army and Navy Academy near San Diego when my wife heard that people were invited to take to foreign service exam. I never thought I would be a diplomat,” Rick said, “but I took the test anyway.”

After “taking (and passing) the test,” an all-day written exam and personal profile, Rick was invited to DC for an all-day oral exam. “They don’t expect the ‘right answers’ – they just want to see how you react to hypothetical situations.” While 50% pass the written exam, most are eliminated at the oral exam. Rick passed.

After the security interview, Rick learned he was one of three from the original 19 who had been selected. Two were attorneys, Rick was the third. 

As a Foreign Service Officer with the US Department of State, Rick served in Indonesia, Iraq (where he was embedded with the military in Najaf), New Zealand, Samoa, Sweden, Egypt, and Israel. (After his retirement from the United States Foreign Service, Rick now lives with his family in Sweden.)

It was while working with Multinational Force and Observers in Egypt, monitoring the area as part of the Camp David Accord Peace Treaty, that Rick happened to read in an online Swedish newspaper that auditions were being held for “Robinson,” the Swedish equivalent of the US television show “Survivor.” With age 70 and compulsory retirement approaching rapidly, Rick was looking for his next big challenge. He sent in a tape. 

Two months later, during his rotation as mission control officer at his base in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, Rick was called to participate in further auditions. These included more interviews, full medical exams, and a psychological exam to determine “why he’d want to do this at age 70.” 

Rick “survived” on Robinson almost to the end. During a competition where the remaining 12 participants had to balance on one foot on a pillar for as long as possible, Rick lost his balance and was ultimately sent home for emergency knee replacement. “I’d had 13 operations on my left knee and five on my right knee by that point. This was going to be knee surgery #19.”

However, once replaced, that knee served Rick well for three years. Then he tore the ACL in his other knee when he became a contestant on the Swedish version of “Alone” called, “Ensam I Vildmarken” (Alone in the Wilderness) at age 73.

Rick was once again the oldest contestant along with seven other participants. “We were dropped off in the northern Norway wilderness and left on our own. No film crews or anything. We used GoPro cameras to film ourselves making our own shelter, finding water, wood, food and making fires. It was a real adventure.”

Unfortunately, the adventure ended when a middle-of-the-rainy-night bio break caused him to fall and severely twist his right knee. He twisted it again the following morning. “I knew immediately I had ruptured my ACL. I had to call for the doctor to evaluate me. He came, checked me out and said, ‘If you can’t walk, you can’t gather wood, make a fire, find food and stay warm. You are already entering hypothermia, so I’m pulling you from the competition.’

“I had been lying on my sleeping bag for hours and was shivering and shaking uncontrollably. He told me I would die if I tried to stay. Advanced age and low body fat are highly dangerous in the cold. Not the way I wanted it to end, but at least I gave it a shot. Part of mental toughness is being able to make and accept the ‘hard’ right decisions. You have to challenge yourself and learn how to deal with failure.”

Rick is the first to tell you (and proudly) that he’s made many mistakes and suffered many failures in life, but quickly adds that the best lessons he’s learned have come from those experiences. “That’s part of the fun and the challenge. To expand your comfort zone and learn new things. Most of the time, I screw up and fail, but every once in a while, I succeed. And then it’s all worth it.”

In Lesson 35 – “Stay Young At Heart”-  in his book, “Forty Tools for Life,” a legacy of lessons he wrote for his two sons and grandson, Rick advises, “It’s people with old attitudes who’re the worst enemies of the young at heart. Some people are born old. You can see it in their eyes. It’s best to keep away from such people because they’ll tell you to ‘grow up’ or ‘act your age.’ And that’s terrible advice!”

Although Rick La Roche is currently finishing two books, “Catching Life” and “A Boomer Looks Back,” he is in the market for new challenges! So, if you need a pal to go buildering with, join you on a swim across the ocean, or just share a simple Mount Everest climb, give Rick a call. He’s almost finished with rehab on his other knee and is ready for an adventure. 

What’s Your Theme Song?

I saw this meme on Facebook this past week:

And I took this really seriously. I’m not sure the point of the meme was to cause me this much thought … or anxiety … but I’ve spent the past week thinking about this. Had I taken my education as seriously as I take this question, I could probably compose my own theme song, or explain how one’s choice of theme song has something to do with a mathematical resonation, or even design a scientific experiment explaining how my id, ego, and superego would make different choices.

Fact is, I didn’t pay that much attention to my music lessons, my math classes, or my psychology minor. But lemme tell ya – this theme song question really has me thinking. 

There are songs we remember that are special to us: remember the song that was playing the first time someone asked you to dance? Mine was “Brown Eyed Girl,” and I sang that song for weeks pretending it was about me. The first song I ever danced with my husband to was “Layla,” and even though I snarkily told him, “You can’t dance to Layla!” (he should have known then that I was a smart ass!!) I will never, ever, ever forget that moment. 

But a theme song is a “song or melody strongly associated with someone or something.” And yes, while I do associate those songs with those people, I wouldn’t consider them my “theme songs.”

(Yep, you can see I gave this too much thought!)

First I obsessed over the fact that we probably have many different theme songs for different stages of our lives. Surely my 8-year-old self had a different theme song (“Do You Want to Know a Secret?“) than my 22-year-old self (“Stayin’ Alive“), or my 45-year-old self (“Survivor“) … or my self right now. And even my self right now probably has a long list of theme songs depending on the circumstances. 

But after a week of spending valuable time on a MEME question, that most people answered in seconds, I’ve come up with a (partial!!!!) list of my theme songs.

What’s YOUR theme song? Leave a comment below!