Gibbs is wrong. For those who watch NCIS (even us non-violent types who get sucked into the drama), such words are almost blasphemous. But it’s the truth. Leroy Jethro Gibbs is wrong about apologies.
It’s Gibbs’ Rule 6- “Never say you’re sorry. It’s a sign of weakness.” (If you don’t follow the show, you can see his rules here)
And it’s absolutely wrong.
First off, apologies can be a sign of weakness. They can be issued out of fear. They can be given merely in an effort to appease someone more powerful. For some people, that’s the only kind of apology they know. I remember apologizing once to my high school biology teacher for the unruliness of the previous day’s class. He smiled and said, “It’s okay. I’m over my mad.” That struck me as bizarre. I wasn’t apologizing because I thought he was mad. I was apologizing because I had looked at my behavior and didn’t like it.
That kind of apology is a sign of strength. A willingness to say, “I will evaluate my behavior on a higher standard than the whims of other people.” If I’m wrong, I’ll say it. That can have negative consequences. I don’t care. I’d rather live with honest evaluations of me and what I’ve done than focus on what others think of me.
And for that, I’m not sorry.
So feel free to apologize when necessary. It’s a sign of strength.