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How NOT to Apologize

How NOT to Apologize

We've all heard of the backhanded compliment; you know when you mom says, "Oh honey, what a beautiful dress. You can't even tell you've gained 10 pounds."  Yeah, thanks! Well, how about a backhanded apology—in other words, something that comes in the form of an olive branch, yet still manages to offend?

During the 2007 Ibero-American Summit in Chile, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez went on a rant and called the Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar a "fascist." Juan Carlos, the King of Spain, grew annoyed at the assault on his fellow countryman and interrupted another attendee's speech to shout at Chavez:

"Why don't you shut up?"

The outburst made worldwide headlines and was even turned into a ringtone. Eight months later Chavez is planning a visit to Spain and has already begun joking with the press.

"I'd like to give the king a hug, but you know, Juan Carlos, that I am not going to shut up," Mr Chavez said according to the BBC.

It may have been intended as a joke between leaders, but it's a classic example of how not to apologize. Being the bigger person means owning up to your own mistakes as well, and that includes calling someone's friend a fascist.

Posted: 7/22/08