I re-learned it the other evening after seizing upon the power of apologizing.
At a screening, I was seated right behind Tony winning actor/singer/humanitarian Phyllis Newman and cringed every time she swiveled her head because I didn’t want her to see me.
I’d written something off-base about her some years ago, and have felt weird about it ever since, wishing I could undo the damage.
(I wrote that she walked out of watching a Broadway play, not realizing it was because of a health problem. She wanted to stay for Act Two, but couldn’t.)
At the screening’s after party, I was working the room as Phyllis entered, barreling right into my line of vision.
My heart raced, but rather than duck for cover one more time, I seized the moment and tried to spark a difference.
“Hi, Phyllis,” I said, going for the pounce.
“I’m so sorry I wrote something bad about you.”
“What?” she said, obviously not thinking about this night and day for six years as I have.
“Some time ago, I wrote something dumb and I just want to apologize. I’m so sorry,” I elaborated, cranking up the charm I didn’t know I even had.
“Oh, that’s OK,” she replied, lovingly.
“Life is too short.”
Wham–bad feelings evaporated.
Of course 99 per cent of the harsh things I’ve written I totally stand by, but it was nice to defuse the ickiness of this one.