Top Ten Excuses
“I lost track of the time.”
We say this when we didn’t do what we were asked to in the time allotted, or we were late to meet with someone.
“I found what I was doing far more important/enjoyable than the thought of meeting with you (or doing whatever you wanted me to do). I don’t lose track of time when I’m waiting to board an airplane. I don’t lose track of time when it’s time to get off work. I just didn’t care about you enough to KEEP TRACK of the time.”
“I didn’t understand that that’s what you meant.”
We say this when we have done a much lesser job than we were requested to do.
“What you asked me to do required a lot of work on my part. But you used a few words that could be interpreted in more than one way. I chose the interpretation that would mean LESS work for me. Come to think of it, I have never ONE time misinterpreted what you said in a way where I did MORE work than you asked for.”
“I thought you said . . .”
We say this when we made a mistake in executing a request or requirement—a variation on #9 above. We were asked, for example, to go to the hardware store and get six 2x4s, but we came back with four 2x6s, which isn’t at all the same.
“I wasn’t paying attention. It wasn’t all that important to me, so I didn’t write it down, and I didn’t repeat your request back to you. I just nodded and went through the motions of fulfilling your request. If I had really cared about you, I would have gotten it right. When you speak, I tend to think about me, not you. If you had said, for example, ‘Take one hundred dollars out of my wallet and treat yourself to a night out this weekend,’ I would not have misinterpreted that. Not a chance.”
“Something came up.”
We say this when we’ve made a commitment to do something or be somewhere, but then we change our mind.
“I just decided that I didn’t want to do what you asked me to do, and I didn’t want to appear to be uncaring or irresponsible. So rather than tell the truth, I blamed my failure on some vague THING that appeared out of nowhere.”
“I was so busy.”
We say this when someone asks us if we’ve accomplished some task we committed to do.
“I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about doing what you asked, so I put a long line of other tasks—including some recreation—ahead of what you wanted.”
“The traffic was bad.”
“I’ve made this particular commute hundreds of time, and I know that the traffic is often bad. But the fastest I ever made the trip—in the middle of the night with no cars on the road—was XX minutes, so I routinely leave the house XX minutes before I’m supposed to be here. Funny how I’m never on time, and I don’t really care to change my habits so that I’m responsible instead of making lame excuses.”
“I didn’t know you meant today.”
“I really could have picked up from your voice that you wanted that done today, but I just ignored it. I didn’t want to do it today, so I didn’t specifically ASK you about your priorities.”
“I didn’t have time.”
See #6 above. In addition, “I had plenty of time for everything else. I daydreamed for a while, surfed the Internet, watched a movie, and gossiped with my sister and one of my co-workers. I just did whatever I wanted before I even thought about what you wanted.”
“I didn’t mean to . . .”
We say this when we’ve made a mistake or we’ve been inconsiderate.
“I didn’t consciously intend to be irresponsible or inconsiderate, but I didn’t intend NOT to either. I just wasn’t being thoughtful, but I don’t want to look thoughtless, so I hope that my saying ‘I didn’t mean to’ will make me look better, and then you won’t be angry with me.”
“Yeah, I kind of forgot, but it would be far more accurate to say that I put what you wanted out of my mind. If it had been truly important to me, I would not have forgotten. I don’t forget my birthday. I don’t forget to pick up my paycheck. I don’t forget the day my vacation starts. But what you asked me to do just didn’t matter that much to me.”
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