Dig Baton Rouge

The Bitter Lemon

By Holly A. Phillips — @OrangeJulius7


“I’m sick of people with all of these excuses,” my best friend told me over the phone.

She was referring to several instances where, as she put it, people had excuses rather than reasons.

I’ve been hearing that a lot lately, and to be honest, I’m not quite sure what it means.

After talking with my friend, I understand it to be this: a reason is taking responsibility for your actions, an excuse does nothing. Keep in mind, a reason can easily turn into an excuse if left un-dealt with.

I started thinking about all of the things in my life—things I’ve done, things that have happened to me, and how I reacted to them. Were they reasons or excuses?

Particularly, I was thinking about a man that’s been in my life for the last year.

I liked him a lot. Like, a lot. In Carly Rae Jepsen terms, I really, really, really, really liked him. But then he gave me the fade, and eventually stopped talking to me without reason (or an excuse).

About a month ago, he came back around and offered his sincere apologies. He admitted that I didn’t deserve his treatment.

But, why did he do it?

He said he had a problem with commitment and he was working on it.

For about a week, I took that as an acceptable reason. But when I really got to thinking about it, I felt a little different.

What caused his commitment issues? A family problem? A bad relationship? Then I wondered, what was he doing to resolve these issues in order to ever have a successful relationship? Was he seeking counseling or carrying on in his usual activities?

I asked him about the cause, and he simply said, “Past relationships, I guess.”


My parents divorced, and I’ve had countless bad relationships, yet here I am (after years of therapy), still trying to find love.

I know everyone deals with things differently, but all of a sudden, his reason seemed like an excuse.

Was he using “commitment problems” as an easy out to not talk to me? It sure felt like it.

I relayed this conversation back to my best friend, and she agreed that it was just an excuse.

I felt hurt all over again; I felt I deserved a better explanation.

It would have been way different if he’d said, “I’ve got bad commitment issues, and I’m seeing a counselor to work on it.” Because follow-up and taking responsibility for our actions paves the road to reason, not excuses.

Of course, it’s easy for me to sit here and blame others for my problems, but that seems an awful lot like an excuse.

Instead, I’ll just say that I haven’t talked to him since then, because I feel like surrounding myself with that kind of energy is just not good for me.

Reasoning versus excuses: it’s an important distinction to make in life, work, and in dating. Don’t fall for someone who’s handing out excuses. You know what they say: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

But it’s also important to look at yourself—are you giving excuses or reasons?

It’s not the New Year, but I’m making a vow right here and now: no more excuses. Reasons only.

What about you? What’s your excuse?

Read more about excuses versus reasons on Holly’s blog, TheBitterLemon.com.


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