When was the last time someone's actions hurt you? If you did receive an apology, did it include something along the lines of, "Well, I didn't mean to do that?"

If you find yourself constantly at the mercy of the mistakes of others, you may be missing certain cues that indicate someone's behavior is not likely to change.

Many may use their "original intent" as a way of defending themselves, shying away from accountability and admitting fault. Strangers, co-workers, and even friends who talk about intent when apologizing can fail to commit to fixing their behavior. They may, in fact, even direct anger back at you, the person who was hurt in the first place:

  • "That wasn't what I meant -- you're so sensitive."
  • "I didn't mean anything when I said that, why are you overreacting?"
  • "I never intended for things to be this way, you need to relax."

Watch out for apologies like these, and ask yourself, does the intent of someone's actions truly matter in the end once the damage has been done? If someone hurts you on purpose or on accident, is the end result not the same, no matter the original intent?

We all mess up sometimes, and none of us are immune to making mistakes. However, it's important to recognize that good intentions aren't an excuse for harmful actions -- once you learn and understand this, you have the opportunity to sidestep future situations in which others take advantage of you yet again, even if they "didn't mean to."