Taking responsibility… it’s not quite as common as you think.
The thing about taking responsibility or accountability is that it takes character, it takes the courage to swallow your pride and face the music.
These are behaviors that have become increasingly rare in today’s world.
So if someone you know has no issues taking responsibility, this speaks volumes about their character.
And vice versa. If you know someone who refuses to take responsibility then, well, they have some work to do internally.
Until that day, it might be wise to stay wary of these folks.
In this article, I’ll take you through the common justifications of people who refuse to take responsibility in life.
If you hear these excuses, you’ll know something’s up.
Let’s dive in!
1) “It’s not my fault; my co-workers didn’t do their part.”
One of the telltale signs of integrity is the capability of owning up to shortcomings.
Think of the world of team sports, the most respected leaders will always take accountability, whether they’re at fault or not.
These leaders will have enough maturity and self-assuredness to step up and acknowledge their role in the problem.
So if you know someone who deflects blame, then this is very telling.
For responsibility evaders, deflecting blame is almost like a reflex.
Nobody is perfect, nobody is incapable of mistakes.
To err is human.
When someone vehemently claims otherwise, say by faulting others, this says a lot about their character… or lack thereof.
2) “No, that never happened.”
Another go-to move for the responsibility-avoider is to deny the facts altogether.
Remember, denial isn’t just a river in Egypt–it’s very much present in a large segment of the population.
We see denial every day, in people unwilling to face uncomfortable truths, in people who would rather remain in the safety of ignorance rather than confront the challenging realities of the world.
It’s called willful ignorance.
Deep down, they know they might be acting dishonestly, but they’re content lying to themselves… and everyone else.
This can be dangerous.
If they’re capable of turning a blind eye to their shortcomings, they can justify getting away with anything.
3) “There’s nothing I could have done to change the outcome.”
As established, real leaders will always stand out.
They don’t claim helplessness, suddenly conjuring up tales about their lack of control or power when it’s convenient, using them as shields against acknowledging responsibility.
That’s just weak.
They own their mistakes and use them to come back stronger.
4) “It’s not a big deal, everyone makes mistakes.”
When I was a delinquent high school student getting suspended every other month, I used to brush off getting in trouble as not a “big deal.”
By maintaining such a dismissive tone, I would never really learn from my mistakes.
My default move would be to minimize the issue; by trivializing my actions, I would try to sidestep the full consequences of my behavior.
It took me years to wake up, to embrace my mistakes as a means to growth rather than minimizing them as insignificant.
5) “I only did it because I was under a lot of pressure.”
Do you know what separates the Nelson Mandela’s, the Joan of Arc’s, or Michael Jordan’s of the world from everyone else?
When the pressure is on, they take control.
They don’t cower from the bright lights, from the high-stakes moments of life.
Win or lose, they give it their all.
Sure, their results may not always be ideal, but they can hold their heads high knowing that they did their best.
In those same situations, people who are averse to responsibility will blame the pressure instead of conquering it.
They’ll try to provide far-fetched reasoning for their mistakes, in hopes of making their excuse more acceptable and rational.
But at the end of the day, it’s still an excuse.
6) “I’m always targeted and treated unfairly.”
Sometimes, people want to take their cake and eat it too.
Think of the spineless politicians who regularly act without scruples, but when they’re held accountable they cry “witch hunt.”
Playing the victim simply isn’t cool when you are at fault.
When you’re wrong, as we all are at some point in life, take it on the chin and charge to experience.
Don’t run in the opposite direction, crocodile tears and all, claiming you’ve been wronged.
Accepting your role in a situation rather than deflecting blame away from it is a testament to your integrity–and people will respect you for it.
7) “I didn’t try because I knew I wouldn’t succeed.”
When I was younger, I’d avoid taking risks because I thought failure was a foregone conclusion.
This was a reflection of my self-worth at the time.
In my mind, the great things in life, say asking out an attractive person, were for other people–and I could only look on with envy and longing.
Then I started to realize my power, that I could take control of my situation if I tried just a bit harder.
So I gathered the resolve to start asserting myself.
Slowly but surely my fear of failure dissipated.
No longer do I make excuses to avoid the risk and consequences of failure.
I’ve accepted that failure is always a possibility, but by giving a situation my best self, I mitigate the chances of it.
One of the more profound lessons I’ve learned over the years is that it’s better to try and fail than never try at all.
8) “I have too much on my plate to deal with this right now.”
Stress is a part of human existence.
We encounter it daily in different amounts, from our morning commute to trying to make work deadlines on time.
Learning to handle stress is therefore a life skill that should not be overlooked.
My ex had an exceptionally low threshold for stress in any form.
She’d get overwhelmed easily.
Instead of multitasking, she’d get bogged down by the slightest bit of pressure, almost shutting down to everything and everyone else.
She’d have a resigned attitude as if she were physically incapable of taking anything else on, even when this was far from the case.
It’s a shame because she was smart and capable.
But she would quit without trying, and watch key life opportunities pass her by all because she was “too stressed.”
Sadly, people who avoid taking responsibility are all around us.
They could be our business partners, our spouses, our siblings, our friends.
It’s therefore wise to develop an awareness and method for weeding these people out.
Life is short, you want to surround yourself with people who uplift you not bring you down.
And if they’re not taking responsibility, they’ll almost always bring you down.