“I apologize in advance” is the social equivalent of dividing by zero

Today I’m aiming my listless, righteous indignation at the windmill of phony courtesy.

Exhibit A: I need you to do [x] for me. Thanks in advance.

Thanks in advance… why not just say what you mean, which is either (a) “thank you” or (b) “I don’t think it’s important to directly acknowledge you for your help.”

Exhibit B is the equally valueless I apologize in advance.

Translation: “I know I’m being obnoxious, but if I’m obnoxious with a limp, indirect apology, I’ll feel much better about it.”

Thanks in advance and apologies in advance are the mannerly equivalents of dividing by zero. They mean nothing. They have no value. They don’t exist. They void the social equation.

If you feel the urge to thank me or apologize to me in advance, either (a) don’t do what you’re about to do or (b) do the deed without the artificial courtesies. Be bold.

On to the next windmill.