I hate when people say “Ask for forgiveness, not permission.”

You know what I think of people who ask for forgiveness, not permission? I think they’re inconsiderate jerks.

How would you feel if your spouse borrowed your car keys without asking, leaving you stranded at home all day, and then apologized for it afterwards? I don’t know about you, but I’d think your spouse was an inconsiderate jerk.

How would you feel if your spouse cheated on you, let you know afterwards, and asked for forgiveness? Sounds like a pretty inconsiderate and jerky thing to do, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t it be better to ask for permission instead? Discuss what needs aren’t being met and how to make it better? Maybe figure out ways to improve the relationship as-is, maybe consider polyamory? By talking about it rather than acting first?

Okay, this is the end of the guest post from Bitchy Pace. We now return you to your regularly scheduled Pace.

I don’t feel like I’m going out on a limb by suggesting that it’s a good thing to be considerate of others. So why do so many of my friends swear by this mantra of inconsiderate jerkitude? (Or would that be jerkitudinosity?)

I’ve applied Miller’s Law and come up with two guesses.

My first guess is that they believe it’s a good thing to be considerate of others whom you respect. If, for instance, you don’t respect your parents, then just do whatever you want and ask for forgiveness afterwards. Don’t limit yourself by the rules of The Man. Damn The Man and don’t ask Him for permission. I can get behind that. Flout the rules if you disagree with them. Cool, more power to ya.

My second guess is that people apply it in a business setting and don’t carry it over to a personal setting. If your boss gives you permission to do something risky, she’s sticking her neck out on the line for you and she’ll take the fall if your risky venture fails. If, on the other hand, you just go ahead and do it, asking for forgiveness instead of permission, your boss looks good if you succeed and the risk falls entirely on you if it fails. That makes sense. It’s a symptom of a job culture that I think is pretty fucked up, but within that context, it makes sense.

What do you think of the saying “Ask for forgiveness, not permission,” and if you like it, what does it mean to you?

I promise not to call you an inconsiderate jerk. (: