13 thoughts on “Excuse or Explanation: Is There a Difference?

  • July 7, 2014 at 10:28 am

    A lot of times people will use excuses as a means of manipulation to shift the blame and reduce their responsibility for doing something wrong. And no because it’s a defence, it’s a full on attack with the goal of avoiding punishment

    • March 15, 2017 at 8:20 am

      I agree. Its a means to not recognize their own guilt many times. I call them psychopaths.

  • August 20, 2014 at 9:13 am

    “Some people hesitate to give any explanations; they see explanations and excuses as the same thing, and they don’t want to be seen as giving excuses.”

    This is SO me. I always feel weird/guilty when explaining myself because I’m afraid people will think I’m just giving excuses. I’m glad I found this article. Now that I understand the difference I’ll know when and how to give explanations.

    • March 15, 2017 at 8:27 am

      Explanations or justifications? That doesn’t mean that you are correct in your explanations. I have had far too many people with excuses for themselves and they have had insane explanations for themselves too.

  • June 18, 2015 at 6:48 am

    I just want to say thanks for writing this. After reading this I have a greater understanding of he difference and can re-assess what I was thinkiing and doing.

    • July 31, 2016 at 7:13 pm

      I second this cooment. I find it increasingly harder to communicate with people because of the situation I am in due to some poor choices I have made. My favorite part of this article is when you say something to the extent of explanations helping for 2 people helping to achieve a common goal. I Think this article should be a part of every person’s high school curriculum. A person should have to know this information on the spot just like carrying an ID or driver’s license when driving a car. When pulled over, a policeman should say “license and registration and EoE card please” Lol. Well done Writer, thank you.

    • March 15, 2017 at 8:30 am

      With me, I was thinking to get rid of people out of my life with their excuses and explanations for their insanity.

  • January 19, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    The way I see it, this article does a good job of letting those who make an excuse for everything off the hook by saying, “People make excuses when they feel attacked.”

    There are two kinds of people in this world – people who make things happen no matter what they have to do to make it happen. No excuses. And then there are people who are afraid to fail, so they let their feelings, and thus excuses, become their “reason.”

    Saying people make excuses when they feel attacked is basically making an excuse for the person who refuses to take responsibility for something and be held accountable.

    Just my two cents.

    • May 30, 2020 at 4:19 pm

      The article shows the difference between excuse and explanation. Explaining does not mean trying to get away with it. Think about a time you did something wrong and, when it was pointed out to you, you realized your error, most likely you explained why it happened, which is totally fine as long as you are not shifting blame, denying, etc.

  • January 30, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    Thank you for writing this

  • November 21, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    Question for the author:
    I usually know—if I stop and analyze it— the difference in when I’m making an excuse or when I’m trying to explain to someone the reasons behind a situation.

    However, I have a close friend who sees every explanation as an excuse, because many of my reasons aren’t particularly visible. (for example—I was very ill for a few months, almost too ill to get up to pee. When I ended up depleting my finances, He wanted to know why I hadn’t applied for disability. My reason: if I was too sick to pee, i was too sick to even contemplate filing for disability. He viewed this as an excuse. This is just one example. It’s an ongoing issue between us. I try to explain my struggles, mostly so he “gets it” or “gets” me and my life—BECAUSE these factors aren’t visible.
    He feels my struggles are because I make excuses. I feel misunderstood, attacked etc. I’m sure you get the picture.

    What are some effective ways of communicating my challenges in a way that doesn’t sound like I’m just a slacker?

    I have ADHD, some autoimmune disorders that cause fatigue, and in the last year I had heart surg and near liver failure after that…unknown etiology but it’s ok now. Those are just the big struggles this YEAR, lol…there are other huge challenges I won’t even get into.
    But there are minor ones too. for example, one of the Alzheimer’s patients I worked with “stole” my glasses…I can’t see shit but do not have the means to buy new ones ($400 lenses).

    I’m doing the best I can but life throws curve balls and sometimes many at once.

    How do I share my authentic self without sounding like I’m making excuses?

    How do I kindly show someone they’re being judgmental, without being judgmental myself.

    Espec to someone who thinks “judging” is valid because it’s critical thinking. His example, “aren’t we “judging” killers when we say murder is wrong?”

    How do I tell him I need support, not shaming, without sounding like I’m a victim?

    What’s the best way to support a dialogue, rather than spiraling into an argument?


  • August 10, 2019 at 9:35 am

    Good morning,
    I’d like your permission to use parts of your blog “Excuse or Explanation” for a group we are doing for veterans here in Charleston, SC. I think that it will be helpful for them to better understand this as they recover from PTSD.
    I will reference your name and web link giving you credit if this is okay.
    Thanks so much.


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