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Do you say "Sorry" too much?


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I say 'sorry' plenty. It's pretty normal among Canadians, and does not carry the implication that one is *actually* sorry for existing. It also doesn't substitute for 'thank you' quite as readily as the comic implies.

 

For example, it's normal to say, "I'm sorry, but I need to go." Or, "I'm sorry, I think you've dropped your wallet there!" -- it operates culturally well outside a sensible range of meaning. People don't take it literally if the context leads to a different sense/use of the word.

Edited by bolt.
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I do say the word "sorry" a lot but not in the way it is used in those comics.

 

More like:

Person: bummer! it's raining and now I can't go to the parade

Me: I'm sorry

 

This does not mean I think I caused the rain. It means "I can see you're disappointed and I care about you and have compassion for you in your disappointment".

 

I don't understand when people reply to 'im sorry' with "why? You didn't cause the rain!"

 

In my world "I'm sorry" and "I apologise"/"I'm sorry, please forgive me" are different things.

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I do think "excuse me" often works for when I say I'm sorry. Don't the Japanese constantly say, "sumimasan"? (Which means excuse me). I like to think of it as the oil in a community of lots of people in a small place. Choosing to be a person who is quick to apologize, and slow to take offense keeps the world going 'round.

 

Of course, don't accept blame that isn't yours, especially in deeper issues, but I don't think it's so bad to say, "I'm sorry." It sort of means, "I mean no harm, and I take no offense. I'm here to be cheerful and make things as easy as possible."

 

Eta I confess I didn't read the comic first. I thought I had a grasp of it from the other posts. I do like saying thank you in those contexts, mostly because it's a positive statement instead of a negative.

Edited by Guinevere
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I say sorry way too much and am working on it. I'll even say I'm sorry if someone else bumps into me and it would be more appropriate for them to apologize to me! This drives DH crazy.

In Canada that's normal manners -- like, we genuinely teach our kids, "That's what you say, no matter who did the bumping. Sometimes it can be hard to tell, and usually it's not worth your time to think though 'fault' for a minor mishap. It's better to be in polite habits."
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LOL!  I had a doctor once who constantly apologized.  After the fifth "sorry" in about three minutes, I told him he apologized too much.  Of course, he once again apologized and told me his wife told him the same thing.  And again, "I'm sorry."   :001_rolleyes:  Your comment makes me wonder if he might have been Canadian!

 

 

LOL. All us Canadians are like, oh no, sorry! I mean, sorry about saying sorry. Ooops. Sorry. 

 

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I don't even understand the way some people use the word Sorry, esp. on message boards.  Someone posts something controversial like, "I spanked my daughter last night."  And someone else wants to slam them for spanking, but they start the sentence with, "I'm sorry, but spanking is child abuse."

 

I see this all the time, particularly on one board I frequent (not here.)  Why would someone say "I'm sorry" in that sentence?  I am still trying to figure out why people do this, but I see it frequently.

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I don't even understand the way some people use the word Sorry, esp. on message boards.  Someone posts something controversial like, "I spanked my daughter last night."  And someone else wants to slam them for spanking, but they start the sentence with, "I'm sorry, but spanking is child abuse."

 

I see this all the time, particularly on one board I frequent (not here.)  Why would someone say "I'm sorry" in that sentence?  I am still trying to figure out why people do this, but I see it frequently.

 

Only thing I can think is maybe it is a form of tact.  And they want to soften the blow?

 

Most people don't just come right out with anything.  They seem to massage the words a bit. 

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I would say that I've found, "Thank You" is actually more appropriate about 30% of the time for me.  I do use "Excuse me" sometimes, too.  

 

I know it doesn't speak to everyone.  I was just hoping to share with those it would help.  There's nothing wrong with the different cultural uses of "Sorry," but for some of us with a history of abuse, groveling becomes a natural state, and it's good to think about how we use the word.  (Somehow I didn't want to say it that in the original post, but I wanted to clarify.)

 

 

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I don't even understand the way some people use the word Sorry, esp. on message boards.  Someone posts something controversial like, "I spanked my daughter last night."  And someone else wants to slam them for spanking, but they start the sentence with, "I'm sorry, but spanking is child abuse."

 

I see this all the time, particularly on one board I frequent (not here.)  Why would someone say "I'm sorry" in that sentence?  I am still trying to figure out why people do this, but I see it frequently.

 

I'm sorry (to express a potentially insulting or inflammatory opinion when I would normally prefer to stay out of other people's business) but....

 

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One of my kids says sorry all the time. It makes me uncomfortable, because he is sincerely apologizing. I want him to be responsible. And tenderhearted. And thoughtful. But, I also would like to say, "Hey, you forgot to put your dishes in the dishwasher," or, "Wow, it is already 3:00. We're not doing so hot on school today," without him feeling like he needs to apologize to me. He has become so responsible and works hard to be a good person, which is good. But I feel like I'm super critical when he says sorry all the time. Not everything needs to be taken so seriously. I guess there is no pleasing some parents. If he were back talking or not doing his work or whatever (he's 13), I would be grousing about that.

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I'm sorry (to express a potentially insulting or inflammatory opinion when I would normally prefer to stay out of other people's business) but....

 

 

I'm sorry BUT, means you aren't sorry.  I think there are far better ways of saying what you want to say......which are firm, but not rude.

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Only thing I can think is maybe it is a form of tact.  And they want to soften the blow?

 

Most people don't just come right out with anything.  They seem to massage the words a bit. 

 

If I see "I'm sorry, BUT" I find it very annoying.  You are NOT sorry.  Don't say you are.

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If I see "I'm sorry, BUT" I find it very annoying.  You are NOT sorry.  Don't say you are.

 

True, but people are also not necessarily thankful, happy, impressed, etc.  It seems a lot of people say stuff based on what they think ppl want to hear (or simply it has become just something that gets said in that situation with no real meaning behind it).

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I say excuse me and thank you more than I say sorry in those instances, but WRT the linked comic, a lot of those are features of a person suffering from depression. A non-depressed person probably won’t appologize for telling a long, miserable story, but a depressed person will because the depressed person feels rotten.

 

When I was going through a tough time, the number of people who could just sit compassionately with me while I was heartbroken we shockingly few. It did lead me to feel like I was wasting other people’s lives and time with my pain. It is why some people retreat when they are hurt. It certainly was the reason I did.

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I'm sorry BUT, means you aren't sorry.  I think there are far better ways of saying what you want to say......which are firm, but not rude.

 

I think the 'sorry' is about the etiquette.  I'm sorry to be breaking normal rules of politeness but I have to do that in this case because I am so horrified (or whatever).

 

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I don't even understand the way some people use the word Sorry, esp. on message boards.  Someone posts something controversial like, "I spanked my daughter last night."  And someone else wants to slam them for spanking, but they start the sentence with, "I'm sorry, but spanking is child abuse."

 

I see this all the time, particularly on one board I frequent (not here.)  Why would someone say "I'm sorry" in that sentence?  I am still trying to figure out why people do this, but I see it frequently.

 

It can mean they don't want to deal with the consequences of stepping over someone's boundaries.

 

 

I don't love it when people say "sorry" when they mean "that's a shame."

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I'm sorry BUT, means you aren't sorry. I think there are far better ways of saying what you want to say......which are firm, but not rude.

I don't understand why it's perceived as impossible to feel sorry legitimately, and, concurrently have other feelings, motives, values and assessments of a situation that lead to a "but" (and to doing the action that makes you sorry). Mixed feelings exist. One does not negate the other.

 

Examples:

 

Most people are genuinely sorry to leave a beloved church, but (for some legitimate reason) they do it.

 

Most people are genuinely sorry to miss an event they are invited to (and wanted to go to), but they had a prior commitment.

 

Most people are genuinely sorry if they have to tell a student that their assignment is too late to be accepted for credit, but they stick to policy anyways.

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I don't remember what prompted this, but I recently started trying to minimize my apologies in my professional life.  Instead of, "I apologize for taking three days to respond to your email that has no deadline and is not remotely time-sensitive," I say, "Thank you for your patience as I've worked through my backlog from being out of the office."  My rationale is that it takes the focus off of me and encourages the other person to feel good about not being snippy.  Or something like that.  My general impression is that men apologize much less often than women in a professional setting, and I think continuous apologizing makes us look less competent--nice, but less competent.  When someone is paying my hourly rate, they need to both feel and know I am competent.

 

 

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