Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Sorry Not Sorry

"Sorry seems to be the hardest word." - Elton John

With all due respect, Sir Elton, I disagree. Saying sorry has become way too easy. 

Remember this post that I wrote back in 2016? In case you don't remember I proclaimed that going forward I was going to stop using the word deserve. I'm happy to say I've stuck to my plan and rarely use the D word.  

And now, I think it's time we all stop saying the word sorry or at a minimum we should significantly reduce the frequency with which we are saying it because it seems that many of us are in a constant state of being very, very sorry for everything.

Women especially always want to tell you how sorry they are. Sorry for being late, sorry their house is a mess, sorry they didn't call you back, sorry the phone was on the charger and they missed your SMS, sorry we don't have any sparkling water, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry. Men on the other hand are never sorry for anything or if they are, they never bother to mention it.

I believe that it's o.k. for men and women alike to be sorry about certain things. It is o.k. to say sorry if: you bump into someone, you hit someone with your car, you feed someone peanuts and they are allergic, or if someone you know has lost (as in died) a friend or relative. I feel strongly that we should save the word sorry for the moments when we are truly sorry.

Instead, most of the times when we say sorry, we really aren't sorry at all. We just want the other person to reassure us and let us know that we shouldn't be sorry. We should ask ourselves why we are fishing for so much reassurance. 

Men apparently don't need any reassurance because they know everything they do is great. 

Let's imagine a scenario for a moment and no this didn't happen to me...it's made up. 

Let's imagine that a man and a woman live together in the same house. Let's imagine that the man was out walking the dog and the woman ran out to do an errand. Somehow, when she left the house the door locked and the man, when he returned with the dog, was locked out. He calls the woman and she rushes home to let him in. She jumps out of the car saying, "sorry, sorry, sorry, the door must have locked, I didn't lock it, how long were you waiting, etc. etc. etc." She says all this as she runs, yes RUNS over to the door and unlocks it to let the man in.

Now reverse the situation, the woman is walking the dog and returns home to a locked door. She calls the man and he comes home and unlocks it for her. The man, I can promise you will not say he's sorry. He might possibly say that there is something wrong with the door or the lock that caused it to lock unnecessarily, but more than likely he won't even comment on the situation. He will casually get out of his car, smile at the woman, saunter over and unlock the door. He is Prince Charming saving the day and there is nothing sorry about that. If he does speak, he will make a comment about a topic totally unrelated such as, "wow I saw a bad car accident out on route 12."

And you know what...he's right. The world is an imperfect place. Doors lock and sometimes when they do people find themselves on the wrong side of them. No one purposely locked anyone out and the person who shut the door didn't mean any harm. It just happened. 

And funny, I realize as I'm writing this that I've obviously been in America a while now because if you're living in a secure fortress in Joburg, this door locking scenario makes no sense at all.

My suggestion to curb all of this sorriness is to think of other things to say instead. Going forward if I find myself in a situation that I'm truly sorry about I will say "I apologize" which I think makes the statement more genuine rather than saying sorry which at this point is more of a habit than an expression of actual emotion.

Here are some examples of how not to say you're sorry.

Scenario                                                           What to say instead of sorry
You're late to meet someone                             Thank you for waiting. I apologize.
You miss someones phone call                          I missed your call earlier
We don't have any club soda                             We don't have any club soda
You forget to do something that someone 
asked of you                                                      I must have forgotten to....

I'll let you know how it works out. 


  1. I LOVE this post! Your example is spot on. This happens at our house almost daily. I even one-up you: In your second example, my husband would probably even say: You should have taken a key with you when walking the dog! I'm always sorry for everything and when he gets upset, I ask myself what I could have done better. Like you so eloquently point out, he has no such misgivings. Why do we do this to ourselves? Thank you for bringing this up. I will try to follow your example and not be sorry for everything anymore. Will also let you know how it goes!

    1. I know. It's really unbelievable how sorry we are all the time for everything. It will be interesting to notice how many times per day we have to stop ourselves from saying we are sorry. I look forward to hearing from how as to how it's going. Thanks for reading!


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Hello and thank you for taking an interest in my blog. This blog tells the story of some big life changes. First, my husband and I have just moved to Geneva, Switzerland for a few months following a few years of living in Johannesburg, South Africa. The two places could not be more different. I'm excited to share our adventures, challenges and insights with you! My thoughts and opinions are my own.