What Are You Sorry For?

“I’m sorry” is an overused phrase.

I listened to a man repeat those two words dozens of times in a few short minutes yesterday. I am certain his intent was to be polite, yet he apologized with such frequency it bordered on ridiculous.

He asked forgiveness for every tiny thing that went awry.

Why?

He’d been given incorrect information.

The failure fell squarely on the shoulders of someone hundreds of miles away in a cubicle misreading a card, who likely repeated the line above or below the proper one on accident.

Sometimes people point you in the wrong direction.

How can it be your fault if you–believing them–act as though it’s right? Assuming you lacked previous knowledge, you’ve done nothing to warrant admitting to any offense.

Everyone gives out a bad tidbit or two every day. Most are honest misjudgments, maybe the result of missing education or personal opinions. These are part and parcel of being human, which unhappily ripple through other lives to create havoc on occasion.

It’s much different than brushing something under the rug.

Ignoring facts doesn’t excuse choosing the poorer option.

Making a counterintuitive decision can only lead to grander opportunities to plea guilty to your action’s consequences.

Manipulate situations.

Cheat others.

Serve yourself.

Invite your own disaster.

You’ll be sorry.

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5 Responses to “What Are You Sorry For?”


  1. 1 mklaebel June 29, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    And women apologize much more often than men. Usually unnecessarily so. I’ve broken myself of automatically saying “I’m sorry.” Now, I only say it when I mean it.

    • 2 Jason Eichacker June 29, 2010 at 9:31 pm

      I agree, women are more likely to say “I’m sorry” profusely. Of course, there are plenty of people like myself who, after spending years in retail, have had the response drilled into them as part of “the customer is always right.” I think a reflexive apology is sincere, yet there are plenty of times when it comes through gnashed teeth.

  2. 3 barbara June 29, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    I was told that “I’m Sorry” was a shortcut for “I’m sorry that I got caught, I will be slicker next time.”

    I say I’m sorry as a first step to acknowledging that I either hurt someone’s feelings, didn’t consider their feelings, or didn’t understand their feelings. Although I may not have cared about their feelings, when I do care about the person, the next step is to make sure it doesn’t happen again. This I don’t promise, I just do.

    So far, I have only lost a few friends using this philosophy.

    • 4 Jason Eichacker June 29, 2010 at 9:32 pm

      I like that, Barb. Particularly about being misunderstanding someone’s feelings. I’ve been caught several times thinking something was OK and then being surprised to know someone is offended. For that, I am always sorry.


  1. 1 5 Parts to Your Best Apology « MeBuilding Trackback on June 30, 2010 at 8:17 am
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