Social Question

rem1981's avatar

Do you say excuse me too much?

Asked by rem1981 (393points) October 31st, 2016

I must hear “excuse me” 50x a day from people who aren’t even close to me. Are you one of those people who is so afraid of confrontation that you say “excuse me” to everyone?

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16 Answers

LuckyGuy's avatar

Japanese say it 50 times per day. They even have two expressions for it.
Sumimassen: excuse me for the rudeness I am about to do.
Gomennasai: excuse me for the rudeness I have just committed.

They’re very different.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Women tend to do it more than men, trying to avoid confrontation. We also tend to laugh to defuse situations. But no. I, personally, don’t say “Excuse me,” unless there is a reason.

BellaB's avatar

Canadians are more likely to say sorry. It’s our thing. We’re famous for apologizing to inanimate objects for bumping into them.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I say pardon. It sounds more polite to my ear. I don’t say it often.

ibstubro's avatar

I do not say “excuse me” much anymore, if people are in my way. I say, “I moved your cart”, “Please let me through”, and “I’d like to get through here?” in a neutral or pleasant voice.

I’m actively trying to reduce my use of “Excuse me.” You Are In My Way. You need to excuse yourself.

Stinley's avatar

Rarely do I say “excuse me”. I might if I wanted to catch someone’s attention. I do, however, say “sorry” a lot. It’s a UK thing. I say it 40+ times a day. I think it’s hard to grasp what it means in the UK as a non-UK person. It’s used very lightly. I’m not upset about what I did but I know those around me would be if I didn’t say sorry!

I said sorry here recently for a nothing that I did. The person I said it to, responded reassuring me that it was ok, I didn’t need to worry about what I’d done, it wasn’t a big mistake etc. Nations divided by a common language!

jca's avatar

I usually only say it in a situation like in a supermarket where someone might have their cart in my way and I’d like to pass.

In normal conversation, I almost never say it. Maybe only if I need to get someone’s attention, like “excuse me did you want to order lunch with us?” Even then, almost never.

JLeslie's avatar

I say “excuse me” to get someone’s attention if I’m interrupting them. I also use it if I’m walking or reaching in front of someone that interrupts their sight line regarding something they are doing. Like if they are looking at a shelf in the market, talking to someone, or watching a show.

I say “I’m sorry” if I accidentally bump in to someone.

I say “I beg your pardon” if I don’t hear something well and the person to repeat what they said.

I’ve seen statistics that women apologize much more often in some form or another throughout the day than men (an American statistic). I know if I compare my family to my husband’s, regardless of gender, my family is much more apt to apologize for small and large things. Much much more. A cultural thing maybe, or maybe it’s just his family.

If I bump with someone I almost never worry about whose fault it is, it doesn’t occur to me to even think about culpability, especially in a crowded place. I say I’m sorry to acknowledge the bump, it’s not really taking responsibility for it necessarily. It depends on the situation. My husband’s family equates an apology with taking responsibility and admitting you are a horrible person. They seize on it, and it feeds their own ego. Sometimes a formal apology is an admittance of wrong doing and asking for forgiveness, but a quick excuse me or I’m sorry in every day situations is often just an acknowledgement and checking the other person is ok.

LuckyGuy's avatar

^ Can you see how those types of interactions are quite different? In English is acceptable to use most of those expressions interchangeably. But not in Japanese. They consider the “rude” acts very different. For example: If you are intruding by trying to get someone’s attention, like when you are walking into a shop and you don’t see anyone around, you’d loudly say “seemassen” to the empty room. If you bumped into another customer you’d gasp and quickly say “gomen”. If you stepped on their dog you’d sheepishly say “gomennasai”. If you were asking the busy shopkeeper for directions you’d say “sumimassen”. There are others that reflect relative status but these are the most common.

JLeslie's avatar

@LuckyGuy I was surprised that I use the words in different ways when it is true that they are fairly interchangeable. I never thought about it until this Q.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, yeah. You can use it angrily, like, “Excuse me! I’m trying to get past you, dorkfish!” or to indicate disbelief “Excuse me? WHAT did you just say?”

ibstubro's avatar

When people sincerely say ‘excuse me’ to me, I now say “You’re good.” If they seem pleasant people, I then add, “I appreciate the fact that you even noticed that I exist.” To which they invariably reply with some form of “Isn’t that the truth!”

JLeslie's avatar

@ibstubro I wouldn’t say “you’re good” to someone 60 years old or over. I don’t really use that expression much anyway. I think I use “you’re fine” more, but still not a lot. I think they are both kind of new expressions, maybe I’m wrong. I didn’t grow up hearing it. Not until I moved to the Mid South did I hear it. I don’t know if its regional or just a newer expression and I’m old.

If someone said excuse me because we bumped into each other, I’d probably be saying “I’m sorry” or “excuse me” at the same time.

ibstubro's avatar

I’m 55. I say “You’re good.” in an expressive tone of voice. Apologies are not needed.

If we bump into each other, I say “Woops!”

If I’m being a dumbass and I bump into someone, I likely say, “So sorry!”

JLeslie's avatar

^^I just meant me, I wasn’t trying to tell you you shouldn’t say it to someone older. I’m not sure if my comment came across that way.

I was at Disney yesterday and a woman was annoyed a man bumped with her husband and the man looked at him like he was annoyed while her husband said sorry. She went in to mumble how some people are really unbelievable.

ibstubro's avatar

You’re good. @JLeslie.

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