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Aethelwine's avatar

Are you actually sorry when you say the word sorry?

Asked by Aethelwine (42721points) June 13th, 2009 from iPhone

Recently I have made a few mistakes by not expressing myself clearly. Poor choice of words or lack thereof. For example, I should have used the word “some” instead of “all”. I’m not one who generalizes but it came across that way. My first reaction is to say sorry. Was I truly sorry for what I said? I was sorry for not expressing myself clearly but should I have just said “oops, my bad”?

Is there a difference? Do you say sorry too much?

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30 Answers

willbrawn's avatar

Sometimes no, sometimes it way after the fact when I actually feel sorry.

It all depends on what the situation is.

Sometimes I see how I made a mistake instantly, other times it takes someone being hurt to explain what I did.

El_Cadejo's avatar

If i say it, i mean it. Otherwise i wouldnt be saying it.

cookieman's avatar

What @uberbatman said.

I’ll often say, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…”
I try to explain what it is I’m sorry about so it doesn’t come off as if I’m just saying the words.

I teach this to my daughter also. She’s good at saying “sorry”, but since she turned five (she’s six now), I’ll say, “OK, what are you sorry about?”

I think it’s important to know why you’re apologizing.

DominicX's avatar

When I say it, yes. If I’m not sorry for something, I’m not going to pretend I am. My brutal honesty is part of my charm. :P

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

If it’s to do with work and I’m saying it to clients then most of the time I don’t mean it but it’s my job to smooth things over, I get paid to say and pretend to mean it even when the client may be wrong. Any other time, honestly… it’s about 70/30 I really mean it. I’m honest to a fault, like most.

Open's avatar

I mean it, even if it’s for something simple. For example if a friend drops a napkin off the table I’ll say sorry, but I mean it as “I’m sorry you drop your napkin.” When I visited NY I found it strange that people get mad if you say “sorry” for simple things. Some people were trying to teach me how to jump rope and I kept messing it up so I said sorry. After a few “sorry“s they started scolding me and said “Never apologies for making mistakes.” which seemed hugely strange to me…and just made me want to say “sorry” all over again. I think I just nodded not knowing what else to do.

Where I’m from it’s just considered rude if you don’t apologize. People expect you to mean it and when it’s been said the other party is expected to forgive you and move on.

AstroChuck's avatar

Not when I’m playing the board game Sorry. No regrets there. I’m just happy.

MacBean's avatar

If I’m not sorry, I don’t apologize. So if I do apologize, I honestly mean it. Like @cprevite, I try to articulate exactly what I’m sorry for because I know when people give me a quick “Sorry,” I don’t believe they mean it. If they show they’ve thought about it and know what they did, then I’m very quick to forgive.

Darwin's avatar

If I say I am sorry, then I am. If I am not sorry, I rarely apologize. If I do, then it is for whatever small part of my actions for which I am sorry.

My son, however, has the art of saying he is sorry while telegraphing that he actually is really glad and will do it again down to a science.

FiRE_MaN's avatar

i apologize only when necessary.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’m with @MacBean
no way will you ever get an apology from me, even if you think so, unless I also think so – and therefore I RARELY apologize and when I do, I mean it

whatthefluther's avatar

Sometimes , it is not my words or action I’m apologizing about, but rather your misinterpretation of those, and possible hurt feelings, which may or may not have been my fault or intention. Sorry, in advance, if I wasn’t clear.

DominicX's avatar

Homer Simpson: I never apologize. I’m sorry, but it’s just the way I am.

cak's avatar

If I say it, I mean it. In cases like what you are describing, I might apologize for the poor wording, but not the content. If I meant what I said in the content, but I made a mistake in generalizing (some vs. all) I would only apologize for generalizing, not for the content.

augustlan's avatar

I say sorry way too often. I really do mean it, but it’s often for things I really don’t need to feel sorry for. Guilt is a huge part of my make-up, and one that my husband and friends are constantly chiding me for. I have even said sorry for being sorry! More than once. :(

CMaz's avatar

50% of the time.

casheroo's avatar

If I say “Sorry” I’m usually not sorry. But if I say sorry and explain what I’m sorry about, then it’s genuine. But, sometimes I have been in a position where saying “sorry” was all I could say.

Aethelwine's avatar

@augustlan That’s exactly how I am. I’ll say it for the silliest things sometimes and Jon will tell me “don’t say sorry, just say excuse me or just don’t do it again”.

ratboy's avatar

Being a sociopath means never having to say “sorry.”

bea2345's avatar

@augustlanThat’s exactly how I am. Me too. My sister would reply, in irritation, “You and your sorrow!”

augustlan's avatar

@jonsblond and @bea2345 I’m sorry that you are that way, too. ;-)

cookieman's avatar

@augustlan: Stop that!

Actually, my wife is the same way. Unnecessary apologies followed by nervous giggles. Drives me bonkers.

augustlan's avatar

@cprevite If I remember correctly, your wife and I are the Super Empathy Girls team. :)

cookieman's avatar

@augustlan: You are correct my dear.
Empath Girl and her faithful sidekick Love Sponge. ;^)

Bluefreedom's avatar

If I apologize to someone for something I said or did, it’s going to be sincere because I don’t think it is an act that should be done flippantly. I’d much rather be openly regretful of a mistake I’ve made (and learn from it hopefully) rather than carry around the burden of guilt and/or shame in private and feel horrible in the process.

Aethelwine's avatar

Thank you all for answering. I was hoping to find others like me, and I did. Even though I am sincere in my apologies, sometimes I feel I say it too much and wonder if another word might be appropriate. :)

DominicX's avatar


I think it’s more common for women to do that than for men.

Aethelwine's avatar

@DominicX Careful. Some might find that comment as sexist and a gross generalization. ;)

DominicX's avatar


It’s just a theory. I’m curious to know if it’s true or not.

Aethelwine's avatar

@DominicX I know. I used poor wording on a thread and several people pointed out how I was generalizing and how it was sexist (if you know me, you know I am not a person who makes sexist remarks). That is one of the reasons why I asked this question.

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