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Forums / Staying well / To apologise or not to apologise is that the question?

Topic: To apologise or not to apologise is that the question?

  1. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    10 July 2021

    Welcome everyone.

    I call myself the queen sorry as I'm always saying sorry whether things are my fault or not .

    Someone could tread on my toe and I would say sorry .A friend will be late and I'll say sorry. You get the idea.

    I am often being told I say sorry way too much and that could affect my self-esteem..

    It is just second nature to say sorry. I am not aware of it until someone points it out.

    I thought I know people who never apologize or rarely apologize but no one ever seems to say to them that they should apologise more.

    So do you think it is worse to apologise too much or too little ?

    I am interested in your personal experiences.

  2. Guest9337
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    1001 posts
    11 July 2021 in reply to quirkywords

    g'day quirkywords,

    Pretty cool discussion you've opened up, thanks.

    I'll start with a joke. Are you saying sorry for saying sorry too much?

    I recall watching a movie about Frank Sinatra staying in an Australian hotel back in the 70's. One thing FS said, I dimly recall, was that he would never apologise. Unions got involved, Bob Hawke got involved, it's a true story, check it out - quite an amazing bit of our history.

    I suppose that saying sorry is, like many actions, is an optimisation problem. Already you and I have defined the two extremes, always sorry, never being sorry. A good guess is the optimisation is somewhere in the middle hey!

    If we say sorry so much that others don't even believe us, could be an issue.

    If we never say sorry we may destroy relationships where apologies are required to move on.

    If we say sorry at the slightest event, are we even meaning sorry/apology? Could just be like one of those phrases that people say but not feel. Like I'm so hungry I could eat a horse.

    I won't say I'm sorry or apologise unless I feel it deeply AND have rationally thought it through... because when I am sorry - I hold myself to restoring the damage done that needs apologies, ie. I commit to change as a healthy act.

  3. Guest9337
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    11 July 2021 in reply to Guest9337

    Upon reflection I've recollected the one place I am quick to apologise, is sport.

    I play a non contact sport, so if I accidently bump an opponent, after the rally I might say sorry, but I've already thought that through so can act quick on it - like a gentleman.

  4. LJpd81
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    222 posts
    11 July 2021
    Yes I say sorry and thank you far too often. I am always saying sorry. You are definitely not alone.
    1 person found this helpful
  5. quirkywords
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    11 July 2021 in reply to Guest9337
    David
    Thanks go your contribution to the discussion.

    I feel I say sorry to avoid conflict and just in case.

    Sport is an interesting one .

    I had close relative who said never apologise never explain because they felt it would be lying to falsely apologise for something that they never did and they always believed they were right!!

  6. quirkywords
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    11 July 2021 in reply to LJpd81

    Lip

    Do you ever say sorry to keep the peace and avoid conflict?

    Thanks for your post.

  7. Guest9337
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    11 July 2021 in reply to quirkywords

    One of the quite old retail industry methods for dealing with an angry customer was to open with "We are sorry."

    The argument was that sometimes an apology is enough for the customer to feel satisfaction and continue being a customer.

    For retail, back then in 1980's & 1990's, it was simply and openly about keeping a customer coming back into the store. We were even told we could say sorry even if we didn't feel nor believe we were actually at fault.

    Just keep the customer coming back, happy.

  8. quirkywords
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    12 July 2021 in reply to Guest9337
    David
    The customer is always right was around on the 50s or even before.

    I think it has always been the mantra of retail customer service.

    I think if you show the customer you are listening and understand their problem by saying sorry it helps to stop them bring angry.

  9. geoff
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    12 July 2021 in reply to quirkywords

    Hello Quirky, a good question.

    If you say sorry to someone when you know you are in the right, then it may be a fear that you are going to lose this friendship, so you say sorry, hoping for a positive response from them.

    When you continually keep saying sorry, then what does it mean when you are definitely sorry, does the person believe you, probably not, so does this affect the relationship, probably yes, as honesty and trust are questioned.

    Saying sorry to keep the peace and quiet are often said to keep any conflict away, but this can eventually turn against you and make you very careful of what you want to say next.

    Best wishes.

    Geoff.

  10. therising
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    12 July 2021 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi quirkywords

    'Sorry' is definitely an interesting one. Can recall analysing this word some time ago when wondering why people say 'I'm sorry for your loss' when someone they know has passed. I suppose it's a matter of 'I'm sorrowful for your loss'. Should add the fact that I love to analyse the hell out of words so as to find a bit more heaven in life. Words can be so potentially depressing, hellish.

    Perhaps a lot of us are conditioned into saying sorry, when we're kids, and then be led to wonder 'Why do I say sorry so much?'. It's like some poor kid gets hit by his brother and then yells at his brother before a parent steps in and and says 'Apologise to each other right now!' The kid that got hit tries to explain but is yelled at, 'You heard what I said, say sorry!' What the heck?! How is that fair? As a kid, you accidentally drop something. 'Say sorry'. You might trip over someone's foot who's got their legs stretched out, relaxing in the lounge room. 'Say sorry'. You speak over someone else because you're just so excited to get what's in your head out into the conversation. 'Apologise for being so rude!' As a kid, we can be conditioned into spending half our young life apologising. I suppose, in a way, it becomes about saying sorry for just about everything before you told to say it. Before you know it, you don't even realise you're saying it until people start to raise your consciousness.

    Suddenly, people may say 'Why are you apologising?' You say 'I don't know'. 'Why do you say sorry when you don't even mean it (when it holds no meaning)? You say 'I don't know'. 'Why are you saying sorry when it wasn't even your fault?' You say 'I don't know'. I suppose it's a matter of if you go back far enough, to when you were a kid, you'll know.

    When my parents were together, my father used to say sorry for just about everything, even to the point where it didn't make sense. It used to drive my mum nuts. When she'd ask him why he's said it, he'd typically say 'I don't know' followed with 'Sorry'. This is where I wish to thank you quirky, for raising my consciousness. I'd never considered before the reasons as to why my dad did and still does this. His mother was known to be a somewhat heartless woman and a cold disciplinarian. His dad was the sensitive parent but died when my father was young. His constant apologising now leads me to feel even greater sorrow for the kid in him.

    :)

  11. Guest9337
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    13 July 2021 in reply to quirkywords

    G'day quirkywords,

    I wonder how far back in history the "customer always right", just "say sorry" to keep them happy, ethos goes back into history. You mention the 50's.

    Would it be an expression of the Golden rule : Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?

    If so that goes way back to early Confucian times, 600 BCE ish.

  12. Guest9337
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    13 July 2021 in reply to therising

    G'day therising,

    I just looked up the etymologies of both "sorry" and "apology", very interesting.

    Sorry comes from sorrowful just as you have written. So sorry can be just an expression of sorrow, rather than an apology.

    Apology is a more formal, coming from a defence about an act.

    Merriam Webster dictionary has an interesting webpage about the topic.

    When Did 'Apology' Start to Mean "I'm Sorry"? | Merriam-Webster

    Also wikipedia has a very interesting page on "non-apology apology".

    Apparently these days people say sorry/apology without admitting fault, or being inclined to change/fix the issue.

  13. Ggrand
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    13 July 2021 in reply to quirkywords

    Hello Quirky and everyone.....🤗..

    I think I’m like you..I have and still do say sorry to people even though I know 100% that I didn’t need to...

    I know for me saying sorry to someone..is me trying to protect myself from abuse..anger..being yelled at....I’ve been doing it since as long as I can remember....Sometimes the word sorry did protect me......and sometimes not..

    I still do it today...but not automatically...I do think about it beforehand, what if I didn’t say it....what if I did say it....To save any hassles, confrontations and the person making me feel at fault, which isn’t hard for them to do with me....I get confused, want the conversation to end....then making me feel all guilty etc...to me it’s easier to just say sorry...to keep the peace..

    Quirky.....my late husband said to me a few time...saying sorry means nothing to him..He never apologised at all...because he was always right...

    Take care everyone....

    Grandy...

  14. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    13 July 2021 in reply to therising

    The rising

    Thanks for your detailed and well reasoned reply. I know I say sorry as a reflex and to avoid conflict.
    what about people who never apologise because they feel they are always right should they be encouraged to apologise when they are in the wrong.

    Geoff

    sometimes if one lives with a person who is always right one says sorry to avoid conflict at all cost. The trouble is one feels like a doormat and wonders who they really are.

  15. quirkywords
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    13 July 2021 in reply to Guest9337

    David thanks for your contributions to this thread.

    I had an ex who after drinking would apologise and then say I brought out the worst in him. That is a Claytons apology.

    Grandy I even say sorry when someone says I say sorry too much.

    I do it to avoid conflict and if you live with someone like your late husband, and I have, you just say sorry so the person does get angry and swear threaten you.

    I think it id a form of gaslighting when people say you said x or did y when you didn’t and you know you didn’t but after a while you doubt yourself.

    Thanks everyone for your posts.

    1 person found this helpful
  16. Guest9337
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    13 July 2021 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi quirkywords,

    Red Pony communications The Claytons apology.

    Has a good aussie discussion of that type of apology.

  17. geoff
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    13 July 2021 in reply to quirkywords

    Hello Quirky and everyone, my ex hardly ever said she was sorry, there might have been an explanation but sorry wasn't a common word.

    I now tell her this and she always says it wasn't true, may be I need to spell it out to her s -o -r -r -y, it doesn't bother me anymore.

    Best wishes.

    Geoff.

    2 people found this helpful
  18. therising
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    13 July 2021 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi quirkywords

    I believe it should be encouraged for people to become conscious of a mistake, a misdeed, a fault or feeling remorse etc. Depending on the circumstances, how they express this will vary. Could be 'Sorry (I feel sorrow for how I've led you to feel)', 'I apologise (for my error in judgement in this case)', 'This is my fault (maybe one I have not been entirely aware of until now)' and so on.

    While someone who says 'Sorry' shows awareness, someone who never admits consciousness in this way is questionable.

    :)

    1 person found this helpful
  19. therising
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    13 July 2021 in reply to Guest9337

    Hi david'n'goliath

    I've come to love looking up the origins of words. Sometimes I find the origins of certain words hold greater meaning than their mutation, into current language. It's a shame how such impacting words have lost their true meaning.

    :)

  20. Guest9337
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    13 July 2021

    Morning everyone, still dark outside here.

    My UncleD had two gins and a smoke during our conversation about sorry/apology, he came at it from a Biblical perspective, stating that the ultimate aim of "sorry" is repentance and forgiveness... So the progression in his position, is..

    1. person x does something that harms person y.

    2. person y communicates their aggrievement to person x.

    3. person x progresses through stages of.

    3.1. acknowledging harm of person y. 3.2. communicating sorrowfulness about causing harm to y. 3.3. making apology. 3.4. making right the direct harm and any in-direct harm, if possible. 3.5. aiming to never do the harm again. 6. forgiving oneself for causing the harm.

    So that's my version of what he said to me, something in Mathew I recall. I suppose there is much in the Bible about our topic, and that some of that informed Australian Law on the matter.

  21. quirkywords
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    13 July 2021 in reply to geoff

    Geoff,

    If a person was truly sorry and explained it in other words does it matter they did not say the word sorry.

    Some I people think they are always right so they don’t need to apologise.
    I have been told it is better to not apologise than to be insincere when apologising.

    We have all witnessed public figures awkwardly apologising because they have been made to.

    David

    I just made up the Clayton apology and wondered if people would remember the reference. I did not know it was an expression!!

    1 person found this helpful
  22. quirkywords
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    13 July 2021 in reply to therising

    The rising,

    Ideally it would be helpful if people could understand how their words or action upset another.

    In reality many only apologise because they are made to and don’t really mean it,

    when I was teaching , children who misbehaved were put in a thinking chair and had to stay there until they written an apology to the teacher and the student they had upset.

    Most students quickly wrote an empty apology . A friend told me about one boy who stayed there for hours as he said he had done nothing wrong and was not sorry.

    This was seen as being very obstinate and I think his parents were called. I thought that he was being strong in his convictions as he felt he had been accused of something he felt he had not done.

    I too like meanings of words but language is fluid and changes over time. We have so many words now for items that didn’t exist years ago.
    Alternative means one or the other, but now people talk about 3 or more alternatives. As I studied Latin that used to annoy me but I think what does it matter, the meanings of words change as society change. Thanks for your thoughtful replies.

    David

    thanks for explaining thst process,

    I feel unless the person feels they are sorry that whole process is like going through the motions to make others happy.
    As I wrote before how many times have we heard public figures apologise by reading out a statement some one else wrote and they don’t mean a word of it.
    Thanks for your contributions to the discussion.

    1 person found this helpful
  23. amberlite
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    14 July 2021 in reply to quirkywords
    Hi to all and Quirky, I love your brain and your input. I have the annoying habit of automatically apologizing, so if we ever bump into each other, its gonna be a sorry fest. For me it is an appeasing habit, I bow down before others- I was hit to much as a kid but that's ok, I was no golden child prize. Funny thing happened last week, at lunch I drove to town to the bank, things took longer than expected. So I tear out the bank just as an older lady was coming around the corner. As I pulled myself up, I automatically said 'Im sorry' and the old Aboriginal woman replied ' you didn't do anything wrong love' and as I got in the car I noticed all the NADOC celebration stuff. Which left me confused about, what I just apologized for ? Yep and I am sorry if this post is irrelevant!!
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  24. Guest9337
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    14 July 2021 in reply to quirkywords
    quirkywords said:

    I just made up the Clayton apology and wondered if people would remember the reference. I did not know it was an expression!!

    Interesting, very interesting. Some say culture is all the things we forgot we learned, yet still know.

    The Claytons apology is a known aussie political tool! Just hilarious hey.

    I prefer my whiskies with more kick than a Claytons.

  25. geoff
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    14 July 2021 in reply to quirkywords

    Hello Quirky, Claytons was not my 'cuppa tea', I'd much prefer a whiskey on the rocks as David does with or without ice cubes.

    I guess you're right, there are other ways to say sorry and if they could explain it in other words then that's an apology but not if they inferred you as being the problem, then it's not being sorry and that's what happened to me, it was always my fault.

    My best.

    Geoff.

  26. quirkywords
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    14 July 2021 in reply to amberlite

    Amberlite

    thanks for your post ..

    Yes we would definitely have a sorry fest.
    I smile about your story and the old lady.
    I think I say sorry to avoid conflict.

    When I hear people saying sorry too much I wonder why they do it.

  27. quirkywords
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    14 July 2021 in reply to geoff

    Geoff

    I can relate to things always being your fault. That happened to me so an apology was turned back into as I said before you bring out the worst in me.

    I was also blamed for an ex being ill, and when he lost his drivers license fir drink driving it was my fault as I don’t drive, which he knew when we met.

    So maybe I say sorry to avoid being blamed. I get in first.

  28. Guest9337
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    15 July 2021 in reply to quirkywords

    Afternoon quirkywords,

    Seems to me that the ex losing his driving license for drink driving is something like 99.999999% his fault.

    Maybe a billionth of a percent not his. ex needs to grow up and accept responsibility for his actions.

    I know, maybe its the governments fault for making up laws about dui whilst still permitting bars, pubs and bottleshops.

    Maybe his dui was Dan Murphy's fault all along!

  29. amberlite
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    15 July 2021 in reply to quirkywords
    hello to all and Quirky, yes I definitely agree with saying sorry to avoid conflict. Maybe you ex was trying to trigger you and to drag you down to his level, some aggressive type really enjoy conflict. So I am happy for you that, he is now only in your rear view mirror. Today I was thinking about my habit of offering sorry, to ease an uncomfortable moment and I love you for pushing my mind because for me, sorry, it is a secondary reaction. First I feel an uncomfortable feeling and physically my chest compresses a bit and then I emotionally react with an immediate sorry. Like throwing a cup of coffee on a potential fire. I have been doing this for so long it is automatic, I grovel for the sake of peace and no harm. Thank you guys for talking about this topic it has been an eye opener for me. Quirky and all others on the sorry squad I hope this self discovery is helpful- as all your posts open my minds eye. Bye
  30. Guest9337
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    15 July 2021 in reply to amberlite

    This is a pretty great topic, thanks for having it up!

    I have discovered something about myself today...

    Expressions of "sorry" that are not backed up with action, trigger anger in me.

    Noticing repeated expressions of "sorry" in the form of the non-apology apology is even more triggering!

    For example from one forum I visit on the far, wide and very complex internet, I have received the following.

    "We are sorry again to hear that you think you have been poorly censored."

    Does that person feel sorrow about hearing my position on censorship?

    Is even my communicating with that person so painful to them that they are sorrowful by whatever I say?

    Seems to me that if one expresses "sorry" over and over that the person doing so is making themselves ever sorrier and thus more sorrow filled, until all they have is being sorry for being sorry, ever spiraling down.

    Looks like a depression trap to me, and I am sorrowful that some live that experience.

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