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Sunday, November 28, 2010

I'm Sorry

"I'm sorry," is a phrase that that has become over used in our society these days. We use it for everything from a harmless bump into someone to hearing of a stranger's loss. It has come to verbalize our own inadequacies of not knowing what to say in those situations, so we say, "I'm sorry," as if we had some direct connection to the issue.

Even when we do have a direct connection, i.e. bumping into someone, the phrase is the wrong reply to the situation. Instead of offering an "I'm sorry," why not just say, "excuse me", or "pardon me" instead? Unless your bumping was so much of a jostle to the other person to cause them pain or knock them off balance, "I'm sorry" is unwarranted, since an "excuse me" or "pardon me" will suffice just as well.

As for the loss of someone else's job, other person, item, pet or whatever noun that fits; "I'm sorry" is just a shallow consolatory phrase. You had no hand in their termination, person passing, tv breaking, Fido dying or abduction by space aliens. If you did, then you have deeper issues and should seek some help as you definitely need it.

"I'm sorry" has become a shallow, meaningless, nothing of a phrase that we just use when do not have anything else to say. It is our at-the-ready apology that gets tossed out at any bad news that we hear to try to make the recipient feel better. Why not offer an "I apologize"? Seems a bit more heart felt than the other throw away one, doesn't it?

We tend to use "I'm sorry" more on loved ones, friends or people we have an interest in of a romantic variety as a way to apologize for our failings or mis-deeds. We only use it on strangers when there is an accident involved.


–adjective, -ri·er, -ri·est.
1. feeling regret, compunction, sympathy, pity, etc.: to be sorry to leave one's friends; to be sorry for a remark; to be sorry for someone in trouble.
2. regrettable or deplorable; unfortunate; tragic: a sorry situation; to come to a sorry end.
3. sorrowful, grieved, or sad: Was she sorry when her brother died?
4. associated with sorrow; suggestive of grief or suffering; melancholy; dismal.
5. wretched, poor, useless, or pitiful: a sorry horse.
6. (used interjectionally as a conventional apology or expression of regret): Sorry, you're misinformed. Did I bump you? Sorry.

Unless you wear your heart on your sleeve, you do not meet the definition of "sorry" when dealing with any situation that we currently use the phrase "I'm sorry."

You don't feel sorry when hearing about a friend's coffee maker breaking; you might if you are the one that broke it.

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