When I tell you I'm sorry

Hi, my name is Rooth and I am a chronic overapologizer.  I am quick to apologize, regardless of fault.  To a fault, actually.  And if the other person seems slighted or a teeny bit perturbed, I will apologize repetitively and profusely.

Sorry to interrupt because I have to tell you something that is extremely pertinent and in your best interest to hear.

Sorry to nudge your shopping cart ever so lightly with my toe.

Sorry you cut in line in front of me and then shoved me with your shoulder.

Friends, you know the ones who really care about you, have told me to cut it out and quit that sh*t.  "Stand up for yourself," they admonish.  "You don't owe them anything, and if anything those people are the ones who should be apologizing to you."  I take advice quite seriously from people who care about me and started paying attention to when I apologized and how often.  It confirmed what I knew already about my behavior but what was startling was the frequency.

I tentatively penciled in "apologize less" on my draft 2015 New Year's Resolutions.

...until I thought about why I apologized, really gave it some consideration (mostly in the shower).  And realized that, although sometimes I really do mean it when I say I'm sorry particularly when I am at fault, the majority of the time I apologize because I am sorry for other people.

Sorry you behave like a brat and no one has had the guts to point it out to your face.

Sorry you don't have the grace to acknowledge that you were wrong.

Sorry you think you're so much more important than everyone else that you deserve preferential treatment.

To me, an apology is one of the ultimate displays of strength.  And I am strong.  Not only will I take on responsibility for my own actions, but I will also take on the responsibility of the fault of others, if they are unable to.  So I'll keep apologizing.  Because I feel sorry for them.  Sorry I AM sorry.

What's your philosophy on apologies, in either giving or receiving them?


  1. I pretty much apologise for everything too. I don't know why as the words 'i'm sorry' just come out of my mouth automatically even when I've done nothing wrong. Sometimes I think it's a function of being brought up to be a compliant Asian girl?

  2. I feel sorry for people who cannot apologize. It's a character flaw they need to correct.

    Sometimes the use of "sorry" is just a common courtesy. We all take turns being in someone's way in a store, so it's just being polite to say it.

    If someone is being a jerk, I'm likely to use the "excuse me" variation to call it to his attention.

    The majority of the time when I say "I'm sorry", it's as an expression of sympathy. It's surprising how many people are not familiar with that usage and think I am actually apologizing to them. Is that an outdated, old-fashioned thing (expressing sympathy by saying "I'm sorry you had to go through that" or something along those lines)?

    You are strong...no need to change.

  3. I agree with you...don't change because there are a lot of people to be sorry for. I know people think that means we get walked all over, but in the end, we are more respected. My one coworker bullies everyone to get what she wants. I get more out of people by being patient, apologetic, and (GASP) nice... haha

  4. This is frustrating because I have to run and I have a lot to say. I'm so sorry. ;) I believe in apologizing, *when it's necessary.* I firmly believe that owning your shit (I apologize for my language) makes you a stronger, better person. But over-apologizing makes you weaker actually, and makes your apology matter less. We're working on this with Cal, actually. He has this compulsion to apologize. When he's compelled, I think he really feels it, so that's one thing to work on. And the other is that teen/adult/anyone hope that "if I say I'm sorry, this will all be over." He does that too. So do you mean it? And sometimes, yes you do. Then by all means, say so. If not, find something else to say. Or stay quiet.

    And now I'm sorry, but even thought I have the thing I'm trying to stop staying to share with you, I really DO have to go! ;)

  5. Love this! I clearly apologize too much as well. And I agree on what you said. I guess sometimes I just apologize because I feel so sorry about the situation in general and not because I actually have something to apologize for.

  6. Love your way of thinking! I'm a chronic apologizer as well, and I think I'm going to embrace it from now on :-)

  7. "Sorry to nudge your shopping cart ever so lightly with my toe. Sorry you cut in line in front of me and then shoved me with your shoulder." these made me laugh so hard. i am right there with you.

    I will be walking. Someone else will be walking. I want to give them space. They want to take my space. And as they briskly walk past me and I make myself nice and small I whisper 'sorry.' And I can see it in their eyes sometimes as we pass each other - this sideways glance where they know if this were an apocalypse they could take my stuff and eat me for dinner. And then I hate myself because I am not like that at all. And then I hate myself for hating myself because apologists and self-loathers seem like peanut butter and jelly. It's a vicious cycle.

    On the other end of that, I agree with you and Lauren and apologies are precious and not to be given out when a person doesn't mean it. There is nothing that riles my feathers more than when a person apologies but is completely insincere about it.

  8. Go girl! Definitely own up to your own mistakes by saying sorry. But women do tend to use this word a lot, and often times because they want to empathize with a situation. LOL on being sorry for other people. Yea, you know me and line cutters so I think I'll use your line next time. Sorry I was in your way of the line.

  9. oh my gosh i thought i was reading about myself for a sec there. i apologize too much. both me and my husband. seriously. the nudging of the shopping cart, passing people in narrow grocery aisles, even when the cashier made a mistake.. i am still apologizing. the cashier bit (i did this recently at the vet's office) i apologized because i felt bad that it was an inconvenience but most of the time i realized i was saying sorry because of the reason you listed .. #2. of course i mean when i say sorry but there are times when i say it because i want them to realize they should apologize and that it's ok to let their guard down and say sorry. a lot of people i know don't say sorry because they don't want to seem weak. they are afraid if they say sorry then people will walk all over them. i don't get this logic! it drives me up the wall.

  10. I say sorry a lot too. Some of it I picked up in London (they say sorry instead of excuse me, if you noticed). I've been trying to catch myself though, because it does seem like a way to diminish yourself. When a true apology is needed, saying sorry is admirable. If you're just bumping into someone, I think an "excuse me" will suffice.

  11. even before I finished reading your post I thought 'who cares'. you don't strike me as someone who lets people walk all over them. so even if you apologize often, better that than being just another one of those mindless assholes out there. it's good you examined why you do it tho. I say sorry a lot too. and sometimes I get mad at myself because there really wasn't any need to do it. but as you so aptly pointed out, I rather take the moral high road. which is a bit arrogant in itself and thus probably not all that moral. but again, 'who cares!?'


  12. thank you for this post. i do this too and sometimes feel like people will walk all over me because of it. it's really good to see a different perspective.

  13. I'm a chronic sorry-ier as well . . .

    I do think people don't recognize the courtesy element--or the empathy. I'll say "I'm sorry" when something goes wrong; sometimes people act offended, "It's not your fault." I didn't say 'I'm sorry I did that to you . . . I'm sorry you have to go through it.

    Of course, if they still act funny, then it annoys me, and I want to say, "Never mind. I'm not sorry . . . I hope you have a good long simmer in that misery of yours." Speaking of character defects, that may be one. Huh. :)

  14. I need to work on saying sorry less too. I'm pretty ridiculous with that word. Even when someone bumps into ME, I'm all, "Sorry!", but minutes later I think about it and wonder, "Why am I the one that's sorry?!". Ugh. Vicious cycle.

    I'm working on it.

    As for getting them apologies from other people? It's rare, but it does happen. If someone genuinely apologizes, I won't torture them with it. It's usually just a quick "No worries" or "That's okay" from me. Let's move on and be happy. No use in dwelling!


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