Oops, I hurt your feelings. I’m sorry.
Oops, I didn’t mean to run into you. I’m sorry.
Your cat is sick? I’m sorry.
You’re angry/frustrated/irked at your life? I’m sorry.
You dropped your books. I’m sorry.
You spilled your (extra large) drink all over me. I’m sorry.
I say it a lot.
Not just occasionally, I mean a LOT. I recognize that the phrase ‘I’m sorry’ is also used to mean ‘excuse me’ and that sometimes we say ‘I’m sorry’ when expressing condolences (I’m sorry for your loss) or when commiserating with someone who’s down. I use it that way, too. And if something happens, through no fault of my own, which causes you embarrassment, or pain, or frustration, I’m sorry for that.
Are we having an argument? I’m sorry. Even if you are clearly in the wrong (for the sake of this post’s argument), I’m sorry. Whatever I did to cause this tension, I’m sorry. Even if you have been deliberately rude, or mean. I’m sorry.
There isn’t anything wrong with apologizing when one is in the wrong, when one has made a social blunder, or even to express condolence. As a matter of fact, it’s social lubricant. It’s a good thing. Relationships work well when we take responsibility for our actions, apologize and move on.
I started this post because I remembered something that happened last night, and it reminded me of this unfortunate habit I have. Saying I’m sorry when I have nothing to be sorry for, and when, sometimes, I am the one who should be receiving the ‘I’m sorry’.
Last night my husband’s alarm went off. It’s was an ungodly hour, like 1:30 AM or somesuch. But it wasn’t the radio alarm. No, it was an annoying beep which morphed into beep-beep, then into a panicked beepbeepbeepbeep. It was enough to send someone over the edge. He valiantly tried to fix it, but it was late/early, and it was dark, and the clock is newish, and…well, I’m better at seeing in the dark. So I scooted over, meaning to help, and quickly turned off the alarm. And he sat back on the bed, right on my leg. ouch. guess what I said? I’m SORRY! I’m helping, and he sits on me (It’s okay, Honey, it didn’t really hurt) and I’m apologizing…
Not the first time it’s happened. Won’t be the last. The other day, he dropped a glass. Give you one guess what the first words out of my mouth were. Sweet Hubby calls me on it, too. He and both my kids have told me I say it too much. They are right. I’m sorry. I’ll try to do better.
So if you hear me apologize unnecessarily, maybe you could nudge me. I’m trying to stop. It’s kinda like learning how not to breathe…but I’ll get used to it. I catch myself now. And with help, maybe by the time I’m fifty I’ll be cured. Fingers crossed!