I’m Sorry

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’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!


9 thoughts on “I’m Sorry

  1. It is a “thing” kiddo shares. I’m working to break her of it. She is very sweet, sensitive and heartfelt. She feels it when she says it. I don’t want her to grow up with needless pain and a (subconscious) tinge of confusion when her brain registers what her mouth said. Hoping to wean her over a year or so. Kind of a rush compared to your 25 year goal but doable none the less.

    • Oh, C, you are very, very kind. 🙂 it’s much closer to a 5-year goal than 25. But who’s counting? 😉
      Good for you, to help her break the habit. It’s something that bothers me when I notice it, but it is so ingrained that I often don’t.

      • What could be construed as our first (very low, slow ball) “grown conversation” was on that topic a few months ago. I explained that I didn’t want her to feel she was carrying the weight of all wrong and she showed me that, not only did she see my point but, the phrase had different meanings to her depending on when she said it and how it was said. We both left satisfied and knowing what we needed to do. I now she her pull up as she starts to say it at times and I catch myself before telling her that she isn’t at fault and needn’t apologize. We grow older together.

  2. I do this so much!!! I think part of why is that I tend to feel things deeply, I care about others problems and emotions and take things upon myself I am not intended to carry. I have also been told that I don’t know how to just ‘be.’ I think that plays into my need to apologize. I’m trying to stop as well.

    • Two of a kind. 🙂 I identify with your motivations–and they may be mine as well. It is easier for me to admit fault/take blame (even when it isn’t mine, or when it’s entirely unnecessary) than to ‘contribute’ to the discomfort of others. I’m not saying it’s right. It isn’t. But it is part of the problem. And the first step is admitting there’s a problem, right? 😉
      Wishing us both success going forward! ❤️

  3. I’m sorry you’re sorry so much of the time. 🙂 Only kidding, but I do think this tendency comes out of your kindheartedness and your desire to help others. If things go wrong, though, and it’s not your fault, there’s no need for you to shoulder the burden. I’m sure you know this already and you must also know choosing not to assume unnecessary blame doesn’t mean you’ve stopped caring. That said, I think it’s an endearing “bad” habit. I can think of many others that are worse! 🙂

  4. Oh I do this so much. somewhere along the line I started saying “sorry” instead of “excuse me” when i bump into someone or they bump into me. I hate it! I know it’s not terrible but I’m trying to retrain myself to say excuse me instead…

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