Monday, 15 August 2011

Stop Apologising!

Okay, confession time.
My name is Sam, and I’m sorry, but I just can’t stop apologising.

There, I’ve said it. I am one of those people who can’t stop apologising even though one of my favourite ‘mummy mantras’ is, as my children can drone ad verbatim, “don’t say sorry if you don’t mean it”. Sound advice, I'm sure you'll agree, so why don’t I follow it myself?

I’m always apologising. If you bump into me in the street, I’ll apologise. When I’m driving my car and there’s a bit of confusion with another driver, I’ll wave and say ‘sorry’. If I take something back to a shop, it’s ‘I’m sorry, but this shoddy thing you sold me doesn’t work’, as though it’s my fault.

I’ve spent the day feeling perplexed about how much I apologise when, to be quite honest, I don’t mean it. And it was inspired by this telephone conversation.

Me: Hello?
Her: Hello, (sultry fag-hag voice) this is Mrs ‘Whoever she said she was’. You rang me, and I’m just returning your call.
Me: (confused) No, I’m sorry, it wasn’t me who rang you.
Her: You did!
Me: No, I’m sorry, but I haven’t rung anyone this morning.
Her: Well I did 1-4-7-1 and pressed ‘return the call’, so that must be your number.
Me: Look, I’m really sorry, but I didn’t call you.
Her: Well how do you explain it’s your number?
Me: Look love; I’ve been out all morning, and there’s no one else here. I didn’t call you.
Her: Harrumph. Oh well, bye. (hangs up)

Yeah, I must have apologised at least three times to this stroppy old bat haranguing me down the telephone. If my number did indeed call her, then dog-of-small-brain is evidently more intelligent than I give him credit. Perhaps that’s what he does when I’m out, rings random numbers and winds up whomever answers. But I wasn’t in this morning, because I was down at the bank apologising to the cashier for mismanaging my money, and apologising some more for having to transfer cash from my savings to plug the gap. And as I left, mission complete, I found myself wondering why on earth I’d said ‘sorry’ so many times. It’s my money, and it’s my financial mess. So why was I apologising about dealing with my own money?

I think it’s high time I followed my own mantra and stopped saying ‘sorry’ when I don’t mean it. From now on, assertiveness is the new way forward. So the next time someone elbows you out of the way in the street and doesn’t apologise, it might be me. But then again, I’m sorry, but I’m just not that rude!


  1. I am with you all the way on this one!


  2. Oh Sam - you've perfectly described the English affliction of sorry OCD that includes so many of us, including me! This post really made me smile. Especially as I'd come to visit your blog & say sorry I hadn't visited in a while. Lol. :-)

    A friend of mine moved here from the Czech Republic about 8 years ago. When she first came she admitted the 'sorry' thing got on her nerves especially as it was often used with no real meaning behind it. Recently I laughed when I realised that she too had started to say sorry on a regular basis. It seems the affliction is contagious.

    So - sorry I've not visited in a while. The school hols & visitors have caught up with me. But in this case I'm genuinely sorry because I do miss you when we've not been in contact for a while :-)

    Kat Xx

  3. M, thank you! And I'm still saying 'sorry' despite my best intentions!

    Kat, really, don't apologise!! I'm not very good at keeping in touch any time, least of all during the school holidays. I've been productive in the last week because my darlings have been away with their papa. ....How funny your Czech friend should have succumbed to saying sorry!! There is no escape.


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