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.
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!