Do you ever find yourself saying sorry for no reason?
I realized this week that I say it a lot and for no reason, which in actual fact devalues the whole meaning of the word.
The English dictionary states that the word ‘sorry’ means feeling regret, sympathy, an association with sorrow.
What I mean by this is, why do I say sorry when someone sits next to me on the bus and I shift up to make more room (like I am in the way?), or when I am washing my mug in the office and someone stands behind me forming a small queue waiting to use the sink, or a fellow gym bunny is standing infront of my locker and I approach needing to access it?
In any of these instances I am not feeling regret, sympathy or have an association of sorrow.
I have been observing my friends and colleagues this week and it’s been an interesting exercise as I realized that many of us do this. We say sorry…a lot! So I put the question to Miss Google and discovered a BBC article published in February 2016 with the title Why do the British say ‘sorry’ so much?. I don’t necessarily believe it’s just the British that may be guilty of over using the word but it was interesting none the less that from the survey they conducted, on average, Brits say sorry up to 8 times a day and that one in eight people apologise up to 20 times a day! So why do we do this…
The article quotes that British society values that its members show respect without imposing on someone else’s personal space, and without drawing attention to oneself: characteristics that linguists refer to as “negative-politeness” or “negative-face”.
Since I have been more aware of the fact I say sorry as much as I say hello, I have made a conscious effort to make sure I am using it appropriately and in the true sense of the word to use the olive branch.
If like me, you are also a ‘sorry sayer’ I hope you now realize you are not alone in this!