Just saying ‘sorry’ is meaningless…


Meaning: Sorry – feeling sadness, sympathy or disappointment, especially because something unpleasant has happened or been done.

Why do we bother saying ‘sorry’ in todays society?

This is the reality: The word ‘sorry’ is so diluted now that it has lost it’s real meaning. It’s lazy and in fact I’d go as far as saying that it’s disrespectful.

Harsh? Ok, I’m sorry!

See how easy that was for me? Did that even come across as sincere? Did it mean anything to you? The answer is simple – no it didn’t, in all three cases.

Think about the times when someone has bumped into you, cut you up in traffic, took something without asking… the list goes on and on. They simply say ‘Sorry’ (if you’re lucky)… It might even be an extra little effort with a hands-up gesture or ‘I’m so sorry about that’. But they are on their way.

When people do this they aren’t sorry. They did what they did out of disrespect and selfishness, out of a lack of consideration. Frankly they don’t care.

(I will explain in a moment, really I will).

They defuse the situation by saying a limp ‘sorry’ because most people are, well, selfish. In reality, it does nothing for your mindset. The scar has been left and because you can’t see it you don’t realise it. With lots fo these limp apologies over time they can create a bitterness within you.

Think about it… Someone wants something that you want. They barge through you to get it and you miss out as it’s the last one. Hey, it happens. The event happens quickly. First you’re thinking ‘what the hell’, but before you can react you here ‘oops, sorry’ and the person is gone.

They defused the situation because you find yourself saying ‘sorry’ back or even worse ‘oh, that’s ok’ or something similar. Moments later you will feel short changed, you’ll question it. When that happens a lot it does build up eventually.

The reality is, the person was calculated, they knew exactly what they were doing and didn’t care about you in any way shape or form. They got what they wanted and you may have even been polite and apologetic in the process…

The thing is, people are so wrapped up in their own issues, they don’t have time, no respect. ‘Woe is me’ etc. People are more concerned about material things – as in owning them – that they have less and less time for other people.

‘Sorry’, in their mind, goes a long way to canceling out what they did on purpose – it’s a time hack.

“But what about the people who create an accidental situation and say sorry?”…I hear you ask.

Not much different I’m afraid. It was an accident and they want out asap. They don’t want the confrontation or to ‘waste’ their time any more than they have to.

A quick ‘sorry’… and maybe a ‘sorry, are you ok?’ without really stopping is what most people will offer.

The reality is they didn’t plan this, they have a ‘busy’ day and don’t want the grief. They need to get to wherever it is they’re going etc. You don’t matter.

This doesn’t make sense!

Tell me about it. There’s positives to take from this though.

Just bare with me as I really need to get this across that saying ‘sorry’ simply isn’t good enough anymore. It’s actually less than lazy.

Whether on purpose or by accident people need to be hold themselves accountable. They need to show respect, it’s not that difficult.

Saying ‘sorry’ is a negative response because it is an automatic response without any meaning. If people do something wrong they use the lazy apology. ‘Sorry’ is not anything close to an apology.

Now, this is where the silver lining comes in as you can now realise the difference between a positive and sincere sorry versus a negative ‘don’t really care’ sorry.

spilt drink

Let’s create a scenario – you’re out with friends at a bar. You’re enjoying the night out and you’re holding a drink. It’s busy (I know you know what’s gonna happen, but stay with me – I’m sorry). Someone walks past quickly, knocks you and spills your drink onto your top: (this is where it goes one of 2 ways) –

1) The Negative ‘sorry’

‘Sorry’ and carries on walking. That’s it.

2) The Positive ‘sorry’

They’d actually stop and say something like ‘I didn’t mean to bump into you, it was a genuine accident. I misjudged the gap, thought I could squeeze through without knocking into anyone. Let me get you another drink and I’d be happy to pay for dry cleaning your top. I’m really sorry’.

During this time they maintain eye contact, will acknowledge the group you are with and may even revisit you before they leave to apologise once more.

It’s quick, it’s polite, it’s sincere! A genuine act.

The key to the sincere apology is a quick explanation as to why they are apologising as it shows the person is genuine and understands what they did. And the word ‘sorry’ would now mean something along with the explanation. By giving you some of their time whilst acknowledging you and providing a possible solution shows respect.

Yeah, it can sound like an effort, but it’s respectful and no less than the other person deserves.

Think of it like this – How many times has you’re partner said ‘sorry’ for leaving the room untidy, not putting the bins out, forgetting your birthday… and nothing changes.

A positive and sincere apology is also good for the person delivering the apology – it makes them think more, so they create less scenarios where they would have to apologise in the first place.

sad puppy

Children and animals exempted

Yes, there are exceptions to the rules. This is all based around anyone from pre-teen and younger. But I will say this and it’s true – Children, and some pets, use ‘sorry’ in a manipulative, (cute but manipulative) way.

Why? Well because children and pets have very little in the way of any tools to use in such situations, so they make the best of what they have – their cuteness for one.

Besides, when a child or pet knocks into you it’s 99% of the time by accident and as grownups we want them to feel safe so what the hell, we make the apology to them… maybe we need to explain the concept of sincere apologies to them before they turn into the ‘not sincere sorry’ people.


Don’t accept ‘sorry’ as an apology. It’s lazy and disrespectful. And don’t use it yourself. If we are more considerate we won’t need to apologise, but if we do need to apologise then make it a sincere and positive experience for the other person, they deserve nothing less. You too will also benefit from showing people respect.

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Categories: Mindset

Phil Pedder-Smith

Like everyone Phil Pedder-Smith has had a Roller Coaster life, but has not allowed the lows to drag him down. He firmly believes when one chapter ends a bigger and better one is about to start. He stresses that everyone can be better than they believe they are! His desire is help you build a more positive lifestyle for yourself through simple actions and changes, creating a more positive you!

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