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“I’m Sorry,” Are You?

“I’m Sorry,” Are You?
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BY JILL MATLOW

Games people play

When I was younger, I used to love to play the game SORRY®! For those of you who aren’t familiar with the game, there are 4 different colors (red, blue, green and gold) and the goal is to get all your pieces ‘home’ without being sent back to square one by any of your opponents, who land on your space after rolling the dice.

When my three nephews used to visit me when they were younger, I always tried to sneak in a game of SORRY®! I’m not sure why I enjoyed playing that game so much but I did. I have to admit I was kind of disappointed when they got older and preferred teenage activities that didn’t revolve around board games and saying “sorry”.

In a twist of irony, I’m now trying to erase that word from my vocabulary.

Is it me or…?

Lately, I’ve noticed that we’ve become so lazy as a society that instead of saying “I’m sorry” or “excuse me” we now just resort to saying “sorry”. Many times, it’s said in passing almost as an afterthought. I don’t know about you, but I personally find “sorry” to be very insincere.

Speaking of insincere, has this ever happened to you? Three people walking side-by-side (by Sondheim) on a narrow sidewalk are heading towards you, when one of them bumps into you as you pass each other. Inevitably, you’ll hear that person mutter “sorry”.

Trust me – they’re not sorry. I’m pretty sure they saw you from a block away and ‘red rovered’ right into you anyway—am i right?

Here’s another familiar example: “Sorry I’m late”.

Did you ever notice that it’s usually the repeat offenders always apologizing for their tardiness? I had a female friend who was chronically late and always blamed it on the subways. Guess what? I live in the same city and use the same subway system. How about leaving your apartment a little earlier next time?! I find that no apology is often better than an empty one.

As a female, it occurred to me that my gender seems to apologize more often than men do. In her sitcom Inside Amy Schumer, comedienne Amy Schumer did a fantastic, spot-on skit portraying how women overuse the word sorry. Her skit really hit home for me.

Like many other women, I’m just as guilty as the next person when it comes to saying “sorry” in too many instances that don’t really call for an apology. I have yet to hear a guy apologize. I kid, but rarely do I hear a guy say “Sorry, I meant to…”

Why is that?

Research has shown that women tend to unnecessarily accept blame more often than men do, and coupled with good manners being drummed into us at an early age, the end result is a nation of female apologizers. Fortunately, that trend is changing. Because I think we can all agree, the more we hear the word sorry, the more diluted it sounds till the meaning is completely lost.

I think this anonymous quote captures the sentiment perfectly: “The best apology is changed behavior”. 

What about you?

Have you ever gone a day without saying “I’m sorry” or “sorry”? I’m personally trying to find other words in my vocabulary to replace that word.  We would love to hear how you’ve managed to succeed with your sincere apologies sans the word sorry.  As for me, I’m not sure if I’m ready to quit saying “sorry” cold turkey yet.  

I might have to invite my nephews back for one last game…

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Jill Matlow
Jill Matlow spent much of her career working in many different facets of the healthcare industry writing marketing proposals, creative briefs and tactical plans. She is thrilled to now be writing articles geared to baby boomers who are nostalgic about their past but still hopeful about their futures. While music is her first passion, writing comes in a close second.