Sorry for the satire

I’ve noticed that people say “I’m sorry” entirely too often. This is bad because, outside of the context of apology, it ends up inconveniencing the person to whom it is addressed — because that person must now think of a way to respond, and it’s impossible to respond without sounding either insensitive or significantly unintelligent. There are four responses, and they are each bad.

First, “No, you’re not.”

This response is usually given by those who haven’t had their coffee that day, those with an inflated sense of their own importance, or those who become disproportionately angry at others.

A typical situation: Jim forgets to bring a movie for the third time when he visits Kyle. Jim says he is sorry, and Kyle denies his sentiment, saying that Jim is, in fact, not sorry at all, because if Jim were really sorry, he would have remembered the movie. Jim must now either accuse Kyle of distrust or admit that he is not sorry at all and he’s never really liked Kyle anyway. Either revelation can destroy a relationship.

Secondly, “Thanks.”

This response is usually given by those who were told they were “never going to be good enough” as a child, those who have a desperate need for approval from others, and those who, until then, thought you were a sociopath.

What is this? Thanks for being sorry? For instance, my pet has just died in a tragic automobile accident because it was high off heroin, and I’m thankful that you are sorry?  What else were you going to say? “Hooray”? How much do I need you to like me?

Third, “I am too.”

This response is usually given by those who constantly feel a need to place things into perspective for you because you’re happier than they are, those who think with herd mentality so that they automatically agree with something that a friend says without regard for the context, or those who are afraid that they don’t display emotion well so they try to really emphasize how sad they are so that you’ll “get it.”

If somebody has just told you “I’m sorry,” they likely suspect that you’re sorry too. This is no great secret.

And fourth, “It’s not your fault.”

This response is usually given by people because you’re stomping all over their emotional display with your guilt, those who have seen “Good Will Hunting” too many times, or those that think it probably is your fault.

I know it’s not my fault. I didn’t kill your distant relative, give you a bad grade or break up with you after several months of intense Facebook insistence that you were in a relationship with me. And if it were my fault, I’d probably lie about it.

So, please, stop saying “I’m sorry.” You’re making things worse by forcing others to respond inanely. In the future, just make a sad face and nod a lot.

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