Do you have a word that you overuse, perhaps without even thinking? By any chance is that word “sorry”? If yes, then you are in great company.
I don’t know how or when it began, but for several years now I have been saying I’m sorry for things I didn’t even do! Case in point: someone lost their keys and my response is, “I’m sorry,” but then they come back with, “Why are you sorry? You didn’t lose my keys.” This is true, but I feel bad that they lost their keys. Thus my expression of sorrow.
My husband has been catching every sorry I have been dropping lately. He will say something like, “I didn’t get as much done at work today,” my response, “I’m sorry babe.” He quickly reminds me I have nothing to be sorry about – it’s not my fault that his day wasn’t as productive. True. So how do I express sympathy without saying sorry? I have been searching for replacement words for my sorry addiction. Haven’t found one yet, but I have added a phrase. Now when I say “I’m sorry” seconds later I follow up with, “… and I’m not sorry.” Thankfully we both laugh, but in the laughter is a deeper desire to dump my unnecessary sorrys.
Do you tell people you are sorry for things that you don’t need to be sorry for (please tell me I am not alone in this)? How do you express sympathy? Or empathy? This is all so puzzling to me that I decided to see what Ms. Merriam Webster had to say about the word sorry:
- feeling sorrow or regret
- used to express polite regret
- used to introduce disappointing or bad news in a polite way
Hmmm… I do feel sorrow when I express “sorry” but maybe it is too heavy of an expression for every day life. I wonder if the phrase, “That’s a bummer,” would be a good replacement. And then there would be no need for the add-on, “… and I’m not sorry.”
Okay then, time to test drive, “That’s a bummer.” I’ll let you know how it goes. And if it fails… just know that I’m not sorry (I crack myself up!).
CLARIFICATION: There are occasions when expressing “I’m sorry” is completely appropriate, such as when someone passes away and you want to share your condolences. But that is something serious, heartfelt and deep… it’s not lost keys. Just sayin’.