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Secretly Canadian

KannonKannon NAMU AMIDA BUTSUAch-To Veteran

Does anyone over apologize? Even during every day conversation over stupid little things we can't control? Where does this need arise from? Sometimes I'm obsessed with apologizing and feel relief once I do.

No offense to any Canadians. I'm sorry!



  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    At first, I thought you meant to say "ever apologize" but now it sunk in and I realize you did mean "over apologize", heh.

    Yeah, maybe it's an Amurican thing - habit even though you're saying it's a Canadian thing? Oh well. Honestly, I don't know why some people do it including myself. :3

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I think we get the idea somewhere that is a combination of we always have something to be sorry for (more of that guilt stuff we already get so much of elsewhere) and that we should always be polite, and if all else fails, that means apologizing for something. We hear it all around us, so we just naturally pick it up.
    I read this not long ago, and thought it a nice idea :)

    Written by Meg Worden

    "I'm a recovering overapologizer.

    I've spent my life tossing out apologies like candy in a parade — and collecting unnecessary guilt and insecurities in return. Owning what isn't mine to own, simply to keep the peace or to make someone else feel better, has left me living apologetically — as though I should feel sorry for simply being me.

    I'm over it.

    So I'm intentionally curbing the word sorry from my vocabulary, which is no small feat, I assure you. But as someone who genuinely wants to say what she means and mean what she says, it's a worthy fight.

    So I'm saying excuse me when that's really what I intend, and how frustrating or I hate that for you when expressing understanding and solidarity. And I'm replacing the bulk of my apologies with appreciation.

    Instead of "I'm sorry I'm all over the map right now," — "Thank you for listening to my unpolished thoughts."

    Rather than "I'm sorry I didn't catch that typo." — "Thank you for noticing that. I'll correct it before I send it out."

    Instead of "I'm sorry I can't make it." — "I can't make it, but thank you so much for thinking of me."

    Rather than "I'm sorry I'm so blah tonight; I'm really not feeling well." — "Thank you for being a trusted friend I can still spend time with even when I'm not feeling my best."

    I'm flipping the script, changing what could be perceived as a negative into a moment of gratitude.

    And saving my apologies for when they are actually warranted."

    I read one elsewhere that said instead of saying "I'm sorry I'm late" say "thank you for waiting for me." The subtle shift really does make all the difference between a sense of guilt or wrong doing, and gratitude.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    I'm sorry we British apologise when other people bump into us. I'm sorry but it is a wonderful trait. It is the opposite of some cultures bombastic arrogance exemplified by their present Potass, I am sorry to say.

    Try it with sincerity not as an act of weakness. If it is too advanced for your cultural indoctrination, try thanking people who are 'just doing their job' eg.

    • bus drivers
    • waitresses
    • dragon receptionists
    • Mr grumpy

    Thank you ... and my apologies to Madame Trump.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    The funny thing to me is, so many people running around apologizing for everything even though there is nothing to apologize for, but the same people can't issue a necessary and sincere real apology to save their lives. You constantly hear the passive-aggressive "I'm sorry but...." but when a true apology is required, they can't do it.

    Good manners are a good thing. But I do think there are better ways to say what we mean than to just always say "I'm sorry." I think it's just become a lazy response when there is likely a much better one. We are often apologizing for who we are, and not something we've done that inconvenienced someone else. That's no good.

  • KannonKannon NAMU AMIDA BUTSU Ach-To Veteran

    I was inspired to make this post last night because I stopped at a gas station with my friends and the card reader was being weird. The cashier had to type in my card number and seemed to be in a bad mood. Wanting to diffuse any negativity, I automatically said "I'm sorry about that." She didn't cheer up when I said that, so I guess apologies aren't as effective as I thought! I also told her to have a good night. I don't think that worked either.

    I apologize out of nervousness... if I apologize I lay claim to a situation. I can say I'm sorry, and then I'll feel better. This also means I've carried a lot of burdens. And now I assume things are my fault, because that is the viewpoint I chose over and over again. Now it is hard to shake off.

    @silver I don't know where the Canadian joke came from but I hear it everywhere now. I just heard it a few nights ago when I was watching a stand up special that was recorded in Canada. Some equipment went out and one of the audience members said "I'm sorry" and the comedian made a joke out of it.

    @karasti your excerpt reminds me of a comic I saw awhile ago. Maybe you've seen it too.

    I also think it is easy to feel guilty for things out of our control, but when it comes time to really assume responsibility for serious things, we shy away from it.

    It is interesting that person is saying sorry less. I will too. I've said sorry multiple times and been told "don't say sorry" or "theres no need to apologize" etc. I am very nice but kind of a pushover. When I was younger I thought the best thing for me to do was keep my head down and stay out of the way. It's hard to grow out of.

    @lobster Gratitude over apology seems to be a fair trade off. Thank you!

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    It's funny how many meanings "I'm sorry" has. I will tell my oldest son "I'm sorry" when he's struggling and he's like "Uh, why, it's not your fault." Well, no, and I'm not apologizing as if it is. I'm sorry that you are feeling upset/disappointed/stressed out etc. It is a feeling of helplessness at not being able to do anything to solve his problem, so in a sense, it is an apology for that. As his mom, when he was little, I could fix a lot of things. Now I can't. I am trying to find better ways to express those things, too. Usually by asking if there is anything I can do, but I have to be careful of that, too, because sometimes I offer when I might not have an ability to follow through, lol.

  • I wonder if they secretly speak polari in Canada? Maybe a French hybrid? o:) B)

    I don't feel we have to apologise for being Canadian, straight cockney, sorry lobster or indeed almost Buddhist. However as a humble choice rather than a cultural twitch, I still like to embrace being sorry ...

    ... and now back to Mounty and Moose country ... :)

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