The meaning of the word “Sorry”.

Ok, this has been something that has pissed me off my entire life, and so I figured I’d share my feelings on the subject with all you little boys and girls today. What do you think? are you ready? yaaay!

So I’ll just start with an official definition of the word. According to ye ol’ dictionary.com, Sorry is defined as ‘feeling regret, compunction, sympathy, pity, etc. ( to be sorry to leave one’s friends; to be sorry for a remark; to be sorry for someone in trouble.)”.

I’m sure you’ll all agree that this a reasonable definition, and thats probably because it IS a reasonable definition, but the point of the definition was to remind you what the actual word is supposed to mean.

Now lets move on to how its used in modern society. Sorry is a word people use when they have done something wrong, or something to upset someone else. Some people that say it really truly mean it, and i’m omitting those from my rant today (old grannies and nuns and etc). I’m going to focus on those people (and this probably includes alot of you), that use the word because you’ve been taught to use the word in a certain situations. The word coming out of your mouth is not representative of the feeling you have in your mind.

I'm sorry. it was me who ate all the chocolate pudding then shit it back in the bowl.

Wow, this is alot harder to explain in writing than I thought it would be.

How about I use my ex-girlfriend to put this into context. She will appreciate this rant more than anyone, because she knows firsthand what the Dale thinks of the word ‘Sorry”. Whenever ex-gf did something to upset the Dale, and the Dale expressed his discontent towards her, the immediate response would always be “sorry”. period. Thats all. simply the word “Sorry”.

This was never enough for the Dale. I felt as though, much like in any other context, she was just saying what she needed to say to continue the conversation. Just like the words ‘Thank you”. How often do you say “Thank you” and truly feel thankful? I’ll tell you, its not very often. You just say it because its the right thing to say.

You see, when we are kids, we are all trained to say sorry when we do something wrong. When we are kids and we DO follow direction and say sorry, we get rewarded. This is fine, and Pavlov’s theoretical framework is readily apparent in this context, but this conditioning process is also the heart of the problem. Why? Because when we are children and we say the word “Sorry”, it is a sufficient level of regret. You cant expect much more from a 5 yr old. But as you grow older, the word “Sorry” by itself does not justify an apology.

Many people  just do not understand this, and it drives me insane. When you are an adult, and you have done something wrong, you have the intellectual ability to explain your regret, and make the person understand what part of your actions you specifically regret and what impact it has had. So if I forget to call a friend and invite him out on a good night, then the next day he calls me upset about not being invited, there are two ways to deal with it:

1. “Sorry man, we’re going out tomorrow night if you’re down?”

2. “Shit, I feel awful….I got carried away getting ready, I had a dead baby roasting in the oven that I had to keep checking on and my grandma called me asking me for step-by-step  instructions on how to hotwire a tractor. I guess I was just flustered before I left and I completely forgot to call. I really feel bad  because it would have been awesome if you were there last night…sorry man. I know you’re pissed but don’t worry, we’ll make up for it in style tomorrow night if you’re down?”.

So those are the two approaches to an apology. The first does not bother to explain WHY he is sorry or apologetic, just simply states the word. Furthermore, he makes it EVEN WORSE by writing off the mistake as if going out tomorrow night will fix it. This is perhaps the worst way to apologize.

The second explains the circumstances that led up to the mistake, explains the state of mind that caused the mistake, and the state of mind that the mistake caused once realized. He then presents an offering of peace, saying that he is willing to make up for his mistake the next time they go out. THAT…ladies and gentlemen…is a heartfelt apology.

And this is what the Dale likes and tries to do himself when he is in the wrong. I try to ensure that the person I am apologizing to knows I regret my actions by giving a little bit of insight into the mistake. It doesn’t take long, and its so much more valuable than a simple “sorry”.

In my world, saying the word sorry alone without any accompanying explanation is just a person’s way of getting out of a corner when they have nothing else to say. If you cant back up your apology with some insight, then it means that you arent really apologetic at all. You are just doing what you have done your whole life to get you out of trouble.  I should note that this is the reason I give alot of people the benefit of the doubt. Those simple sorry sayers arent 100% at fault for not knowing how to apologize, as “sorry” alone has been sufficient throughout the majority of their lives. But the transition from a juvenile apology to an adult apology is an important one, and if you havent already, you need to get on that.

In greek, we have a saying: “Na sheso to sorry”. This basically translates into “I shit on your sorry”. The Dale basically shits on every sorry that doesn’t have an explanation. Boys and girls, please understand that the word Sorry alone just isnt enough to make someone believe that you’re sorry anymore. When you apologize to someone make sure you convince them that you’re sorry. It doesnt take long, it makes a huge difference, and you dont sound like an ignorant fuck.

So basically, I will conclude by saying  keep this in mind, and keep fucking that chicken!

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One thought on “The meaning of the word “Sorry”.

  1. Fantastic! Well summed up. We’ve been teaching our kids that when they do something to hurt/upset someone they can say sorry, but more importantly, they need to explain that they know what they’ve done wrong & that they are aware that it has hurt/upset the other person.

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