It seems to me that there are two categories of people: those who say sorry, and those who don’t.
Maybe that’s a bit harsh. Perhaps I could broaden it out a bit. Some people say sorry too much, and some don’t say it enough.
I was chastised by my small son when we were at the skate park. A man almost knocked him off his scooter. I asked him if he had received an apology. “We just don’t do that here, Mum,” I was told. Oh, okay. I didn’t realise that was a “thing”.
Saying sorry too much
I’m one of those people who apologises all of the time. If someone walks into me in the street, I say sorry. My netball team tell me off – we all make dodgy passes at times. Apparently I don’t need to apologise when they weren’t in the right place to receive the ball.
I read an article that suggested those of us who apologise too much put ourselves at a disadvantage. Instead of “Sorry I’m late,” we could try, “Thank you for waiting for me.”
Not saying sorry enough
I struggle with this sort of person. I don’t know if they are socially awkward, or just don’t care enough to apologise. The person who is terminally late but doesn’t acknowledge it. Do they genuinely feel their time is more important than mine?
I also find it tricky when someone doesn’t acknowledge an apology. A friend seemed upset when I said something insensitive. I apologised later on. She didn’t react at all. I still don’t know if I am forgiven.
My daughter used to struggle to say sorry. There was one time when she was really little that she hit her Dad in the glasses. He was so cross. She was so upset. She physically didn’t seem able to say sorry. As she got older, she still couldn’t say it. She would find other ways to make her apology apparent. I’m relieved to say she’s grown out of it now!
When people don’t care
What I really hate is when people actually don’t seem to care. I’m struggling through a situation like this at the moment. I think a genuine error has been made. I don’t think this person has set out to inconvenience or annoy me on purpose. However, this is how it feels. I’ve allowed myself to become cross about the situation when I could have given the other person the benefit of the doubt. The fact that I know she is grumbling about me almost as much as I am grumbling about her isn’t helping.
All I need to hear to calm things down is, “I’m sorry. I forgot.” Those few words would make all manner of difference to me. Experience of this person leads me to believe that I won’t receive the “S” word. So it’s up to me to decide whether I let it affect me or not.
My challenge to you: decide if you apologise too often, or not enough. Visualise yourself in a situation when it might have worked out better if you had got it the other way round. How might the other person have reacted? How might things have turned out differently? Imagine yourself acting in the opposite way. What would you say? How would you say it? Hold it in your mind. Next time you find yourself about to go to your usual reaction, give it a try.
And let me know how you get on!
Do you find yourself apologising too much, or do you struggle to say sorry?
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