How do you say Sorry?

In our hyper-connected society, where what we post online is immediately available for the reading and viewing pleasure of others, I’ve noticed a trend. More people saying they are sorry for what they have posted or reposted. However, while more people are posting “sorry” fewer and fewer are of the genuine, old-fashioned, “I’m sorry, please accept my apology” statements of yesteryear.

Rather what we appear to get are conditional fake apologies. Below are some examples I’ve seen:

The basic conditional apology: “If you took offense to anything I just posted, please accept my apology.” Basically, “If” you don’t like what I wrote too bad get over it. This one seems to be used on Facebook frequently.

Poor choice of words apology: “Those were a poor choice of words. If I had a do-over, I’d have said what I really meant.” This one came from a Twitter feed whose content was deleted, and then the writer posted an apology. What the writer should have done was apologize and then tweeted what they meant to say.

I am who I am apology: “I said what I said…..things that I said may have offended some of you. If you are one of those individuals I’m sorry but I am who I am.” With this apology, the speaker puts you on notice that either you’re in her camp or not, and I don’t think she really cares.

Non-apology: “Words are important. I understand that, and will choose mine with great care going forward.”  This writer never really says sorry, but it feels like they are saying sorry.

The regret apology: “I know what I said and didn’t say gave the impression I didn’t care. I regret what I said and what I didn’t say.” In this post, it is regrettable that the person didn’t apologize.

I did it apology: “I’m supposed to act sorry….I am ok. It happened, and I’m sorry.”  This person wants us to move on and quickly.

The feelings apology: “I am sorry for what I wrote. If I had written what I meant, it would have reflected my true feelings.” In this sorry Facebook post, it seems the writer is telling us that sometimes our feelings get in the way of what they meant to say.

I have come to the conclusion; there are two groups of people when it comes to sorry. Those who appear comfortable stating they are sorry and those that just can’t say the word sorry.

I’m not sorry for the content of this post.

Phillip Potenziano

About Phillip Potenziano

In addition to blogging, Dr. Potenziano works as an Assistant Superintendent, and volunteers on the board of a southern Maine local non-profit. He is happily nestled just north of Portland, with his 3 kids, a wife and lots of projects awaiting his attention. He loves early morning runs, donuts and sometimes coffee. Two lessons he tries to remember are: "Every man is my superior in that I may learn from him" and "At the moment of commitment, the entire universe conspires to assure your success."