Apologising Less Frequently But More Genuinely
This post follows a similar pattern to my previous posts about language that describe my attempts to subtly changes how I communicate with others. Specifically, this post addresses apologising and the word sorry.
Saying sorry or apologising for something isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it should be encouraged that an individual apologises for a mistake they have made towards someone else. What I do occasionally, is also apologise for things I’m about to do. For example: squeezing between someone on a packed bus or asking someone to repeat themselves over a video conference.
Apologising for future events, made me realise that my apologies weren’t as genuine as they should be. I resolved that I would only apologise for something that was a mistake, not for things that I’m about to do that can’t be avoided. Doing this, I hope that my apologies become more genuine.
A genuine apology starts with a recognition of a mistake or error towards someone, it should be followed by some level of introspection and a subsequent commitment that whatever was done previously will not be done again.
There are, however, scenarios that require a level of politeness. The scenarios above serve as good examples: squeezing between someone on a packed bus or asking someone to repeat themselves over a video conference. These two scenarios still need a level of politeness, so instead of using the word sorry. I began to use phrases like:
- Excuse me, I need to get out at this stop.
- Pardon me, can you repeat that?
- Can you bear with me, the audio is cutting out.
This way, I am still able to maintain a level of respect for others, while ensuring I’m using the word sorry when I want to apologise for a mistake that I’ve done.
In conclusion, what I am trying to do is change my behaviour through language, so that I can differentiate between a mistake that I’ve done versus something that I have little control over. This subtle difference in language creates an environment where I’m able to apologise more genuinely whilst ensuring I’m still polite and respectful towards others.