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The proper way to apologize

Updated on March 7, 2013

Miz Manners

Have you ever been on the receiving end of an apology that leaves you asking yourself, " what the hell was that?" My favorite apology is the one that starts with an " I'm sorry I, blah, blah, blah, but..." and usually ends with " but you knew I would blah, blah,blah." Basically, there is no apology, just and excuse for the bad behavior that lead to the so-called apology. I think most people don't understand what an apology is or means anymore.

The definition of apology according to Merriam Weber dictionary is; an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret. That seems self explanatory yet for some it's un-comprehendable or perhaps no one taught them the art of a true apology.

For example; When you bump into someone by accident you say excuse me, pardon me or a simple I'm sorry. You don't say, " I'm sorry but you did walk in front of me." That would be rude and would only escalate into a confrontation of sorts. So why do some people feel the need to follow up an I'm sorry with an excuse for their not so nice behavior? Is it our need to seek approval or to exonerate the bad behavior. Either way, it's wrong.

When I was a kid, you said " I'm sorry," no explanations, no excuses! Could you imagine telling your mother you were sorry you cussed in front of her, but she really pissed you off. I would have been eating through a straw for a month If I tried that one. Sorry also used to mean, you wouldn't do it again. Now a-days sorries are thrown around like frizzbies. It holds no meaning other than to defend ones actions.

So, the next time you find your self apologizing, just say I'm sorry, mean it and don't do it again. With an apology comes forgiveness and you can't forgive an excuse!


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    • wildove5 profile image

      wildove5 4 years ago from Cumberland, R.I.

      Thank you Ed, I'm glad I'm not the only one getting the half-ass apologies!

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 4 years ago

      I have seen this ! I never apologize by saying , "but " .......funny ! You hear that Alll The Time ! Awesome !.........Ed

    • wildove5 profile image

      wildove5 4 years ago from Cumberland, R.I.

      Thank you gentlemen! We all need to bring sorry back to the meaning it once had. I'm glad to see so many feel the same way. Thanks for stopping by.

    • wayne barrett profile image

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Very good point. Just a few days ago, an apprentice of mine did something I've warned him about several times. He smirked and said, "I'm sorry". I very harshly responded, "No, you're not"! I went on to tell him that until he put his money where his mouth was that all I was hearing was an excuse. I would rather have someone disagree with me and be honest with their reasoning than to be disingenuous and disrespectful. For people to do so implies that they are not really wrong but that I have failed to really understand the underlying problem. If you're sorry, just say, I'm sorry...and stop the sentence right there!

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 4 years ago

      wilddove, Great write!!

      I knew someone who used to say, I am sorry that you got upset.

      THAT is not an apology, either.

      Good job!


    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I totally agree. When someone says "but" after an apology, to me it means that they are not sorry at all. Good points!

    • Cantuhearmescream profile image

      Cat 4 years ago from New York

      This is true, I could probably dedicate my entire hub writings to men and their "quirky" ways, but I have a feeling I would offend too many of the male species out there, so I try my darndest to hold back. I could feel it, as if I were sitting there for the apology, while reading your hub. Trust me; relatable hub.

    • wildove5 profile image

      wildove5 4 years ago from Cumberland, R.I.

      Funny, I wrote this because of my boyfriends back-handed apology. Too funny, I should have written it as a " How not to apologize to a woman during an argument," hub. Oh well, at-least our men are good for something. They do give us great Hub material! LOL

    • Cantuhearmescream profile image

      Cat 4 years ago from New York


      Oh, sounds like the kind of apology my boyfriend gives. I think they do this so they get credit for apologizing but actually get to "throw it out there" one more time. Paaalease! I would rather have the simple "I'm sorry" like you suggest, but even more impressive is the apology followed by a remorseful remark.

      ....Thanks for bringing it up