to think that the wording of an apology makes a big difference to whether it is accepted or not?

(32 Posts)
Dragonlette Fri 13-Jun-14 21:32:17

AIBU to think that

"I'm sorry I did/said that, it clearly upset you, I'll try not to do it again"

is more likely to be accepted as an apology than

"I'm sorry you took what we did the wrong way, it was only a joke"

BolshierAyraStark Fri 13-Jun-14 21:33:42

What did they do?

mommy2ash Fri 13-Jun-14 21:35:08

yes i think its everything to do with the wording. when someone is mad at me but i don't think i did anything wrong to calm the situation i have a generic response of im sorry if what i did, hurt, offended you etc. the if makes all the difference. im not actually sorry for what i have done as i still don't think its wrong but im saying sorry that the person has been hurt which i would truly be sorry for if that makes sense.

Dragonlette Fri 13-Jun-14 21:35:54

A stupid practical joke, we play jokes on each other all the time but this one just went a bit too far and upset the person who was on the receiving end.

pictish Fri 13-Jun-14 21:38:26

Yes I think it makes all the difference. The first acknowledges wrongdoing and expresses regret, but the second simply turns it back on the person who has been upset.

kim147 Fri 13-Jun-14 21:39:48

I'm sorry if you feel upset.

No - it should be I'm sorry for upsetting you. Someone I know is very good at non apologies.

Dragonlette Fri 13-Jun-14 21:43:57

That's it exactly. All of the people involved are my friends but the 2 who upset the third have made really rubbish apologies, both said something along the lines of the second one. It's caused some real tension this week because the upset person felt even more hurt that they didn't even acknowledge that they had upset her, she felt attacked for being oversensitive.

It shouldn't matter whether anyone thinks she over-reacted or not, she was upset and that should be recognised.

2rebecca Fri 13-Jun-14 21:46:08

It depends why the person is apologising. In general I'm happy with "sorry" for most things from individuals. Longer apologies tend to be for more formal situations when you get option a if the person/ institution thinks they screwed up and option b when they think you're making a fuss over nothing but feel obliged to respond to your complaint.
I think in your situation the person obviously thinks you're making a fuss over nothing and is upset you're annoyed but think it's more about youand your personality than them and their actions.
What you do depends on how long you want to string it out for. You can't make someone feel sorry if they aren't. You either agree to differ or avoid them.

Normally I would agree the latter is a crappy apology but in the context you have said where the 'victim' has involved themselves in a load of practical jokes I don't think they can get too upset if the apology isn't quite up to par.

BolshierAyraStark Fri 13-Jun-14 21:46:41

I think context is everything tbh, yes the wording on the 1st is better but if you play jokes on each other regularly then the 2nd, less sincere,is just fine.

I have thick skin though & come from a group of piss takers that don't appreciate the too far thing so feel free to disregard my opinion...

2rebecca Fri 13-Jun-14 21:47:39

Substitute your friend for you.

kim147 Fri 13-Jun-14 21:48:03

Some people find apologising very hard to do. But a non apology is worse than not apologising - as it sounds like you are trying to say sorry but are actually saying "I'm not sorry, you shouldn't have got so upset".

Imsuchamess Fri 13-Jun-14 21:49:12

Yanbu dh is excellent at non apologies it just makes me even more angry.

kim147 Fri 13-Jun-14 21:51:06

I really hate:

I'm sorry if you feel upset but....

No if. I am upset. And the but won't help.

2rebecca Fri 13-Jun-14 21:52:44

Nonapologies are just what happens when you try and make someone who isn't sorry apologise. It's meaningless so why bother? You can't make someone feel an emotion by saying certain words.
If your husband is always upsetting you then trying to make him apologise is pointless, you need to look at other ways of tackling the issue to change the behaviour.

2rebecca Fri 13-Jun-14 21:55:17

Aren't feeling upset and being upset the same? Upset is an emotion. I can be angry/ happy or feel angry/ happy. To me it's the same thing. It's an emotion I'm experiencing. That looks as though you are looking for things to get upset about.

matildasquared Fri 13-Jun-14 21:58:40

The latter is NOT an apology.

kim147 Fri 13-Jun-14 21:59:42

2rebecca

The word was "if".

Dragonlette Fri 13-Jun-14 22:00:50

2rebecca I think it's the "if" that Kim has a problem with, not the "feel". Saying "I'm sorry IF you are upset" is pointless when the person in front of you is clearly and obviously upset.

Nobody forced these people to apologise, they said sorry because they saw she was upset, but their "apology" which pretty much said that she was only upset because she's oversensitive made her feel worse rather than better. Why would you want to make your friend/partner/colleague/neighbour feel worse when they are already upset? I appreciate that they didn't go out of their way to upset her even more, they were just trying to apologise without admitting that they upset her in the first place.

kim147 Fri 13-Jun-14 22:02:32

"I'm sorry if you think I sexually harassed you".

Was that a recent apology?

SanityClause Fri 13-Jun-14 22:03:38

The speaker Of the house of commons, Dawn Primarolo, made someone apologise the other day. The MP was doing lots of non-apologising. She said, "The word you are looking for is sorry." She kept on until he made an unconditional apology.

kim147 Fri 13-Jun-14 22:04:01

I'm sorry if you think I offended you.

geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/I%27m_sorry_if_you_were_offended

2rebecca Fri 13-Jun-14 22:08:00

If several of them feel the same about this friend though and don't feel they did anything wrong then if they are your friends why are you so sure that your friend isn't over reacting? 2 people can have the same thing happen to them, one gets upset the other doesn't. If the thing itself is awful enough to warrent an apology then surely both should get an apology. You shouldn't get more apologies because you are upset by things that wouldn't bother most people.
It really depends on what it is. I think the friend has to either put it behind her or decide these people aren't that nice. Holding out for a "proper" apology if they don't feel they did anything wrong isn't going to help.

kim147 Fri 13-Jun-14 22:18:22

A non apology like I received recently when I went out of my way to help someone has made me think twice about helping that person again.

kim147 Fri 13-Jun-14 22:19:15

But this person is never wrong and doesn't understand what sorry is. And why a "but" afterwards doesn't help.

<rant over>

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