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Aibu to think that an apology is pretty meaningless when it's followed by but.

(27 Posts)
DoYouSmellParsnips Sat 01-Nov-14 12:43:57

My DH does this all the time. Not just to me but to our DC. I find it really annoying! I've told him this and he says that he's just explaining why he's reacted a certain way, or done whatever it is he's done. But I can't help but think if you're trying to justify whatever it is you've done then you're not really sorry...

ClawHandsIfYouBelieveInFreaks Sat 01-Nov-14 12:47:50

YANBU. My DH and I never say sorry unless we mean it...and are regretting words or actions and we never say it expecting a "sorry" back. It's taken us 12 years to get to this but it really works for us.

Nomama Sat 01-Nov-14 12:50:46

NU in the slightest.

The word 'but' completely negates the apology - every time!

lljkk Sat 01-Nov-14 12:52:43

to me it means "I'm sorry I upset you but if I explain you may feel less upset" which I don't think is unreasonable. I am very impressed at people who never ever try to better explain themselves during an apology and expect to take full responsibility for everything on the chin.

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 01-Nov-14 12:53:40


DoJo Sat 01-Nov-14 13:01:59

This seems to have come up a lot on here recently - it really depends on what follows the 'but' IMO. If someone says 'I'm really sorry for shouting at you, but I thought you were going to fall off the ladder when you leaned over like that', I can't see anything wrong with that. I will often give that kind of apology to my son as he is only 2 and needs to understand that although shouting at him or grabbing his arm isn't my first choice of ways to deal with things, sometimes I need his attention immediately.
An apology which goes 'I'm sorry I shouted at you, but you started it by being annoying' isn't really an apology, but could be a way of opening a discussion about how to avoid winding each other up in future. You can be sorry that you have upset someone but still think there is some justification for what you have done - rarely is someone so completely in the wrong that there are no mitigating factors to their unreasonable behaviour, even if it is a reason and not an excuse.
If you could give an example of what your husband says, it would be easier to judge whether he is offering an explanation to avoid the same situation happening in future or just passing the blame.

enriquetheringbearinglizard Sat 01-Nov-14 13:09:14

'I'm sorry I shouted at you, but I was drunk' = apology qualified by an excuse
'I was drunk, but I'm sorry I shouted at you' = explanation followed up by an apology

I take them to have quite different sentiments and I get narked if a kind of apology doesn't sound sincere.

DoYouSmellParsnips Sat 01-Nov-14 13:15:17

Good points...

Ok examples...

I'm sorry I shouted, but you're not listening to me (to DD 4yrs)

I'm sorry I snapped at you, but I just don't like this shop (To me, it was Matalan btw!)

Got annoyed with trick or treaters and said 'I'm sorry but I find sending your children out to beg for sweets morally repugnant' (to an adult woman with her 3 young children, I gave them extra sweets).

Those are some for the past 24 hrs! He's a good man, just a pain in the arse sometimes!

FaFoutis Sat 01-Nov-14 13:17:49

Got annoyed with trick or treaters and said 'I'm sorry but I find sending your children out to beg for sweets morally repugnant' (to an adult woman with her 3 young children, I gave them extra sweets).

That is awful. If he feels like that he shouldn't answer the door. That goes beyond useless apologies and enters the realm of lacking social skills.

neolara Sat 01-Nov-14 13:18:28

Blimey. Last one is hideously rude and probably ruined that family's night. If he felt that strongly, he shouldn't have opened the door.

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 01-Nov-14 13:25:20

shock I'd be mortified if my DH was so rude to little children!

Different if they're teenagers trying their luck, granted.

MaitlandGirl Sat 01-Nov-14 13:26:46

My MIL is the queen of "I'm sorry but,,,," and always follows it up with some insult or another. It's like she feels it's ok to say it as she's said sorry first! Things like "I'm sorry, but that child needs a damn good slap" or "I'm sorry, but her husbands just funny looking"

She's a deeply offensive woman sad

An apology followed by an insult or an excuse doesn't count as an apology in my book.

antarctic Sat 01-Nov-14 13:29:36

The last one was very rude, but I don't see the 'but' as the problem here - it's the whole sentence that's rude!

Obviously he shouldn't have snapped at you just because he didn't like the shop, but is it possible that by giving such a silly reason he was acknowledging that he was being irrational and that it was nothing to do with you? So if he had simply apologised, without the 'but', you might have partly blamed yourself, but in the light of his explanation you won't?

The problem with 'but' in the first example is that it negates the value of the apology by implying that the blame should be shared. Was that true in this case? Was it a reasonable response for him to shout at DD given her behaviour?

ApocalypseThen Sat 01-Nov-14 14:21:16

I really, really get irritated by people who decide to state their deeply unpleasant points of view with "I'm sorry but..." They're not sorry, or they wouldn't bother saying it, and they know that they're just being rude. They should own that and say what they mean without an insincere, rubbish apology if they decide they are going to say it.

FishesTit Sat 01-Nov-14 14:25:23

For me but usually negates all that was said before it.

toomuchtooold Sat 01-Nov-14 14:30:01

Oh I hate it with a passion. It is however not as bad as "I'm sorry you feel that way". Has that ever in the history of the world, ever meant anything other than "you're being unreasonable but I'm so nice I'll pretend you've got a point"?

VileStatistyx Sat 01-Nov-14 14:32:23

Depends what you are apologising for.

If you are sorry that someone feels upset but you feel justified in your POV and don't want to say that your own feelings or thoughts are wrong or bad, then that ought to be an option.

I can say to someone that I am really fed up with something they keep doing to me and they then start sobbing about the fact I have said I am not happy - I can express sorrow at their upset without wanting to placate them by coming across like I am withdrawing my comment.

I'm sorry I'm sorry, you carry on doing that I'll shut up about it v I'm sorry that this has upset you but really I cannot carry on accepting this situation.

An acknowledgement of someone's feelings while maintaining your position isn't a bad thing. Being sorry for the way you did something while maintaining that your reason for wanting to do something was valid is not a bad thing.

However, that last one was just plain ignorant of him. If you have sweets in and you are answering the door then you've got no business lecturing people who knock.

He had the choice to put up a sign that said no trick or treaters, if he felt he didn't want to participate. Not get someone to the door and then try to make them feel small. That was dickish.

I'm sorry but.. followed by horrible view is just another way of saying no offence but...horrible view and isn't about apology or anything close.

Smartiepants79 Sat 01-Nov-14 14:50:31

I agree with vile it's possible to be sorry for upsetting someone but still stick by what you believe to be right. I'd have no issue with the first two examples. He is sorry for hurting your feelings but feels he has a good reason for what happened. I have done this. Shouted at my DD then felt bad BUT her poor behaviour still happened and hopefully she'll learn that the behaviour upsets others.
The last one is just rude. If he doesn't agree with trick or treating he should just not open the door on Halloween!

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sat 01-Nov-14 14:52:56

Never say 'but' after an apology, I never do... but I do sometimes 'draw' a semi-colon in the air if I'm apologising to my husband for something that requires further explanation. Works better than 'but'.

OiGiveItBack Sat 01-Nov-14 14:56:14

YANBU. - an apology should be an apology and not an excuse.

TooMuchCantBreathe Sat 01-Nov-14 15:04:22

What's the difference between an excuse and an explanation? Does "I'm so sorry I snapped at you, I'd just stubbed my toe hard and was trying not to swear" count as an explanation? (It's something I've done when a small child insisted on an answer now whilst I hopped about with tears running down my cheeks) doesn't an explanation allow for learning?

Of course blame turning "I'm sorry I yelled about <insert insignificant event>, you should know not to talk to me before morning coffee" is never ok.

addictedtobass Sat 01-Nov-14 15:13:47

Definitely depends on the apology, also depends on if sorry is always followed by a but which does suggest either placation or trying to not be in the wrong.

I'm sorry I shouted, but you're not listening to me: He shouldn't have shouted that's a fact, at the same time though people should listen and repeats shouldn't have to be said. If it was just once or twice with a younger child it's unreasonable, if she does what my nephew does and whines for an entire day repeating the same thing and ignoring the response then I could see it as reasonable and the parent making a point- not listen to me and I might well get annoyed. My sister's snapped at my nephew a few times, he's only 5, he does it to manipulate- he thinks whining will get what he wants because her ex-his dad- always caves in.

I'm sorry I snapped at you, but I just don't like this shop No need to snap at all and excusing his behaviour. If he didn't like it he should have stayed hom. Unless you guilt tripped him into coming (which again he's an adult and chose to) then he did chose to go in.

Got annoyed with trick or treaters and said 'I'm sorry but I find sending your children out to beg for sweets morally repugnant' 100% fair to think, 100% fair to say if he'd put up a 'no trick treaters sign' and they'd constantly harassed with the doorbell until you opened. Not at all reasonable given the situation here.

The best I'm sorry 'bet' I got was: I'm sorry that I cheated but I really do love you. Total contradiction of words and actions there.

fabricfreeshiner Sat 01-Nov-14 16:00:35

Some people cannot accept that they are wrong. To do so would destroy their personality and ruin everything that they think they are.

To avoid this, they use but.

Honestly, having known someone like this I don't know if they will ever change because it's so important to them to have the always right part of their personality intact. I think it stems from being overcriticised as a child tbh.

Good luck though OP! grin

DoYouSmellParsnips Sat 01-Nov-14 16:06:15

I agree with you all, he was completely rude and I told him just as much! I banned him from the door after that! I genuinely apologised to the woman! Luckily her children hadn't really grasped what DH was saying. They went away happy bunnies (ghost, witch and pumpkin) as they all got sweets and Halloween themed toys. I enjoy the little ones knocking on the door so always make a fuss.

I get that he just wants to justify himself sometimes, but sometimes it is that he wants to justify his own bad behaviour. My Dd really wasn't being bad, she just struggles to focus on more than one thing at a time. She certainly didn't deserve him yelling!

Bottom line, he's just a prat sometimes.

DoYouSmellParsnips Sat 01-Nov-14 16:08:05

Fabric you've hit the nail on the head!

round of applause

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