Thoughts on Apologies

Thoughts on Apologies

“An apology is not an apology if it begins, ‘I’m sorry if….’ instead of ‘I’m sorry that…’”

What do you think?

Some to whom I’ve posed this question dismissed it as quibbling over a word choice that is meaningful only to the listener.

After some consideration, I think I’d add another word to each example.

“I’m sorry if you….” vs. “I’m sorry that I….”

“I’m sorry if you (got upset, thought, lost),” sounds like an expression of sympathy for a situation in which I am but an observer. If you weren’t so sensitive, clueless, uninterested, or unlucky, or if the stars weren’t so aligned, this wouldn’t have happened. Bummer!

“I’m sorry that I…” almost has to end with a description of my contribution to the situation.

There are times when “I’m sorry if you…..” is appropriate, and an accurate expression of what is meant; it just isn’t an apology.

I’m sorry if you don’t agree with any of this.

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