Why “I’m Sorry” Is A Meaningless Phrase

I always hated when people say “I’m Sorry” because they think saying it is enough. Some people believe that spilling your gut out saying how sorry you are actually changes anything. It doesn’t at all.

Let’s look at what the definition of “I’m Sorry” is:

1. Feeling or expressing sympathy, pity, or regret: I’m sorry I’m late.

2. Worthless or inferior; paltry: a sorry excuse.

3. Causing sorrow, grief, or misfortune; grievous: a sorry development.

Yeah that’s nice, but it still doesn’t change anything. Does it make up for anything? Not at all. Just saying the words is almost like an empty promise.

Here is how I apologize for something. It’s really complicated so you might want to reread this part: You do something nice for the person you wronged. It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t even need to be something extravagant. Just being a friend and talking is sometimes enough. Buy a meal, make the person feel good, joke around…..something! You can’t just say the words and expect everything to be okay in the end.

It’s almost like when you tell someone “I love you”. What sounds better?

Me saying “I love you”

Or

Me going above and beyond to make you feel great about being with me. Doing some kind of gesture that shows how much I enjoy being around you. And then saying “I love you”

I’m pretty sure people want the second option over the first option.

Now you don’t have to go over the top about an apology. Here’s some examples of how I apologized to some people:

  1. Some girl wanted to hang out and the day of something came up that I had to go to. There was no way around it. So I called her and told her everything, I said how “sorry” I was about letting her down. THEN I told her when I’m free next and made sure I was available that day and when we hung out made it a great day for her.
  2. I got into a fight with a co-worker and it got pretty heated. It was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and I had Wednesday off. So I came back Friday after the two day break. We saw each other, he came up and said he was sorry for what he said and didn’t mean to offend me. I shook his hand and I said I was equally at fault.  After that I asked how his Thanksgiving went and he asked how mine went. That day we talked about basketball and a multitude of other things that rest of the day. Then every day at work we talked and joked around…..likes friends would.

These were just 2 examples of times where I said I was “sorry”, but you can clearly see it didn’t just end with the words. You know what the worst kind of apology is? Saying “I’m sorry” and then doing nothing after. Silence isn’t the answer. It never is, but for some reason this is the road most people take.

Someone said it the best way to me. He said “Joe, everyone can’t be you” and he was right. Now I’m not perfect. I never went around saying I am, but I’m smart enough to know that there is a right way and a wrong way to do things.

Empty words are the same as empty promises. They do nothing, but make the person saying it feel better about themselves. They feel like “what else can I do”, but clearly there are a lot of other things you can do to prove you’re sorry.

Just take a moment and think about it like this. If someone screwed up and you were affected in one way or another, would just the words “I’m sorry” be enough for you?

Joe Reyes

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