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How meaningful is "sorry" .... really?





deanhills
I've always been a bit cynical about people really hurting other people, and then coming up with a feeble "I'm sorry" penance. How can a word like that ever fix things? I was particularly thinking about this regarding David Letterman, and the incredible humiliation and hurt he must have caused his wife and family with his public admission "out of the blue"! That was hurt four times over. First there was the betrayal. Then the lies covering the betrayal. Then the very public humiliation that his public admission must have caused completely out of the blue. And then an apology that must have been equally hurtful for his wife and family. All of it completely self-serving. I don't care about his behaviour. He acted out his fantasies. That is his affair. But now to go live and repent as publicly as he has done, how meaningful is that .... really?
Ophois
I have two separate things to say about your topic.

First, I will address the Letterman issue(we could possibly start an entirely new thread about that as well).

David Letterman did what he did to save face, nothing more. Had he not broke the news of his affairs and the alleged extortion attempt, some other media outlet would have done so, causing much more bad press than what he is getting now. Business wise, it was a brilliant move on his part. The apology itself was disingenuous, and completely selfish. He was only "sorry" because it got into the public light. If that guy hadn't outed him, he would still be screwing his employees, and wouldn't be the least bit sorry.

Which brings me to the second part, dealing with the actual topic of people being "sorry".
I don't buy it, and I don't accept that as an apology for premeditated bad behavior. I spend a lot of time with my nephews, who are 10 and 11 years old. They misbehave on purpose sometimes, and when I bust them on it, they say the same thing. "I'm sorry". Nope, no good. Being "sorry" is a genuine feeling of guilt for making a mistake. When the bad behavior was on purpose, and the apology only comes on the heels of getting caught, sorry doesn't cut the mustard. One has to make amends in a much bigger way when they are caught misbehaving.

So I would tell David Letterman the same thing I tell my nephews; "Show me how sorry you are". My nephews are catching on to what that means, and it helps them modify their behavior in the future. Letterman needs to show his family, his co-workers, his employees and his audience how sorry he is. Turning his lewd conduct into a "bit" for his monologue is contrived and sleazy. Every bit as sleazy as his original behavior, and saying "I'm sorry" is not good enough.
Not even close.
deanhills
Ophois wrote:
So I would tell David Letterman the same thing I tell my nephews; "Show me how sorry you are". My nephews are catching on to what that means, and it helps them modify their behavior in the future. Letterman needs to show his family, his co-workers, his employees and his audience how sorry he is. Turning his lewd conduct into a "bit" for his monologue is contrived and sleazy. Every bit as sleazy as his original behavior, and saying "I'm sorry" is not good enough.
Not even close.
Thanks. This is a great way of looking at it and spot on. Next time when I come across one of these, I will ask the same question. "Show me how sorry you are".
hangnhu
how meaningful do you need it to be? and what is the situation?
if you bump into someone, a simple sorry for politeness should not be too hard
if you need to apologize for someone worst, words are not enough, only action cay express how sorry you are. don't you think?

and the letterman issue, I don't know the whole thing, was he admitting he was sorry publicly? or was he confessing to something else? either he is sorry and wants to demonstrate that to the world as well as his family, or he has another motive to be 'sorry'.
apple
I can only speak from personal experience...as a child growing up when I did something 'wrong' and was told to say sorry I was not quick to. Especially if it was something I did not view as wrong or something that I thought about doing before I did it.
When I was about 12 my grand mother and I had a HUGE fall out which lead to me walking out of the house saying I was going to my mothers.
The following day my mother forced me to go to my grand mothers to apologize, I refused and she was furious. When asked why I did not say sorry, I simply told her that it would be a lie as I was not sorry and I preferred not to lie. She was SOOOOOOO mad she smacked me real good.
Eventually I looked my grand mother in her face and said....mom said I should say sorry. That was it, I still have not said sorry.

About a month ago I did something that hurt and offended my husband, I said I was sorry cause I was, not cause I was looking for a 'quick fix'. So while I understand how people use sorry as a means to get away with something they did wrong. I am not that way.
azoundria
I will simply quote Mahatma Gandhi:

"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."

It is only human to act in our best interests.

Your corrections are like a parachute. Bring it forward wide open, and the wind could blow you anywhere. But bring it directly, compactly, and discretely to the person, and you will have much more success. Nobody ever wants to be wrong.
biljap
I’ve heard a lot of “I’m sorry” lately, meaning nothing. Yes, maybe it means something to them because they’ve said it; they’ve done their job… How that “sorry” helps me if I’m being hurt by a person over and over and hearing that “sorry”, over and over… Crying or Very sad
Bluedoll
Is sorry only a word . . . by Bluedoll

Words are only words but how we use them depends on how we really feel and give them meaning. They do have different meanings dependant on the person, situation and “sorry” isn’t any different. We seemed to be always struggling with communication and what we hear or read doesn’t always mean how a word is defined, that is so true.

After any kind of sorry, forgiveness though is just as, if not more important for the one doing the forgiving. If we can not forgive, we only end up hurting ourselves. Does that mean we should put up with all the wrongs, no I don’t think so and what is meaningful for us is how we react and show by example.

What I mean by the above is if we tell someone “prove it” then at some time in the future when we do something wrong we could be told the same thing and then what happens if there is not much we can do to right a wrong?

People simply demonstrate what kind of people they are or are to become.
lagoon
I've always thought that saying sorry, among other things, means that you won't do something again. People know full well that they will, but say it anyway as if it's an all-healing word.
Bluedoll
I couldn’t agree more about sorry after sorry’s. I suppose we have all been hurt by someone and more than once. I am wondering though is forgiveness and putting up with the treatment the same though?

We can always say we forgive (meaningfully) and end the relationship, close the door, lock up the liquor cabinet or do whatever it takes to stop the abuse!
iyepes
I didn't see the Letterman thing, so I'll concentrate on the saying sorry part.

I used to be one of these people whom always commited the same mistakes with the same people, and always came with an I'm sorry. And I could assure to you that I felt truly sorry all those times, acknowledging the damage I've caused. However my sorrow was never enough to avoid doing the same thing once and over again.

After years (of time and therapy) I learned how not to repeat those things again. Do I still say sorry when I am wrong (luckyly about non-repetitive things)?, yes, yes and yes. Because to me saying sorry is give to the other person an apology for causing them bad feelings associated with your bad behavior, recognizing the suffering they stood.
mk12327
Ophois wrote:

Which brings me to the second part, dealing with the actual topic of people being "sorry".
I don't buy it, and I don't accept that as an apology for premeditated bad behavior. I spend a lot of time with my nephews, who are 10 and 11 years old. They misbehave on purpose sometimes, and when I bust them on it, they say the same thing. "I'm sorry". Nope, no good. Being "sorry" is a genuine feeling of guilt for making a mistake. When the bad behavior was on purpose, and the apology only comes on the heels of getting caught, sorry doesn't cut the mustard. One has to make amends in a much bigger way when they are caught misbehaving.

So I would tell David Letterman the same thing I tell my nephews; "Show me how sorry you are". My nephews are catching on to what that means, and it helps them modify their behavior in the future. Letterman needs to show his family, his co-workers, his employees and his audience how sorry he is. Turning his lewd conduct into a "bit" for his monologue is contrived and sleazy. Every bit as sleazy as his original behavior, and saying "I'm sorry" is not good enough.
Not even close.


This is a very good topic to discuss about, as there are many degrees of discussion that can be done. Regarding the thing about David Letterman, unfortunately i do not know anything about that so i would not comment on that.

I like the way Ophois gave his reply, especially the phrase "premeditated bad behavior". Personally, i would just accept a simply apology of "sorry" if it happens to be an innocent accident, eg. knocking into someone walking in opposite direction by accident. However, when it comes to somethig pre-planned or intentional, the word "sorry" really insults the person on the receiving end. Slapping a person in the face and saying sorry doesn't ease the pain both physically and emotionally. (I would not say giving the person a slap back would help though.)

Showing remorse is more important than saying sorry to "appease" the person. It is a matter of agreeing agreeably compared to agreeing disagreeably. "No problem!" and "Yeah right..." seems to mean the same thing on the outside, but putting into context, taking into consideration the tone, and the choice of words simply makes a difference.
deanhills
mk12327 wrote:
However, when it comes to somethig pre-planned or intentional, the word "sorry" really insults the person on the receiving end. Slapping a person in the face and saying sorry doesn't ease the pain both physically and emotionally. (I would not say giving the person a slap back would help though.)

Showing remorse is more important than saying sorry to "appease" the person. It is a matter of agreeing agreeably compared to agreeing disagreeably. "No problem!" and "Yeah right..." seems to mean the same thing on the outside, but putting into context, taking into consideration the tone, and the choice of words simply makes a difference.
Totally agreed and well said. Especially when the person who says "sorry" does it quite often, that already says there is absence of true remorse.
riyadh
it's what you make of it...personally my gf tends to screw up ever so often on the same things and lately it's getting a bit redundant wen she says sorry bt at the end of the day i knw she means it frm her behaviour and all tht
zacky
SORRY is the word that every people use when they commit a mistake, sincere or not. I guess

it was just created at least to be able to express the feelings of being ashamed to the person who

commit mistake/s. But as the hours,days,weeks,months,year,decade or even century, the meaning of

this word become unaccepted. There's a lot of poetry about this word that giving the sense of not

accepting it in two or more times that you commit mistakes. However, it depends how you will derive

this word, what i mean is, how will you say it to the person. How will you convince them that your truly

ashamed of what you have done.
guissmo
I'm usually easily swayed with "sorry". It just shows how others can easily swallow their pride. (still) I have a hard time saying it though. I appreciate those who can say it sincerely.

Now that I've read the other posts, I think the Letterman approach is kinda useful and effective.
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