Living in the 21st century made me realize that the days of ‘sorry’ seeming to be the hardest word is long gone. It’s not hard. I’ve heard and said it one too many times; apologies are free at any time of the day and the challenge is to spot the ones drenched in fake sincerity.
Before you turn on your cynicism, consider that not everyone can plan for a well-versed apology. When you spill a drink on someone’s shirt, or when you suddenly step on a friend’s foot, sorry automatically represents you didn’t mean it. Sorry about what happened, but we can’t do anything about it now. ’Sorry’ can redeem you from unfavorable consequences, can unravel shame, guilt, and in most heartbreaking cases, the truth. It’s a saving grace, an accessible option, pride’s last resort; it leaves you with only one option— to forgive.
I’m now starting to think that there is a shortage of words in the English language because not all apologies (and the reasons behind them) are well-represented. But as it is impossible to have a word for each, there’s also a need for humanity to accept mistakes and be able to say it. A ’sorry’ cannot stand on it’s own; sorry, sorry too, sorry three, but what are you sorry four?
Sorry for knowing that it’s wrong yet still doing it? Sorry I hurt you, but you should stop crying now? or I’m sorry, so stop bringing up my faults everytime? Ahh, the not-so-apologies. But the winning apology that should be sued for word devaluation is sorry for I don’t know what. Just ‘Sorry’. Sorry because, uh, nothing— I just felt like saying it, in an attempt to make you feel better. Yeah, it really does the trick. I want some of your crocodile tears, too.
Anyone can say sorry, but only few can admit a mistake and recognize it entirely, including the damage it has caused. The truth is people want you to feel bad that you spilled juice on their shirts, enough for you to offer them a napkin (and help in the wiping process, Lol jk). People want you to be genuinely sorry, enough for you to do things the right way next time (if there is a next time), because they’ve seen you do it right before. Nobody who’s hurt really wants a weak apology, but the sad truth is that it’s better than nothing (ceejaedelrosario, 2011).