Is This You? Sorry vs. apology
OK. For your comfort, hold on to the brass pole — this is going to be quite a merry-go-round ride.
Can you be sorry but not apologize? On the other hand, is it possible to apologize but not be sorry? If you are sorry shouldn’t you apologize? However, if you apologized doesn’t it follow that you are sorry? Take a half a minute to let that all sink in to your gray matter …
So this conundrum surfaced on a day when I was driving down Highway 50 and a big truck passed me, on a double yellow line (idiot), throwing gravel and dust on me as he zipped by doing at least 80. I know he was doing 80 because I, as always, was doing the speed limit of 70. All right, those who know me — quit laughing. Seventy and not one mph more …
As my car drove through the dust and haze, even though he couldn’t hear me, sarcastically I muttered under my breath to the misguided driver, “No need to apologize, mister. I’m sure you are sorry for throwing rocks at me!” There was more, about the double yellow line thing too, but you can use your imagination about that message. Anyway, all that started the gears to turn in my head as to whether, if I was face to face with someone that I wronged, or who wronged me, just what the difference between being sorry and apologizing is.
Yes, blah, blah, blah is in the dictionary about sorry and apology. They dance around the difference and sameness of the two. But in real life I think there can be quite a difference between sorry and apology. They sometimes can go hand in hand. For example:
I would tell my friend I was sorry her goldfish, that I was taking care of while she was away, had died. Then I would apologize that after I flushed the little gilled creature down the porcelain throne I didn’t wait to make sure it went down and when she got home with her children not only was there a terrible smell but she had to explain why they all found Mr. Guppy floating in the toilet! See! Big difference between sorry and apology. Oh, and I will probably never be asked again to watch the next Mr. Guppy or any of his followers again!
If you let your mind go about this sorry/apology thing, it is amazing where you may end up. Like I was thinking that apology is mostly just a word. While sorry is a feeling. You don’t say, “I soooo apologize.” That just doesn’t feel as true as, “I am soooo sorry.” On the other hand, saying, “I apologize from the bottom of my heart,” has a truer ring than, “I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart.” Strange that these two words are the same — but different.
Trying to decide to say you’re sorry or that you apologize is actually easy. If, in that space between your ears, you think what you are going to say before what you say comes out of that hole under your nose, aka your mouth, you will know if it sounds right or wrong. It’s kind of like knowing who comes first in a couple’s two first names. Like, “See Dick and Jane,” sounds right but saying, “See Jane and Dick,” well, that sounds askew. Try it with a few couples you know. You will know which name comes first when you try both names. I have always said if both names sound right no matter whose name comes first, that is an equal relationship. But if one way sounds or feels more right — well, you tell me what you think! Oh, I have dropped off the conversation table, again …
Choosing to be apologetic or sorry is as important as being either happy or glad to see a long lost friend. Holy cats, happy or glad? That just opens up a whole other dictionary of words. Sorry about bringing that up — I apologize.
Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Her book ITY BITS is on Kindle. Share with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.