Why is “I’m Sorry” So Difficult?

It’s not for me. But I’ve known some people for years who have never been able to voice their apology. Is it because they can’t admit they made a mistake? Or because, whatever it was, was not their fault and therefore, they felt their apology wasn’t warranted? Are they just being stubborn? Egotistical? Insecure?

I’ve always looked at it as an empathy issue. If someone feels slighted or fibbed to or is the victim of some injustice, I, in turn, feel bad for them and sympathize with them, whether or not it has anything to do with me. That gives the “victim’s” feelings—validation, which is usually all they want. I’m not talking about the “constant complainer.” Some people aren’t happy unless they are miserable. I’ve known those kinds of people, too. I’m referring to us average, everyday folks.

We’ve all heard, “The customer is always right” in a business situation and businesses try to satisfy their customers as much as is reasonable in order to keep them happy. Most of the time this is still true in today’s world.

Recently, I had two separate incidences where appointments were made for someone to do some work in my home on certain days. Not only did both workmen not show up, they never bothered to call to explain why. I had cancelled my plans so I could be available those days and I waited and waited all day, both days for them. Do you think I had the justification to be annoyed? I certainly do. And in both instances, I was not contacted the next day, either, for an explanation. I had to call them to find out when they would be coming. I was angry by that time. I did get an explanation, finally, but I didn’t feel I got a proper apology for either instance.

To me, that kind of behavior is unprofessional. Period. How long does it take to make a phone call? A whole minute, perhaps? To me there is no excuse for not calling. None.

I may have made a mistake in bringing this slight to the attention of one of the bosses of a business. The danger of complaining is that it sometimes makes people angry with you and could result in, any work left to do, getting done in a rushed manner without regard to quality care. So what is a customer to do? Keep quiet and feel abused? Say something and hope the boss will care enough to make sure it never happens again?

My instinct tells me that the boss I spoke with does care and wants me to be happy. What has been an exciting and delightful experience, has tried to morph itself into a worry for me, but I have decided to be my usual positive self and believe all will turn out perfectly.

On another note, I apologize to you dear reader for not continuing this month with my remodel series of blogs. I have been faux painting my Grecian columns and they have taken longer than expected. Next month, I promise, I’ll have pictures of my spectacular new master bathroom. Hope you’ll tune it then.



Filed under life, musings

10 responses to “Why is “I’m Sorry” So Difficult?

  1. Coco, I’m with you on this. I can’t understand why a business person who is asking payment for their services cannot see not only the etiquette and consideration but the negative view they’re creating by not contacting a customer if they’re not going to keep an appointment. It makes you wonder how those people would feel if that was done to them on a regular basis.
    I hope you get some satisfaction in this area and that the supervisor or person you spoke with will handle it properly. And possibly send out a different worker to finish the job so you don’t have the resentment problem. Good luck!

    • Yeaaaaaay! Thank you, Tess. I have an ally. Well, in one instance, a different worker WAS sent out and the job was taken care of. We’ll see about the other. I do have to say, most of the time, people are considerate and call if they can’t make it or are running late.

      Thank you for your comment and support.

  2. Frances Bush

    Hi Coco, I have to agree with every word you said. I would not even let the men that didn’t show up get neat the job. You really said a good mouth full. I had a story that I thought would beat yours. This is the honest truth. I had had surgery a few months ago and when I went for my follow up appointment, after about an hour an a half, I was called in to see my doctor. I was there every bit of a minute and his cell phone goes off. He answered and turned to me and said, “I have to take this call, I will be right back.” Well, I had a book with me and I was reading and the time just got away. I checked the time and I had been sutting there two hours. It was 5 pm and I looked out the door and could see a person. I thought I was locked in the building so I left. As I went out the front dooe I heard a voice ask, “Can I help you?” I said, “Yes, tell Doctor—— when he has time to see me, call me.” I never heard from him to this day. Now what would you call that? You are doing a wonderful job, Coco

    • Unbelievable!!!!!! Absolutely, unbelievable!!!!! Frances, did that doctor do your surgery? You may be lucky to be alive!!! Just kidding, but seriously, the way you were treated was inexcusable!!! Wow!!! You certainly beat my story by a mile!!!!! Hope you’re feeling better now.

      Thanks for stopping by and for your comment.

  3. Yeah Coco for speaking out on how inconsiderate a good portion of Americans have become over the past few years. I can’t believe the story about the doctor – well, I do believe it but a doctor? I apologize a lot -mostly to my children and spouse. In business, if I or an employee makes an error, I acknowledge, apologize and correct asap. Coco, write a book on manners; the world is waiting.

    • Susan, if I did write a book on manners, according to comments I’ve gotten both here and by email, it certainly wouldn’t be a best seller! Ha! People just don’t seem to care anymore, especially about the feelings of others. That’s a pretty general statement, I know, but it sure feels that way.

      Ever since parents started telling their children not to talk to strangers, particularly since the eighties, young people don’t seem to converse with anyone but their friends and family. Respect for others (specifically adults) isn’t taught anymore. Our world has gotten so dangerous, we’ve lost congeniality. Oh, well.

      Thank you for your two cents worth. You’re one of the good guys!

  4. Suzanne Baginskie

    Great blog and down to earth. It gives one something to think about.
    One simple sentence, “Sorry, I apologize, I’ve made a mistake,” is often accepted by the offended party, and is better than nothing said at all. This can happen at work, a department store, business or wherever and it proves one important point: We are all human and not perfect. Be the bigger man or woman and consider the other person’s feelings as you would your own.

  5. A timely blogpost. I’ve just realized I’m due to post something tomorrow, so I’d better write something quickly, or else be prepared to say “I’m sorry.”

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