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Author Topic: Responses to "I'm Sorry"  (Read 54589 times)

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Re: Responses to "I'm Sorry"
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2012, 05:22:18 PM »
I'm in the "Thank you" camp; intonation can strike any number of meanings and keep things civil while not glossing over an offense.  I also think adding something like "but I'm not ready to address this with you" has its place.


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Re: Responses to "I'm Sorry"
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2012, 07:35:25 PM »
Assuming that the apology is sincere, but doesn't 'fix' things, add me to the 'I appreciate the apology' camp. I usually add something pertinent to it; as jpcher suggested "Can we talk" or "I understand but I need more time" or the harsher "...but it doesn't fix things. I need you to make this right and I need to feel that you are taking steps to ensure that this will never happen again." Depending on what I actually DO need.

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Re: Responses to "I'm Sorry"
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2012, 08:35:25 PM »
I think that's the thing, the idea that sorry means you won't let it happen again.   I grew up being told that just saying sorry means nothing if you keep doing what offended or hurt the other person.  (ironically the ones who taught me this were notorious for saying sorry but not preventing it from happening again)

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Re: Responses to "I'm Sorry"
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2012, 11:30:12 PM »
If the apology seemed heartfelt and honest:

"I appreciate your apology, but I'm still having a difficult time handling the situation. Can we talk?"

I like this wording. However, if I was still feeling very upset at that point, I'd say "Can we talk later, when I've had a chance to process this?"

I also think if the apology is genuine, it's rude to berate the other person for what they did (and sadly, I have seen this happen both in real life, and on internet forums). Eg "You're sorry?! Well yeah, you really shouldn't have done (or said) XYZ. It was really stupid! XYZ is really hurtful, and you really need to learn not to do it again!" etc.


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Re: Responses to "I'm Sorry"
« Reply #19 on: October 06, 2012, 12:52:29 AM »
I agree that you should not say "It's okay" when it is not. I think thanking someone for their apology is a good way to go.

That said, my sixth grade English teacher had another response, which I'm rather fond of: "It's not okay, but I forgive you." He was pretty big on respect. If students were horsing around in the hallway and disrupting our class, he would make them come in and apologize. He asked us use the above response. I think that's a good response for the type of situation you describe.
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Re: Responses to "I'm Sorry"
« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2012, 08:36:34 AM »
The worst is when someone says, "My bad."  Is that supposed to be an apology?  Argh!

As for the OP query, I agree with most folks here--no, don't "accept" the apology if you aren't feeling it.  But definitely acknowledge it, such as, "Thanks for saying that, but I still need some time."

For my daughter's apologies, I say, "Thank you for saying you're sorry--I forgive you."  Since she apologizes for saying things like, "I hate you" etc. I ALWAYS accept her apology.  I also tell her that she has the right to be upset and angry too. Of course, she's only 6!
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Re: Responses to "I'm Sorry"
« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2012, 08:58:23 AM »
Actually, I'll confess something here that I never have told anyone - I hate apologies for major issues. I was so indoctrinated as a kid that you must forgive someone immediately on an apology that to this day I feel manipulated when someone says "I'm sorry". (Minor things - accidentally breaking a glass or bumping into me or whatever are a whole other thing and I have no problem with them.) I would never tell anyone that because I would be horrified by making someone feel bad about apologizing, and since I logically understand that the person apologizing is sincere and not trying to force me into forgiving, but the more important the issue is to me, the less I want to hear an apology. What I prefer is that the person acknowledge what happened and then tell me it won't happen again. That's really what I want - a validation of my feelings and an assurance that they care enough to not do it again.

So, because of my neurosis about apologies, I also almost never know how to respond to them. Usually, if someone says "I'm sorry", I'll respond with, "Do you understand why I am upset?" If they say yes, then I'll say something like, "I need you to show me you understand and care by not doing this again." And then if they agree, then I'm at the point where I can say, "Thank you for understanding. I was really hurt and I appreciate knowing that you understand and it won't happen again."

I think that phrase kind of wraps up acknowledgement that they're sorry and acceptance without saying "I forgive you."


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Re: Responses to "I'm Sorry"
« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2012, 10:30:37 AM »
When I apologize to Mr. K for something I've said or done that is NOT okay and should NOT be excused, he will usually shrug his shoulders and (half)smile and say "What can I say? It's over now.  I love you."  You could replace that last sentence with "We're still friends." if the apology is offered by a friend, and omit it entirely for someone who is just an acquaintance.

I feel that it acknowledges and accepts the apology without going into details on how hurt you were/are and without excusing the behaviour.