Possible Meanings of “Sorry”
Like the Canadians, we Brits are known for saying “sorry” a lot. It’s not that we love to apologise, or even that we think everything is our fault; it’s just that we are both socially awkward and not fond of making a fuss, and “sorry” can help with both of these things. So when a Brit apologises — or seemingly apologises — to you, bear in mind that they could mean any of the following things.
- I’m sorry.
- I wish you hadn’t caught me doing the thing that, now that I think about it, I’m not actually that sorry about.
- I feel bad for you and am unsure how to express it and too socially awkward to hug you.
- I wish I could make it better for you.
- I didn’t hear you.
- I heard you, but didn’t understand you.
- I heard you, understood the words, but am aghast that anyone could hold your preposterous view.
- I was in your way and I understand that this is why you stood on my foot.
- I am coming past you, don’t move.
- I am not sorry at all, and I hope you don’t think I should be.
- I think *you* should be sorry.
- I should have anticipated you would react this way, and I am irritated with myself for not foreseeing it, and/or with you for being like this.
- I want this argument to end because you are annoying me.
- This situation is awkward and I’m not sure how to get out of it, so I’ll try the universal awkward-situation-diffusing word and see if that works.
Originally published at https://li.st.