I’m Sorry vs. I Apologize

Posted: January 4th, 2010 By James Boileau  |  Tags: , ,

Saying, ‘I apologize’ is not the same as saying, ‘I’m sorry’, but yet it has become the new standard. It’s one more thing in a long list of things in our cultures shift to a diminished personal responsibility. As kids we’re taught by our parents to say, ‘sorry’ when we wrong another person, but do we really understand and feel the apology? I say no, which is why as we grew up the word ‘apologize’ replaced the word ‘sorry’. We usually know when we wrong another person, which is why we apologize, but we don’t actually feel the sorry, so we’ve stopped saying it.


The whole cultural norm for apologizing has changed. It started as a way to acknowledge, take ownership and request forgiveness while learning something, but has now turned into a way to cover our ass and keep out of trouble. For most people it’s nothing more than a lip service response to someone’s negative thought or reaction. But your phony apology is not helping anyone, so stop doing it.


We need to put the sorry back into the apology. Stop saying, ‘I apologize’, that’s the act, the feeling is, ‘I’m sorry.’ Like everything else in life, don’t say it if you don’t truly mean it. Anything overused will lose it meaning to you and to others. When you apologize you must mean it and that comes from feeling it. Other people can feel your apology when you mean it and they will truly appreciate it and most likely give you forgiveness if done authentically. The other major part of apologizing is learning. If you wrong another person through your actions the only way to truly be sorry is to learn from that event and not do it again.


Next time you wrong someone don’t just apologize, say ‘ I’m sorry’, but only if you truly mean it.  And don’t be afraid to call other people out on their apologies, it’s the only way we’re going to improve as a group.


Live Extraordinary!