Sorry is meant to be a powerful word, but I’m known to use it ad nauseam. Sometimes I say it and don’t even realize it. Like in this email exchange I recently had with a friend:

Friend: Hey, want to try and get together for lunch next Friday?
Me: Sorry, I can’t. I have to volunteer in Henry’s class. So sorry we can’t find a common date!
Friend: No problem! We’ll find another date. You don’t have to be sorry!
Me: Oh sorry – I say that all the time. LOL. OK, let’s look at another date.

What is wrong with me? There was no need to apologize, and yet I felt compelled to say it – and say it three times!

Then the other morning, I left the house with the kids to head up to the bus stop at 7:25 as we do every morning. The bus comes like clock-work between 7:30 and 7:40. But soon as I got outside I saw the bus sitting there waiting on us. We ran to catch it, and I said, “I’m so sorry you were waiting on us!” And the driver said, “It’s OK, I was early.” And then without thinking I rambled, “Thank you for waiting. We’re so sorry!”

Once again, why was I sorry? We weren’t late. We left the house like we always do. We weren’t holding the bus up. In fact, the kids boarded earlier than usual. What’s there to be sorry about?

I find myself apologizing for the most trivial things. To my kids when they can’t find anything to do. To my husband if I’m watching something on TV that he doesn’t want to watch. To my friends, family and those I work with for not returning emails or phone calls sooner. And I often apologize for things that have nothing to do with me or are totally out of my control.

It’s a sorry state that I’m in.

My husband tells me I should never begin an email or a conversation by saying “I’m sorry” unless I’m truly at fault for something. (Remember, that’s a man speaking!) But for some reason, I feel like I’d rather throw out an apology than be remiss for not saying it at all.

Of course, there is always a time and place to say you’re sorry. We constantly tell our kids to own up to their misbehavior by saying sorry. And sorry doesn’t always cut it, either. We teach our kids to not just say, “Sorry,” but to also say why they’re sorry and that they’ll do their best not to make the same lapse in judgment. Lots of times we have to remind them to say sorry, but when they have to say it, they know that little ‘s’ word means business.

I’m sure you teach your kids the same thing. We all do. We’ve also been taught from an early age – in some way, shape or form – that we should work hard and please others. Work hard at school. Always use good manners. Be kind. Be honest. Share your things. Keep your room clean. Don’t give up. Be aggressive in sports. Practice makes perfect. Make smart decisions. Strive for the best grades. Aim for the best college. Go in early to work. Don’t be late. Show up for everything. Don’t complain. Be the last one to leave. Respond in a timely manner. Give back. Be generous. Be loving. Be a good friend. Be a good wife. Be a better mother.

Is there any wonder the word “sorry” is used so often?

Apologizes for the rambling, but do any of you find yourself in the same “sorry” rut? Do you use the ‘s’ word freely, or are you strict about its use? Do you think overuse shows insecurity, weakness and insincerity? Or do you think an apology is always welcomed and justified – no matter how silly or trivial?