I feel sorry for ‘Sorry’ – such an abused term. When you come to think of it, it is just a word, right? It holds significance in some instance and at times, it is a mere excuse. But we humans absolutely love it as an excuse, don’t we? I use this term a lot; I mean a lot! I think of myself as a kind being, and hence, if I happen to push or ignore (deliberate), I say ‘sorry’. I say sorry for things that may not need a ‘sorry’. I say ‘sorry’ to people I am not really feeling sorry for (don’t read this the wrong way). In short, I say ‘sorry’ a lot like I have already admitted. It is my ticket to moving on, a ticket to redeem myself for mistakes and sometimes, tinged with slight sadness (maybe).
But is ‘Sorry’ the right word? Mean, is it even appropriate? Like they say, first you commit the murder and then say sorry. What is the point of it? I would say nothing. Sorry – the term originated from the West Germanic term Sore that evolved to Sarig, meaning pained or distressed. It is also known to have grown from the English word Sorrow.
I’d say Sorry rarely makes the cut when its time to express grief or pain, even humility. It is more of an expression that lets your awkwardness pass on as something acceptable.
But now enough of ‘sorry’! What if I told you we could replace sorry with… ‘Thank you’, how would you react or instead how would you frame your sentence – as a greeting or as an apology?
What if ‘sorry’ ceased to exist but instead you had to be thankful for whatever situation you are in? Funny? Not funny? Cheeky. So let’s try…
When I first came across this concept, I was baffled. But there is a sarcastic pleasure in saying thank you or being thankful for certain situations where the 'S' word played a significant role.
For example, I have always had to apologise to the MIL for things I never am sorry about.
#1 MIL: You… (Think Hindi serial drama), you stole my son! You are a liar, a manipulative scum!
Me: (Meekly, crying) I am so sorry you feel this way... it was never my intention. Please, please believe me!
What I should have said:
Me: Thank you. I am glad you finally saw my true colours. It would be great if you could accept me as I am now and not hound my husband, your son who was stolen from you, to never try to change me.
#2 MIL: You (pointing at me)… what do you think you are wearing? Go change. I cannot even look at you in these colours… go change else I won’t travel with you.
Me: I am sorry you don't like my saree. It is my first saree though, and I have put a lot of effort to wear it. So I am not going to change... please understand.
Please note: I was wearing my favourite saree (purchased from my first salary) in turquoise blue and parrot green.
What I should have said:
Me: Thank you for letting me know. Why don’t I book you a cab now that you won’t travel with us?
Eons ago when I quit my then job, I had to speak to my boss. He was (is too) an asshole. Had no clue of the product and what should have been done for it. So anyway, I had quit. But out of courtesy, I had to speak to him (I had to get things approved before I left).
So I called him, and he goes:
B: Aawwww... I am so sorry and sad you are leaving. I wish we could have worked together longer. You are such a good worker...yada yadda yadda yadda and some more yadda. (All lies)
Me: Hehe... coughs, yeah. I wish I could have stayed longer.
What I wanted to say and probably should have said:
Me: Thank you for telling all your lies. Had I stayed on, I would have complained about you to the HR.
I often say sorry to the husband. Why? Because he gives me too many instructions and the rebel in me won't have it. But openly rebelling leads to a nasty silent treatment from his side and then I have had to say sorry anyway.
So if I couldn't say sorry, it would go:
Hubby: You forgot again? I told you so many times! You never listen. You are wasting time.
Me: Thank you for finally accepting I am not listening and I won't listen. :P
Yes, this post is weird. I first read about replacing sorry with a thank you in the NewYorker. It was a short post but it made a lot of sense and a lot of giggles. Hence, my attempt. Have you been in a situation where you want to be thankful instead of sorry? Do share :)