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Don’t say “sorry IF I hurt you”, say “sorry THAT I hurt you” when apologizing. Even if you didn’t mean to hurt anyone, saying “if” diminishes their feelings.

LPT: Don’t say “sorry IF I hurt you”, say “sorry THAT I hurt you” when apologizing. Even if you didn’t mean to hurt anyone, saying “if” diminishes their feelings.



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  1. My sister-in-law, who is utter trash, once wrote me a letter wherein she hoped I died before my daughter was old enough to know me. Her method of apology was, quote, “I’m sorry if you feel like I might have disrespected you.” And she had no idea why I found that inadequate.

  2. Actually, neither are very good phrases. In nonviolent communication (NVC) you communicate by separating observations, feelings, needs and requests.

    So if you’re a practitioner of NVC, you can’t make assumptions about others. A full, emotional conversation would be like this:

    A: I see that your body language is different somehow (observation). I am curious as to why (feeling), because it is important to me that I know you’re okay (need). Will you tell me what’s on your mind? (request).

    B: When you said that I shouldn’t wear these types of clothes (observation), I felt ridiculed (feeling). I am insecure about my body and I need validation to feel good, otherwise my self-hate turns on. (need) Can you please not say this again? (request).

    A: Absolutely, I’m sorry I said that.

    This is a very academic example per se because this requires incredible self-awareness from both parties to work. More often than not, especially in relationships we play games but if we want to grow we need to be able communicate respectfully and in a non-violent way.

    It’s not your job to judge if someone is sensitive, or if they are overreacting. If I say something to my girlfriend and she misinterprets my words which in turns end up hurting her, I can’t take responsibility for the feeling of hurt because I didn’t do it. But I can take responsibility to say all those words. And because I value the relationship, now I understand that if I say X in a specific way, then she will feel hurt. Now I can decide if I can say things differently or if what I said was really necessary thing to say. But this takes two people. It needs both of you to keep working on saying/doing less things that you *know* will have a negative impact on the other while making sure you make *crystal clear requests* on what you want the other to do / not do.

    Edit: formatting

  3. You could you know.. Verify..

    Did (the way I) something I said or did hurt /offend /embarrass /discomfort you? That was most certainly it my intention if I had know I would it have said/done it(that way)

    It did? Was it: <this>

    Did it hurt you because <empathise to guess subjective interpretation>

    Or alternatively

    Is it okay for me to ask you why <this> made you feel that way

    so I can try my best to avoid unintentionally repeating my mistake in the future

    Thank you for giving me the chance to sort this with you, I hope you’ll find it within yourself to forgive my mistake.

  4. I disagree.

    Sometimes it’s not a thing that you did that was hurtful but how they are choosing to take it.

    For example:

    “I had a dream you cheated on me 😡”

    “Okay….”

    “Aren’t you going to apologize?

    “I mean, I’m sorry you’re upset about you’re bad dream…”

    Or more relateably, working in customer service often puts u in front of people that want you to apologize for things you have no control over.

    As I mentioned in a comment awhile ago: a woman got mad at me because the solar eclipse was occurring at noon and she wanted us to wait to have the solar eclipse viewing program until her kid got out of school. I can’t control the sun and moon. That’s not my issue.

  5. Oh my God, yes. My mother (I’m a teenager) and I had an argument, and I ended up slamming the microwave door. She whipped around, grabbed me by the shoulders, chipped my mug and almost threw me into my room. It really hurt, yet when I wanted her to apologize for it, she kept saying “No, I didn’t hurt you”, and when she DID apologize, it was “Sorry IF I hurt you”. Really didn’t mean anything at that point.

  6. Sorry I hurt you. It’s always a good idea to try and eliminate the word ‘that’ whenever possible. If the word doesn’t help in the meaning of the sentence, eliminate it.

    edit: then

    edit: FFS

  7. I think people that apologise this way already know that it isn’t a real apology, they are being manipulative.

  8. I actually wholeheartedly disagree with this statement. Maybe you didn’t actually hurt their feelings by what was said and it’s an “if” scenario. By saying I’m sorry “that” I hurt your feelings, you’re implying that their feelings were definitely hurt, when they may not have been.

  9. I’d rather say “sorry that this hurts you.”

    You can’t always take the blame for someone else’s feelings. In the case where your actions caused their hurt, you should take ownership, but it is disingenuous when apologizing for things you aren’t at fault over.

    Some people feed off others unfairly taking the blame, just want attention, or don’t want to take ownership for their own overreactions.

    It’s a subtle thing, but when you’ve been in controlling and manipulative relationships, the first step to recovery is to stop taking the blame for what you didn’t do.

  10. My wife and I usually say, “ Sorry for fighting with you”. No need to assign blame or take responsibility, just an acknowledgment that we both overreacted.

  11. LPT: Don’t coddle oversensitive people. They will end up expecting everyone to walk on eggshells around them and they will lose any and all ability to have actual, material relationships with friends, family, colleagues, etc.

  12. LTP: Don’t have your feelings diminished because of small perceived slights like words or grammar that you don’t like. If you know the person, you should already know if the apology is worthy or not.

    Basically, grow some skin

  13. What if you did nothing wrong and someone feels hurt? You did not hurt them. They feel hurt.

    “I’m sorry you feel hurt” sounds appropriate. If you actually did something wrong, then “I’m sorry i hurt you” is totally reasonable.

  14. What if you thought you may have stood on someone’s foot but you’re not sure. Wouldn’t make sense to say ‘sorry that I stood on your foot’ when you didn’t.

  15. Can we just straight up eliminate the option of “social” LPT’s? It’s 90% of this sub anymore.

  16. Oh wow we got some sensitive people over one IF.
    If this is the kind of person that sensitive, don’t even mind apologizing. Save yourself from drama

  17. sorry IF, means i dont know if i hurt you, sorry THAT means i know i hurt you. they arent the same or replaceable.

  18. The problem is, often some is hurt without anyone actually hurting them. Saying sorry without having done anything wrong isn’t something you should make a habit of. If you feel you need to do that in a regular basis, you’re in an abusive or unhealthy relationship, either with an SO, a friend or a boss/coworker.

  19. ‘Sorry if I hurt you’ is officially an apology/non-apology. In addition to diminishing the feelings of the victim, it diminishes the responsibility of the perp.

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