Commenting on the fact that British people say ‘sorry’ 2,290 times a year, a woman at my weekly tennis session said: “We must say it more times than that in an hour.”
It is definitely the most uttered word on the courts in our village, surpassing even ‘out’ and ‘love’.
I can’t say whether the most apologetic players continue their string of sorries away from the courts, but I certainly do.
I know I say the word far too much, even uttering it for things I haven’t done: On my last trip to the supermarket I said sorry to a woman who positioned her trolley so that it blocked off anyone else’s access to the cut-price sandwiches that had just been put out. She proceeded to take almost all of them, and then when I leaned over to make a grab at one of the remaining packs, I said sorry. How crazy is that?
Saying sorry too many times can be hugely irritating to others. My sister is a serial apologiser too, and when we’re together we sound like a couple of parrots. My eldest daughter has also inherited the need to say sorry constantly and hearing her doing this to friends, then listening to them say: “It’s okay,” or “don’t worry” in return, has made me realise how annoying it can be.
Bizarrely, even the most prolific apologisers find it hard to do it in their own homes.
“You NEVER say sorry,” my husband tells me during arguments, and I admit it doesn’t come easily within the family, where none of us likes to admit we’re wrong.
I demanded an apology the other night when both he and my daughter ridiculed me over the spelling of attached, insisting it was ‘attatched’. I knew I was correct and stormed off to find a dictionary to prove it.
They were reluctant to say sorry, but then I’m always slow in coughing out apologies when I find my car keys in my bag after rampaging around, accusing everyone else of moving them.
Being able to say sorry is a positive trait, but I read this week that saying it too much can either be a cover-up for a deep shame or a way of manipulating others to like you for your insecurities.
Other than using charity bags as bin liners, I don’t think I have anything shameful in my recent past to cover up, so I must be striving to be liked.
There’s only one way to find out: I ‘ll stop saying sorry every two minutes and see how many friends I have left.
If they stick with me I’ll start work on all the ‘thank yous’.