I have a very English apology to make: it seems I say ‘sorry’ too much. So much so that a friend has recently started hitting me every time I say ‘sorry’ without just cause.
In my defence, it seems it isn’t just me; according to the research, the English really are polite. One study found that the average English person says sorry at least 8 times a day. Another found that the average Brit says ‘sorry’ 1.9 million times in their life. And to top it off, google (the most academic form of research), shows that the most common auto-fill question is ‘Why are the English so polite?’
However, it seems my aggressive friend does not see this English background as ‘just cause’ for saying sorry. And as I see this friend daily, unless I want to end up black and blue I’ve got some work to do. With this in mind, I have some confessions to make before I embark on the road to Sorryless-dom.
Here are 10 things I say sorry for (without just cause):
1. Not knowing the direction or the time when a stranger asks.
2. Walking into another person.
3. Being walked into by another person. (I’m not alone: research shows that 80% of English people will apologise if another person barges into them).
4. Almost being walked into by another person.
5. Walking into a table – or any inanimate object for that matter.
7. Playing a bad shot in tennis therefore meaning that my competitor wins a point.
8. Doing badly in an assignment.
9. Doing well in an assignment.
10. Rainy weather (– because clearly this is my fault).
And, of course, I have found myself saying sorry when my friend hits me for saying sorry.