Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

How difficult is it to admit our own mistakes? Why does ‘sorry’ seem to be a tough word to say even when we know it is our fault? Read our Premium Blogger, Corinne‘s  take on the word ‘Sorry’ in this post. Read on.

No, this is not about Elton’s famous song.

Our boxer, Pablo, takes socks from the washing and leaves them lying in the sitting room. He knows what he’s doing is wrong. When my husband or I find the offending object, we call Pablo and say something like: “Who did this?” Pablo doesn’t make eye contact and looking very contrite, he puts one paw up to say he is sorry for what he has done. However, if we continue with our line of questioning, he turns around and walks away, as if to say: “I said I was sorry, now get on with your life.”  The whole exercise is repeated a few weeks later.

So is this post about our dog? No. As much as I love Pablo, this is not entirely about him.

Pablo’s behaviour reminds me of the cases of plagiarism we’ve been seeing around the Indian blogosphere for the last few months. In June, a friend informed me that a certain woman blogger seemed to be copying my posts. Unfortunately, he was right. She had copied at least two of my posts word for word. When I shared this in a forum, a band of very determined women bloggers left comments on her blog to let her know that she had been outed. How did she respond? She wrote to me telling me that she was sorry but she didn’t know that she was doing something wrong. Besides, she said, how could she help it if she had exactly the same thoughts as I did?

A month later, a blogger who had been found copying posts and entering them for a competition, showed no remorse when she was found out. She brazenly thanked the owner of the original content for being her ‘inspiration’. When a group of us insisted that she take down the post, she said she was sorry, but how awful of us to accuse her of plagiarism. She all but accused us of not giving her a chance to defend herself. She also managed to get a few bloggers to say in her defence: “She said ‘Sorry’. Now let’s get on with our lives.”

This makes me conclude that ‘sorry’ doesn’t seem to be  the hardest word any longer. No, it’s something you say to get people off your back. Once you say sorry then you are technically the aggrieved party. How can people then be so offensive as to ask you to make amends for your action?

All this while I thought that sorry meant:  ‘I have hurt you and I take responsibility for my actions. How can I make amends?’ But no, I’m wrong. Sorry. Someone re-wrote the rules and didn’t inform me!


33 Replies to “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word”

  1. That really is a sad state of affairs. Have seen it happen to a fellow blogger too, with her cookery post copied onto one of India’s main websites cookery section. The joke ? She even copied the comments !! Who does that ?

    And you are right : People have become so brazen, they look to justify it now rather than just admit what they did was wrong. Atleast Pablo says sorry the first time 🙂

  2. What do I say! I am apalled by the behavior of these people. And u r so right, these days it is so easy to get away by doing anything & everything. Wonder how easily people delete the words ‘ethics’ & ‘conscious’ from their lives.

  3. I agree with you. Sorry has lost its meaning in the true sense. It’s the most misused word ever. I find it very unacceptable that people do brazen things like steal content from other blogs and then simply brush the whole thing off with a simple sorry – and usually they don’t even mean it !

  4. Sorry is simply said as matter of fact ,mechanically .Then we commit bigger wrong & again say sorry & so on …nowadays we do not regret any commissions & omissions.A sad state of affairs, in this age of the internet.

  5. And then there are those who are so contrite that they cannot utter sorry thinking it doesn’t make a difference anyway and that Sorry is just another word. Sorry truly has lost its meaning. It is difficult to actually admit your mistake and accept the repercussions of it in reality. How easy though it is, if one were to just use the word without meaning it. The apology is made formally and when one says a sorry, the other party is supposed to be the forgiving party and ‘getting on with life’. More than the word itself, the penitent actions matter more. If people don’t mean it they might as well not use it!

  6. @DrRoshan – Copying comments really takes the cake – in this case, the recipe!! Brazen is indeed the right word. Pablo is a badmaash! 😉

    @Smita – What made me fume recently was other bloggers trying to be so ‘understanding’ and ’empathetic’ – enabling behaviour if you ask me!!

  7. well said corinne – the word sorry has lost its essence and many a times the word is said without being actually meant. In that sense the context of the situation gets lost.

  8. It’s hard out there for everyone. I’ve had articles stolen from Ezine sites, blog posts copied and scraped, got a Goggle penanlty as some idiot blogger in minnesota copied all my posts and tried to claim ownership… and they do it because they think the internet is free.

    WE need to re-euducate the people that this is unacceptable, and sorry does not get them off the hook but make them feel better for their wrong doing.

  9. I completely agree to you here Corinne…sadly people seem to use sorry more frequently and don’t mean it at all. It hurts to see that callous attitude in people while doing serious things. It makes me feel as if you can get away with anything…even a murder with a simple sorry…if only it was that easy..

    Wish people could understand the pain their actions cause for which only a sorry is sadly not enough!

  10. Well Pablo is forgiven because he is so pure in his heart. But the other people who say sorry only because they have been caught or made to say so really are pathetic. And, I personally feel that people take the easy way out by saying sorry without actually feeling sorry. It is like we tell our kids, say sorry. And, when they do, all is meant to be forgotten. I wonder if the parent pays any attention to teaching the child why he/she must say sorry. I feel the same frustration with tears. Not necessarily, the one who cries is the victim.

  11. You are so right there Corinne!

    Sorry has lost it’s meaning and we do see people copying content left right and center and not feel guilty about doing so, because it’s not them feeling within or else they wouldn’t have done what they did. I get so many Google alerts about my content being copied too, and if they don’t listen with talks, I do tell them that their work would be reported to Google, which does make a difference sometimes to those who care.

    I guess it really makes no sense running after such people and wasting our time because there are so many of such kinds, and they never really realize things or do it on purpose. However, with time once they realize they would know the loss that they incur because if they are bloggers, they will be penalized by Google’s latest updates. So, sooner or later He has his own way of showing them the way.

    I guess dogs are any-day better that ways, just as I mentioned at your post about my pet. At least they have their own way of showing they are sorry and make up. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  12. It is absolutely true – Sorry has lost its meaning in today’s world – people use it at the drop of a hat – just to get out of a sticky situation, no matter where or when.

    At least its nice to know there are a few conscientious persons around, who by sharing their opinion on this blog hope create an awareness in the minds of people.

    And yes, animals, especially dogs are far more genuine in that they either love you or ‘bite’ you. 😀
    All the best.

  13. So well said Corinne….today, the word sorry has really has lost its meaning. We all act and behave to our convenience.

  14. So true Corinne. Some people have made the word sorry very cheap. It doesn’t mean anything anymore and it’s such a pity. More’s the pity when young people are taught to believe this because of the bad example of others.

  15. Hi Corinne

    I agree. The word ‘Sorry’ has lost its meaning in today’s world. Not just with regards to plagiarism but almost everything under the sun. Its like a sorry translates to ‘Now that I have said it, I deserve total impunity’ …

  16. You hit the nail right on the head with this post. The word sorry has lots its power I feel. People think that just using it without even meaning it is all O.K. This I believe is not only true in online world but the real world too. People will not take the efforts to show that after saying sorry they actually will actually take the efforts to not do the same thing again.

  17. You are right on with this, Corinne! Making a mistake or doing something wrong, i.e. plagiarism, is not about saying “sorry”, it’s about repentance. The seeming lack of conscience in those who deem the word “sorry” to be enough absolutely floors me. It’s as if they’ve done nothing wrong at all unless they get caught in the act which happened to these individuals. Even then? I don’t see anyone begging forgiveness and promising not to do this again.
    Sad, sad, sad . . .
    Blessings, my friend!

  18. Corinne, this is so insightful. It’s true some people just say the word to mean “leave me alone now.” Many people don’t know the process of true forgiveness or definitely of true repentance. You chose such a meaningful topic, you always do.

    I hope you consider that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. So, those who copy you, though dishonest, know your worth.

  19. That indeed is a sad state Corinne !! And I see it happening in real life too….just as Pablo walked away when you questioned him further, I see my girls do that sometimes !!! Its really a tip of the lip word which has no meaning, no feelings to correct oneself !!! Just say and be done with it kind !!! Sometimes, I tell them – “Do not use the word sorry…if you feel for it, show it in actions, by changing your ways”. I hope I’ve made an impact on those young minds !!!

  20. I didn’t know it was so easy to say sorry. We can’t get our 3 yr old daughter to tell a sorry. She is mighty proud to do that. Copying posts and saying sorry? Oh boy, something is seriously wrong with this world..the blogging world for sure. Corinne, may be you should have some settings in your browser where it does not let the visitor even highlight and copy something. But, people always find ways to do it though. btw, your Pablo is sweet..:)

  21. How right you are Corinne! This reminds me of the childish school girl taunt ” Sorry doesn’t make a dead man alive” we used to fling back in the face of an apology grudgingly given. People really do say sorry only to shut you up and actually believe that it is good enough.

  22. I think sorry is an easy word to say…but putting meaning behind your verbal utterance of “Sorry” is entirely something else. I think online “Sorry” has nothing to back it up unless an all out sincere effort is made to validate the sincerity of writing, “I”m sorry” online. For example, in the instances where someone plagiarized, they should have taken down the stolen content and published an apology citing the original author…now THAT is being sorry!

  23. So succinctly put and with such brevity, Corinne! In cases of plagiarism, sorry means nothing. It is the loss of your intellectual property and amounts to theft. Two of my posts had been ‘copyrighted’ by a commercial blog and was discovered by accident. My friends including you, Corinne helped get the blog shut down, remember? And they were like, ‘We have apologized, what more do you want?’ and even threatened to sue my friends. Chori aur seena zori!

  24. While reflecting on this post, I was reminded of two things: First, on plagiarism ~ Recently, one of our senators was accused of it, and he arrogantly replied that plagiarism is NOT a crime (which is true). However, it is a moral offense and to ‘own’ someone else’s works is a form of ‘stealing’.

    Second, is the gift of remorse. It’s a grace to have such feelings after doing something that is against one’s conscience or hurting somebody else. I reflected on this while teaching the kids on the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Who is more important when one says sorry? Are we aware of what we have done wrong? Do we know the consequences of our actions?

    I think examination of one’s conscience is necessary here inorder for our sorries to be more authentic.

  25. Very well written Corinne. Martha hit the nail on the head with her comment – the heartfelt emotion of repentance has been completely lost in the sorry of today.
    On a lighter note, Pablo is so cute.

  26. I’ve recently launched a page on Facebook, with a few of my original paintings,as an online exhibition of sorts. Managed to get a few likes too,and while I was browsing through the names of those who “liked” my page, my heart almost stopped at a very familiar photo. One of my paintings, blithely used as a cover photo without so much as a “May I” and no mention of my name. This was a friend of a friend , so I sent a very politely worded email to the effect that she had either mention where she got it from or take it down, also sent her a properly watermarked photo in case she’d like to use it. Lots of back and forth , smiley loaded(from her side) , “don’t know how I did it by mistake” messages later, my photo is still in her album, with my name as the artist mentioned, and the watermarked photo nowhere to be seen .

    A case of “sorry” elicited with a stick and no remorse shown, because I was lucky enough to be able to catch the culprit on time.

  27. Very interesting post! Yes, people take the word “sorry” too lightly. If you’re going to say the words, let it be heart felt or don’t bother. Sorry, this happened to you. I suppose this is a risk we take putting our work out there.

  28. You are bang on, Corinne! They say that it takes a strong person to say, sorry and that means that he/she is responsible for the action and regrets that. But now-a-days, this word is used at the drop of a hat and without any meaning or remorse!
    As for the plagiarism in the blog world which is becoming so common these days, I guess, the persons involved are not sorry for what they did but sorry for getting caught!

  29. Sorry is a very deep and honest word if it is said with true emotions. It . Realising one’s mistake and accepting it eliminates the burdon of doing and being wrong towards someone which is most wonderful thing..and it again beautifully purifies our soul and mind like a child..and makes us to see into our own eyes with great respect always..when you are really guilty you can say sorry very easily and it will magically make things right..

  30. I wish people knew that the true meaning of sorry just doesn’t lie in spilling out the 5 letter word but there is more to it. Well I really feel sorry for people who genuinely cannot accept and own up to their own mistakes. Great post!

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