The problem with being British is we’re so sodding sorry all the time. A nation needlessly apologising for the most basic daily situations. And we don’t even mean it.
At the checkout in Tesco, you’re asked if you have a clubcard. After putting on a brief bit of theatre searching your wallet or purse for the clubcard you know you don’t have, you politely apologise to the person at the checkout.
Leaving the shop, someone asks if you have any change. Once again, you play out a dramatic checking of your pockets, which you already know are empty, only to then apologise to the individual.
Meanwhile someone walking down the street bumps straight into you. For one, you were stationary, entirely unable to bump into anything. They, however, were very un-stationary and looking in a direction diametrically opposite to where they were walking.
Do they apologise? Do they buggery. You do. And why? Who knows, get a scientist. The fact is, you do. And by dongi so, they now don’t have to apologise; after all, you’ve taken the blame.
You’d think we’re addicted to apologising. It’s national catnip.
Whenever you look, it’s rooted to every part of our day: at work, at home, on the phone. Wherever we are, we’ll be sorry for something.
What’s worse is we’re not even sorry. Not even once. When someone speaks too quietly, we even ask them to repeat themselves with an apology, “sorry, what did you say?” But you’re not sorry that this mumbling plonker doesn’t speak loud enough.
Let’s not forget the passive aggressive apology either. Because if there’s one thing the British do better than apologising, it’s passive-aggressive behaviour.
For example, imagine those times when someone’s misunderstood you. The problem is, it’s not that you’ve provided information in an unclear manner, it’s the simple fact that they’re too simple to comprehend it. Yet, here comes the sorry.
“My apologies, what I meant was…”
Inside, not one part of you is sorry. Not at all. You’re fuming and wondering why this simpleton can’t grasp a basic piece of information or task.
Whatever it takes, we need to break this ridiculous habit. Next time you catch yourself about to apologise for nothing at all – and it’s always for nothing at all – instead, just say a word. Any word. Cabbage. Hornpipe. Kuala Lumpur. See, words are easy. Say any of them.
It’d be better to come across as a little bit strange a needlessly apologetic relic of a very sorry Empire.