NOVEMBER 22, 2012
Do we really mean it?

How does the song go: “Sorry seems to be the hardest word”? It’s totally not!

Is it really that hard to say? I remember as a youngster it was like pulling teeth to get me to apologize but now it seems like it’s the word “love” that people use because we believe we actually mean it.

I don’t spend much time with kids. But I have watched my share of Supernanny episodes and have spent time with my three rowdy nephews. “Sorry” is clearly just a word to throw out there when you want to carry on without facing the wrath of punishment.

It happened last week at my dad’s birthday party: the kids were running around and screaming and even though I told Nicholas not to touch my BlackBerry on the counter, what did he do?

Naturally my brother and sister-in-law attempted to give a stern lecture and force him to apologize but I saw right through the four-year-old’s mumbled words. That’s thanks to my education in communications, right? Or maybe it was just the unconvincingly way he somewhat whispered his remorse.

As livid as I was it actually made me laugh on the way home because I thought about my sincerity when I apologize as an adult and realized my mentality isn’t that much different.

OK, so maybe I jumped to a conclusion and screwed up and had to smooth things over by casually (but quickly) saying the S word since that is the mature thing to do. Did I mean it? No, it’s what was expected of me so I said it.

While I called Nicholas’s bluff I started wondering if people sense insincerity when I apologize for something. Is it like asking someone “how are you?” when we all know most people don’t care about the answer? The question is just a pleasantry or conversation starter or awkward-silence filler.

So after all this, I’m sorry if I wasted your time by making you read the column this week. I appreciate you hanging onto the story and letting me get to my point and I hope to see you again next week here in To the Point.
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Jeremy Bradley's weekly newspaper column To the Point on SpeakFree with JB
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