Breaking Bad Habits: Maybe I’m Not Sorry

This is not a post about
This is not a post about “sorry not sorry,” but I wish people would stop with that one, too.

The other day, my husband commented that we didn’t have any milk for cereal.

I said, “Sorry.”

But was I really sorry? No. I simply wished that we had milk for the cereal that he wanted to eat. I apologized for not having any because I am normally the one who buys groceries. Therefore, I assumed blame for this fridge omission. However, Josh ALSO did not buy milk because he doesn’t go to the grocery store very often. We simply do not have milk because no one bought it.

I apologize constantly for things I am not sorry for.

Ditching out last minute on a friend’s birthday party? Sorry! Accidentally insulting a family member over dinner? I am so sorry. But how about this: when you notice someone is standing behind you at the grocery store, waiting to maneuver around you? Why do I say sorry then? Shouldn’t they have said excuse me? I’m not sorry. I would’ve moved earlier had you alerted me to your presence. No one was hurt. So why do I feel compelled to say, “Oh, I’m sorry!”

Nothing to apologize for, folks!

For the past six weeks, I’ve made an effort to notice when I say sorry and if I really mean it. I am horrified by the frequency in which it spews from my mouth. And even more so at how few times I mean it. Hardly ever!

Is this a midwestern thing?

I know it’s a small thing, but this is a bad habit I think needs breaking. Paying attention to how much I say it has helped, but I think saying the S word is so engrained in me that quitting is easier said than done. I was thinking of getting a human shock collar and zapping myself every time I say and don’t mean the S word, but that seems a little extreme.

Other strategies for breaking this kind of habit? Sorry, I need help! (just kidding, I am not sorry).

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PS Speaking of breaking unhealthy habits, remember how Jina quit drinking? That’s sounding pretty good to me right meow after spending a weekend in Madison, doing the exact opposite. Want to break your bad eating habits? Try the Whole30. Not easy, but definitely recommended.


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Comments (13)

  • Kyle Jeffrey Kranz 6 years ago Reply

    This is something I’ve been trying to do less of, apologize for silly things. It’s tough though, when I want to express regret, SORRY is the first thing that comes out! #sorrynotsorry

    molly mogren katt 6 years ago Reply

    I know! I can’t help but say it. I am trying so hard to stop.

  • Laura Otto-Salaj 6 years ago Reply

    This might be a Midwestern thing, saying sorry for things that have little to do with us or accepting an inordinate amount of responsibility – it’s rather an odd kind of verbal tic, but pretty common… However, I also understand wanting to show empathy and solidarity for people who are going through something difficult. So, our little family broke ourselves of this by using the following:
    Scott: "My day really sucked."
    Me: "Oh? I feel badly for you…" Empathy without responsibility. Alternative: "That’s unfortunate." (Just have to avoid using it sarcastically, or the meaning is all twisted. 🙂 )

    molly mogren katt 6 years ago Reply

    I very much dislike this verbal tic.

    I’m trying to sub in something that shows I care, but am not taking personal responsibility. I like "that’s unfortunate." Depending on the audience, I can do a "that sucks" or my personal favorite "ah, rats!"

  • Shash 6 years ago Reply

    Very Midwestern, also very Canadian. We aren’t sorry though, we’re just p passive -aggressive.

    molly mogren katt 6 years ago Reply

    We are that, too.

  • Jody 6 years ago Reply

    I say I’m sorry all the time too. Definitely Midwestern. If I wore a "human shock collar" I’d probably end up dead. 😄. I’m trying to be more aware and only say I’m sorry if I truly have something to be sorry for. Any tips on breaking this bad habit would be welcomed.

    molly mogren katt 6 years ago Reply

    I think just noticing is the first step. I said it again last night at the gym when we were putting away rowers and I took about 3 seconds longer than I wanted to, making other people have to wait.

    I was not sorry. Just slow. 🙂

  • Diane 6 years ago Reply

    My husband says sorry all the time, but it’s more of a Catholic guilt thing. Usually it is when I do something that he thinks he should have done (like I wash the dishes when I also cooked dinner). I asked him to say "thank you" instead as that acknowledges what I have done rather than putting the focus on his (often unnecessary) guilt.

    molly mogren katt 6 years ago Reply

    I TOTALLY do this too and I am not even a recovering Catholic! ugh.

  • Kyle 6 years ago Reply

    I’ve heard of people using a rubber band around their wrist and snapping it when they act upon a behavior they want to change… Just a thought though. There are likely some less physical means to an end to help reign in a behavior.

  • Lizzie 6 years ago Reply

    I read in an advice column years ago that "sorry" and "I apologize" are not the same thing. Basically, when you feel sympathy for someone, you say "I’m sorry." Kind of how at a funeral you might say "I’m sorry for your loss" even though the death wasn’t your fault. (We hope.) But when you wrong someone, you say "I apologize" to take personal accountability and express contrition. Ever since I read that, I have no problem saying "I’m sorry" all over the place, because I do feel badly for many things people are going through (and they’re not my fault). And I make sure to say "I apologize" (or "my apologies" if I feel like being a sissy) when I’ve wronged someone. It makes sense to me…maybe it’ll make sense to other people too.

    molly mogren katt 6 years ago Reply

    I love the distinction and yes, it does make me feel better. However, I think the habit I’m trying to break is saying sorry when I don’t feel sympathy… like when I’m staying at a hotel with friends and the room doesn’t have a bottle opener. Why would I apologize for that? No idea, but sometimes I say sorry! I’m weird.

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