How Often Do You Say “I’m Sorry?”

My husband sent me this interesting article from the Wall Street Journal about apologizing that made me chuckle because my teenage daughter often tells him what a hard time he has saying “I’m sorry” to her. The article describes new studies that found it’s particularly difficult for us to apologize to people we love. According to Canadian psychologists, people apologize about four times a week,  but they offer up these apologies much more often to strangers (22% of the time) than to romantic partners (11%) or family members (7%). Friends get the most apologizes (46%).

Of course, when it really matters, it can be hard to admit you did something that you shouldn’t have. I’ve always marveled at how painful it’s been—tantrum-provoking, in fact—for both of my daughters to say “I’m sorry” in certain situations. The truth is that some husbands (and wives) probably apologize a lot and others don’t apologize enough. There was a great line in a recent episode of the TV show “Parenthood,” in which the experienced dad older brother advises his new-dad younger brother to apologize: “It’s just what men do. We apologize. I say three I’m sorrys before I get out of bed in the morning.”

Certainly, love doesn’t mean never having to say you’re sorry. I like to think that I’m more likely to accept blame and apologize than my husband is, but when we disagree and I’m convinced I’m right, it’s tough for me too. The recent research found that women do say “I’m sorry” more than men, but men are just as willing as women to apologize if they think they’ve done something wrong. Men may just have a different idea of what defines “something wrong.”

Tell us what it’s like in your home!

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  1. by Chrystal Wallace

    On October 20, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    I am ashamed to admit this but we have a hard time saying “I’m Sorry” in my household or even admitting that we were wrong for that matter.

  2. by Chris R.

    On October 21, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    It’s hard in our household too! But saying I’m sorry to those we love is important to keeping the balance of respect & honesty alive in a healthy relationship. And that’s honesty & respect for ourselves too! ;) We should always try to treat complete strangers with kindness, but for those we love- we should remember to give them everything we’ve got- not the worst of us- but the very best. After all, our kids learn from us & they’re taking cues every single minute of every day.

  3. by Alfiya

    On October 21, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    We rarely say “I’m sorry” at my parent’s or my in-law’s house, but my husband and I try to use it often at home, so that our toddler learns saying it. We are really trying hard to teach him all the good things to make him a well-mannered peron.

  4. by Laurie

    On October 22, 2010 at 9:57 am

    When I was younger, I said I was sorry all the time, because I felt sorry about everything, even things I should not have been! So in my adult years I use the words sparingly: when it is needed and heartfelt. I do say I am sorry to my boys when I have done something that warrants it (I wish I was a perfect parent all the time, but we all know that doesn’t happen!). I try to teach my boys to say “I’m sorry” when they accidently or intentially hurt someone. I think it is important for them to know the difference.

  5. by Jennifer

    On October 22, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    I say I’m sorry quite often. Particularly when my 13 month old is trying to tell me something and I say “I’m sorry honey, mommy doesn’t understand”! If I could only interpret his language, I’d be all set!

  6. by Jennifer

    On October 22, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    I say I’m sorry a lot. Particularly when my 13 month old is trying to tell me something and I say “I’m sorry honey, mommy doesn’t understand”! If I could only interpret his language, I’d be all set!