If someone uses these 9 phrases during an apology, they’re not genuinely sorry

Isabella Chase by Isabella Chase | July 17, 2024, 10:46 am

Ever got an apology that just didn’t hit right? Felt like they said the words but didn’t mean it? We’ve all been there. And it leaves us scratching our heads, wondering: are they really sorry?

Well, we’re about to figure that out.

We’re diving into ten phrases that might give away a fake apology. This knowledge will make you a fake-apology detective in no time.

Let’s crack the code on insincere apologies.

1. “I’m sorry if…”

This is a classic one. When someone starts their apology with “I’m sorry if…”, they’re not really taking full responsibility for what they’ve done. It’s a clever way of shifting the blame, making it sound like you’re the one who misunderstood or overreacted.

A genuine apology stands firm and doesn’t hinge on the ‘if’ factor. The person should be sorry for what they did, not for how you reacted to it. So if you hear an “I’m sorry if…”, be wary – it may not be the sincere apology you were hoping for.

2. “I’m sorry but…”

Here’s another red flag. When someone says “I’m sorry, but…” they’re likely about to give you a reason to justify their actions. The word “but” negates everything said before it, effectively erasing the apology.

The truth is, when we’re genuinely sorry, we don’t make excuses. So, if you hear an “I’m sorry, but…” remember, it’s more of an excuse than a genuine apology.

3. “I’m sorry you feel that way”

This one is a personal pet peeve of mine. When I hear “I’m sorry you feel that way,” it feels like a cop-out. It suggests that the problem isn’t with what they did, but with how I’m feeling about it.

For instance, I remember when a friend canceled plans at the last minute. When I expressed my disappointment, she responded, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” Instead of acknowledging that her actions were inconsiderate, she made it about my feelings, as though they were the problem.

When someone is genuinely sorry, they’ll address their actions, not your feelings. So if you hear, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” be aware – it might not be the heartfelt apology you deserve.

4. “I was just…”

When someone starts their apology with “I was just…”, they’re trying to minimize their actions. It’s a way of saying, “I didn’t mean it like that” or “You’re making a big deal out of nothing.”

People who use more words when apologizing might be perceived as less sincere. The phrase “I was just…” typically leads to a lengthy explanation, which could make the apology seem less genuine.

So, if you hear “I was just…”, remember that it might be an attempt to downplay their actions rather than a genuine expression of remorse.

5. “I don’t remember doing that”

This phrase can be a real heartbreaker. When someone says “I don’t remember doing that,” it can feel like they’re dismissing your feelings or even gaslighting you. It’s as if they’re saying your hurt doesn’t matter because they don’t recall the incident.

Imagine being hurt by someone’s actions, only for them to forget about it entirely. It makes you feel insignificant and can reopen old wounds.

A genuine apology acknowledges the actions that caused hurt, regardless of whether they remember it or not. So if you hear “I don’t remember doing that,” remember, this might not be the sincere apology you need and deserve.

6. “I already said I’m sorry”

This one takes me back. I remember a time when a friend kept repeating a particular behavior that was hurtful. Each time, she would say, “I already said I’m sorry,” as if that was a free pass to do it again.

When someone uses this phrase, it feels like they’re impatient or annoyed at your need for a sincere apology. It’s as if saying sorry once should be enough, regardless of their continued hurtful actions.

Remember, a genuine apology comes with changed behavior. If someone keeps saying, “I already said I’m sorry,” without making any effort to change, it’s likely not a sincere apology.

7. “Can’t you take a joke?”

Alright, let’s get real here. This phrase is a sneaky one. Instead of apologizing, the person turns it around and makes it seem like you’re the one with the problem – you can’t take a joke.

This isn’t an apology. It’s a deflection. They’re basically saying, “I’m not wrong – you’re just too sensitive.”

When someone’s genuinely sorry, they don’t make you feel bad for being hurt by their actions. So if someone hits you with a “Can’t you take a joke?”, know that it’s not a real apology. It’s just them avoiding responsibility.

8. “I guess I’m just a bad person”

This one always gets me. It feels like they’re fishing for reassurance rather than offering a genuine apology. When someone says, “I guess I’m just a bad person,” it shifts the focus from their actions to their feelings.

I remember when a colleague messed up on a project and instead of apologizing, he said: “I guess I’m just not cut out for this.” This made me feel like I had to comfort him, even though he was the one who made the mistake.

Remember, a sincere apology focuses on the act, not the person’s character or feelings. If you hear this phrase, beware – it may not be the true apology you’re seeking.

9. “Let’s just move on”

And finally, we’ve got the classic “Let’s just move on.” This phrase is a sneaky way of avoiding an apology altogether. Instead of acknowledging their mistake and expressing remorse, they’re rushing you to get over it.

It’s as if they’re saying, “I don’t want to deal with this anymore.” It’s dismissive and shows a lack of respect for your feelings.

Remember, you deserve a genuine apology. If someone is trying to speed up the process with a “Let’s just move on,” it’s likely not a heartfelt apology.