Excuse Me, I’m Sorry

Excuse me, and I’m sorry have to be two of the most overworked phrases I hear when out and about around town. For example, I was walking towards a door yesterday and a Mother and her Teen Daughter where also approaching the door.

Of course the Mom, being a responsible Mom had taught her daughter manners. We arrived at the door an door almost together and the Teen Girl started to open the door and enter ahead of me. She remember her manners and stepped back saying, “I’m sorry”.

As I went to open the door the Teen stepped in front of it again as if to walk through. When the door opened she remembered her manners again and said, “Excuse me”. She then stepped back and we both allowed her Mother to go through the door first.

As we both meandered the aisles, I ran into the mom and daughter three more times. Three more times I heard the phrases, “I’m sorry, Excuse me”. After the third time, I thought that was a lot of sorry excuses jammed into ten or so minutes.

I know the young woman was trying to be polite, but it seems to me the words, Excuse me, and I’m Sorry are  a little more import an than words to be uttered in awkward social situations. Over use of these phrases to me is like the little boy who cried wolf. If your sorry and asking to be excused too many times in one day, when do those phrases carry any weight or meaning?

There seemed to be an excessive amount of I’m sorry, and excuse me’s this week as I found myself thinking about it as I brushed my teeth last night. Whatever happened to, Pardon me, after you, please go first, or some other kindly comment as it applies to the situation. Pardon me, is a lot more empowering and meaningful than excuse me.

Today I watched ‘Real Sports’, which is the only sports show I ever watch. They did a story about fan violence. A comment was made that 7,000 fans were removed form their seats and expelled from the stadium last year. Millions of fans attended the games however. All 350 NFL games, which works out to about 20 fans per game.

Twenty fans per game sounds like a real small number which it when the seating capacity of a stadium is tens of thousands of fans. What caught my ear was this was the number of fans asked to leave the stadium for bad behavior.

The segment on fan behavior added balance to my thinking about the over sorry, excused young woman. At her age, there is so much going on in her life as she is going through the transformation of child to adult. She has a lot of outside pressure on her, her Mom is probably not even aware of, let alone a complete stranger at a doorway, or being passed in the aisle.

After watching the clip on fan behavior and realizing how rude and inappropriate we have become as a society, I am happy the young woman is overly concerned with good manners even is she overuses the wrong phrases. One action producing an opposite reaction? Maybe.