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Top 10 Responses to “I’m Sorry”

A helpful guide for an unhelpful phrase

No more worrying about if that response to an “I’m sorry” was sufficient!
Photo courtesy of Brett Jordan

Ever been told “I’m sorry” and felt like there wasn’t any appropriate response? Everyone’s been there. By apologizing, people that are being apologized to are put in a very tough spot, and so here’s how to get out of it: the top ten ways to respond to “I’m sorry.”

In order to prevent any confusion, all of these examples will be responses to the same hypothetical situation: Someone accidentally ran over Jerry’s dog, and in the excitement of the situation Jerry is apologizing out of instinct. 

1: “It’s okay. For most situations, a response to “I’m sorry” doesn’t need to be anything special. However, this response might give Jerry the impression that running over his dog was okay, which, depending on the dog, it probably wasn’t. 

2: “You’re good.” This will probably go over fine, might want to find a less casual response. 

3: “I accept your apology.” Straight to the point, and professional. But still… it’s not quite right, right? 

4: “No you’re not.” This is a nice nudge for Jerry to snap out of his delusions and realize he’s not the one at fault. It is a bit rude, though, and people don’t want to come off as hostile. 

5: “Please stop apologizing.” It’s not Jerry’s fault that someone ran over his dog, so he shouldn’t be saying he’s sorry. Jerry’s a smart guy, he should know this. 

6: “It’s in the past.” This one serves as both a response to Jerry’s apology and as encouragement for him to forget about this situation. Two birds with one stone. There’s still the possibility that he’ll hold a grudge, of course. 

7:  “You should be.” Nice. Now capitalize on Jerry’s apology by further cementing the idea that he’s at fault into his head. Finally getting somewhere. 

8: “You shouldn’t have put your dog there.” This way, it’s easy to encourage him to keep blaming himself and provide the stepping stones for him to develop his own long-term guilt about the situation. It can’t possibly get better than this, right?

9:” Jerry, what have you done?” This one requires you to get out of the car and force Jerry into the driver’s seat. Now, the person can convince him that he was the one who ran over the dog, and they can get away without any of the blame at all. 

10: “Jerry, that was my dog!” This one requires said person to drive home, get their own dog, bring it to Jerry’s house, put it down, and then follow the steps of number nine. If executed correctly, Jerry will believe that their dog is his dog and that his dog was their dog. Now they are not only free of the blame, but they are also free to make Jerry feel bad whenever they want for the rest of their life.

Finding the right response in a stressful situation can be tricky, so hopefully, this helped.

This is a selection from the March 24 issue. To view the full issue, visit:

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