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Why do British People Send So Many Sorry Cards?

It’s no secret that us Brits just love to apologise. Whether someone else has stood on your toe, or your friend just missed that bus they were running for, there’s a very high possibility that you are going to say sorry in these situations, even though neither of those things are your fault. So if you have ever even considered sending your mate one of the “Sorry I Fucked Your Friend”, “Sorry I Fucked Your Dad” or “Sorry I’m a Twat” rude sorry cards available on our cardshit.com website, then you might want to read ahead to find out why…

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If you find that your go-to reaction to almost any and all situations is to apologise or send a sorry card, then you might just suffer from what experts call ‘Sorry Syndrome’. ‘Sorry Syndrome’ comes from an ingrained lack of self-esteem (no matter how small), a need to please and a want to make yourself look as inoffensive as possible, and research has found that if you’re a woman you are much more likely to suffer from this syndrome than if you’re a man. Dr Susan Gaddis of ‘communicationsdoctor.com’ says “Women say, ‘I'm sorry’ much more than men because of our nurturing nature and our desire to make everyone happy." 

But does saying sorry really make that much of a difference in our daily lives? Surely, it’s just a nice thing to say to help everyone get along! A simple sorry card can’t do too much harm! Well Dr Gaddis says that it actually does impact how others treat us and that “Saying ‘I'm sorry’ too often, especially when we know that we've done the right thing, can be dangerous. When others see us taking a submissive role too often, they may think they can take advantage of us.”

For a lot of us, saying sorry is just what we do, and a Harvard Business School study has provided a possible explanation for why we all do it so much. The study involved an actor approaching strangers at a train station on a rainy day asking to borrow their phone. Half of the time the actor started the conversation with “I’m sorry about the rain” and the other half of the time, they just got straight to the point. It was found that 45% of the strangers offered their phone to the actor if they apologised for the rain first, while only 9% offered their phone when the actor just asked them outright. Therefore, this research found that apologising is used to build trust.

Columnist Jessica Bennett makes a good point when she writes: “Sorry is a crutch — a tyrannical lady-crutch. It’s a space filler, a hedge, a way to politely ask for something without offending, to appear “soft” while making a demand. Superfluous apologies represent a powerful and easy-to-use tool for social influence. Even in the absence of culpability, individuals can increase trust and liking by saying ‘I’m sorry’ – even if they are merely ‘sorry’ about the rain.”

Although it is good to build trust, it is also important that we are not putting ourselves down, or making ourselves appear submissive by apologising for things that we have absolutely no control over, and instead it is suggested that we replace the word “sorry” with “thank you” when trying to fill up a conversation. For example, instead of saying “sorry” when squeezing by people on a crowded train, you can say “thank you for making room” instead. So why not forget the sorry cards next time you feel like you’ve put someone out, and send your mate a “Thanks, You’re A Fucking Legend” rude thank you card instead.