American culture is all apologies

Justin Yearwood

“I’m sorry” is as common as an underachieving Sooner athletic team that falls short of reaching its potential.

If you aren’t keeping up with the blatant Oklahoma State ego-boosters, my point is simple, apologies are meaningless 99 percent of the time.

In our society, we assume that by apologizing we are expressing sorrow for our mistakes and quickly fixing our problems.

In reality, it just seems to be a predecessor for an excuse in our culture.

Case in point: Alex Rodriguez – once the poster boy for a pure and steroid-free baseball.

A prompt “apology” followed the public accusations that A-Rod used banned substances.

He claims to be sorry for his actions, but the truth is he is only sorry he got caught. The mistake happened years ago, but the major leaguer still slept at night, played the game and cashed his checks every week.

It is a funny coincidence that he is sorry after he got caught.

As quickly as he made an apology, he began rattling off excuses for his actions in a subliminal attempt at justifying it either to himself or his fans.

Don’t worry; this isn’t some rant about the future of America’s pastime, because Rodriguez isn’t the only one guilty of an insincere apology. We are all to blame for the clichéd status that the apology has achieved in our culture.

If anything, the apology has become nothing more than a natural reaction for when we make a mistake, as second nature as squinting at a bright light.

We are quick to instantly apologize, almost no matter the occasion.

Whether it is spilling a drink on a stranger at a social gathering or getting caught by your girlfriend between the sheets with some blonde on spring break, it’s the natural reply.

Even if some actual remorse for the mistake exists, the gesture is typically geared towards the fact that we got caught.

Honestly, we all know that if we don’t get caught, then we are most likely not going to apologize. Celebrity or not, it’s funny how most apologies seem to surface after evidence of wrongdoing.

The apology has become an act that we feel more obliged to do as a courtesy more than something we need to do because we think it is the right thing to do.

One of the biggest problems with “I am sorry” is that it has become so universal.

I am sorry I bumped into you. I am sorry I didn’t text you back. I am sorry I was drunk when I wrecked the car.

Maybe it is just me, but one phrase shouldn’t be so interchangeable. Through its overuse, we have become too comfortable with it as a safe expression or a cover-up of our emotions.

I bet there was a time when it meant something to apologize – but not anymore. Too often we just apologize for something, then make the same mistake again.

The solution is to stop carelessly throwing around phrases like “I am sorry” and “I apologize” and show remorse by changing.

Instead of quickly blurting out some ordinary variation of the modern apology, do something to show it. Maybe then it will get its meaning back.

This story was originally published on March 2 by Oklahoma State University’s Daily O’Collegian. Content was made available by