Canadians overdo apologies …or do they?

I’m sorry….
“Americans do not say it,
the British do not mean it,
and the Canadians overdo it.
Joseph Brean
The National Post


One of the things I like about blogging at WordPress is that they also have a number of self-development possibilities in the form of writing challenges, blogging courses, etc.  The most recent challenge is to write about an Apology

Grey Line

I’m sorry… for a long Intro

… but stay with me, I’m going somewhere.

This week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau caused a real flap in the House of Commons: strong-arming a male member from the opposing ranks, dropping the F-bomb and in the process, inadvertently elbowing a female opposing member in the chest.

This is all very unCanadian. We expect much more genteel fare from our elected officials. What is very Canadian however is that, within only minutes, the Prime Minister stood to his feet and apologized “unreservedly” to the female member in question, and to any member of the house, “If  [they felt] they were impacted by [his] actions.”*

He would go on to apologize for this three times in 24hours. He’s so Canadian.


Concerning the opening quote, I’m sorry to begin with what some might consider sweeping stereotypes. There are, of course, Americans who do say it and Brits who do mean it. As a Canadian, I’m identifying with the third group and starting my post with an apology (what could possibly be more Canadian?).

In fact the “Canadian sorry” is apparently related to the “British sorry,” according to Ottawa Citizen writers Andrew Nguyen and Marie-Danielle Smith who say that we’ve “inherited the British sense of being somewhat self-effacing and apologetic.” This makes sense given our long history of connection to Britain.

A troubling side of the Canadian-British connection, though, is this (Sorry to burst your bubble fellow Canadians – there is a downside). Joseph Brean (opening quote) also highlights the following statement by Henry Hitchings from “Sorry!: The English and their Manners.”

“The readiness of the English to apologize for something they haven’t done is remarkable, and it is matched by an unwillingness to apologize for what they have done.”

Uh-oh. Have we inherited that as well?
I’m not sure that that aspect is simply limited to Brits or Americans or Canadians…

Here are my two apologies…


I’m sorry… for great expectations

Dear me,

I’m sorry for setting such high expectations.
It has caused you trouble, it really has.

In some areas of life you set the bar much higher for yourself than others set for you and it makes you crazy. You lose sleep over it at night. You get frustrated and imagine the disappointment that others must certainly feel when they think about you and the work you do. Imagine is an important word there. That then makes you shy away from those people… sure that they are upset with you for your shortcomings.

In other areas, you have set the bar very high for others and the grace that you daily need, you can be hesitant to extend. Sometimes they weren’t even aware of it… but sometimes they were and that too can put distance between you. Friendships have been permanently scarred because of this… some lost.

I wish I knew how you could rewire your brain so that, over time and with age, your expectations – of yourself and others – would be more reasonable and would not weigh so heavily on you. They rob you of joy and that’s not how the Lord intends you to live.

Let the Lord help you. He can.


I’m sorry… for not saying sorry

Dear you,

I’m sorry for my inability to apologize. How ironic is that?

For a while, I wouldn’t… plain and simple. I was right and didn’t need to.  Then they gave you reasons to feel right and me wrong and I just felt foolish. Dumb. Naive. Played.

Right? Wrong? Who knows? It’s all dates & times and I don’t expect to ever know. Only they know… and they’re not around.

Right? Wrong? What does it matter now? It’s in the past. Unfortunately, though, that past will forever impact everyday’s “present” … every yesterday’s “future.”

Still, I don’t feel safe enough to make myself vulnerable to you like that. Could it also be pride? Possibly partially. Either way, buckets of regret.

If “sorry” is related to “sorrow” (that relation is not always clear) then yes, I’m definitely sorry… but I can’t tell you.

Sorry for that,


I’m sorry… that’s all kind of heavy.

a bit terrified to be this transparent here


2 responses

  1. I like you and this post. I can relate with the imagining expectations others have on you… It’s rough… And also may be related to the over analyzing that comes from being introverted?
    Sorry if that doesn’t make any sense.

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