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  1. #1
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Default "Sorry." "It's not your fault!"

    Not really an "NF" topic, but I wasn't sure where to put this and figured I'd get good responses here.

    When someone tells me that...they have a serious illness; a good friend just died tragically; their marriage is ending; etc, my tendency is to look at them bug-eyed and say "I'M SO SORRY." (And I mean it, too, especially if I'm close to them.)

    What surprises me is that quite often, the person will look at me slightly surprised and say "It's not your fault!" or even "It's fine!". This always surprises me in return. Almost as though I said something inappropriate, or they just totally weren't expecting that. And to me it's completely the natural thing to say.

    Would any of you react like that - or do you think it's an odd reaction? Or do you think it's a cultural thing? I live in England and I can't remember if anyone in Canada or Ireland reacted like that. Then again, living in England I can think of at least English and South African people who have both reacted like that...

    I wonder if they might react like that because I look sincerely moved when I say it? But it's not like I burst into tears! I know though that some people are a bit uncomfortable about any display of emotion, so maybe they feel uncomfortable either that they might be exposing themselves, or that I feel so sorry about the situation. But my reaction if I told someone bad news and they said "I'm sorry" would just be "thank you."

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  2. #2
    Habitual Fi LineStepper JocktheMotie's Avatar
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    Default

    Here you go.




  3. #3
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JocktheMotie View Post
    Here you go.

    Yeah!

    I guess I could start saying "Damn. That sucks." It just doesn't seem quite right a lot of the time.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    When you say "I'm sorry." It implies that they should feel sad about something that they don't feel sad about. It brings up negative feelings so they reject that interpretation of the event. They don't identify it as negative because they see it as something that they have the power to change so it is not a big deal, that can be useful/has or will help them grow, or because they believe it is unchangeable and it does not help them to focus on it.
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  5. #5
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UniqueMixture View Post
    When you say "I'm sorry." It implies that they should feel sad about something that they don't feel sad about. It brings up negative feelings so they reject that interpretation of the event. They don't identify it as negative because they see it as something that they have the power to change so it is not a big deal, that can be useful/has or will help them grow, or because they believe it is unchangeable and it does not help them to focus on it.
    But that assumes that they don't feel sad about the end of their marriage, the death of their friend, etc. In fact, the way they'd described these things to me, they felt very sad about them. It would be odd if they DIDN'T feel sad about these things.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member INTP's Avatar
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    "Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling."
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  7. #7
    Habitual Fi LineStepper JocktheMotie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    But that assumes that they don't feel sad about the end of their marriage, the death of their friend, etc. In fact, the way they'd described these things to me, they felt very sad about them. It would be odd if they DIDN'T feel sad about these things.
    This is why I never tell people things. Everyone feels the need to interpret my emotional stance and manage it for me. Or at least, that's how it appears. Why can't I just exchange data without all the crap.



  8. #8
    Kraken down on piracy Lux's Avatar
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    I get what you're saying and I think it's natural to say, "I'm so sorry." I have had people have the same reaction to that statement as you and I think it's because they're not prepared to react to your reaction. As in, they want to say / have some bad news about themselves and need / want to tell you, but are uncomfortable with the aftermath of pity. So they make a joke sort of, "It's not your fault." to deflect the immediate uncomfortable feelings that arise. I think that response is mainly because people need to share events in their lives but rarely do they want actual pity, but they feel better when they know you care, so it's an awkward situation on both sides.
    "It is not length of life, but depth of life." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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  9. #9
    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    @SilkRoad: It's hard to talk about these things in abstract as it depends on the persons involved, but odd as it may sound this is often the case ime. Sometimes the end of a bad marriage is a good thing. Sometimes the way someone copes with death is by celebrating the life of the person they loved. Sometimes they're so sad they don't realize they're sad. Whatever the case, sometimes you can be there for the other person best not by expressing sympathy, but my empathizing with the way they feel.
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  10. #10
    Was E.laur Laurie's Avatar
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    I'm awful with this stuff.

    I said "that sucks" to someone once. And they said "yes it does"

    I use that a lot now.

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