Story of a lost journalist

August 1, 2008

Thank You and Sorry – Good or Bad?

Filed under: My Musing Moments,Theory — Cris @ 22:11
Tags: , ,

Thank-you and Sorry (T & S for short). An acquaintance has been showing increasing aversion to these two words for a long time and told me he was going to blog about it. He has mentioned a smaller version of this in his blog today. And I am too impatient to wait for the big one. So I decided to think and write my ideas about it.

As a kid I guess things were more or less straightforward. So if you got a chocolate, it meant one line of action, namely immediate-consumption. So an elder present in the neighborhood had to do the stare-first-and-kick-next to pass a gentle reminder you were forgetting to say thank you.

Growing up I decided T & S were no longer qualified to be in your friends’ vocabulary. They decided the same for you. So these words just disappeared from the English language except when it was a tough stranger you had to ask a favor of (and especially when he looked like he could send you flying to Egypt if you forgot). Those were fine times and my friend KS made a habit of quoting some funny line from a Hindi movie. Sharukh Khan line. Let me search. Ah here -> “Bade Bade desho main choti choti baatein hoti rehti hai”

But growing up and decision making didn’t stop there (will it ever?). So thoughtful brain cells dug up these 2 words from the buried-list portion of the memory. New discovery was that there were moments you felt inexpressible gratitude and expressing it was as important as emm, err, well, let’s just say it was a very important thing. Same way, you felt inexpressible regret or guilt or whatever it is that calls for sorry. The problem now was you actually meant it when you said it now; it was not a signature at the end of every conversation and favor done (the starers and kickers gave up at age 14). But getting the idea across was difficult. Cause you were the president of the ban-politeness-formalities a little while ago.

So then you look for alternatives. “Wow this is nice” – translates to thank you. More thank-you-substitutes are “Wow I didn’t expect this at all” or a big fat smile. And when you are sorry, you say “Oh gee that is not good” or repeated “I messed up there”. Problem with all these substitutes are they are made up. You mean you are really so very happy and pleased at the favor, which in 2 words used to be thank you, historically. Or you mean you feel really bad at the mistake or trouble you have caused; ‘sorry’ for ancestors.

They just didn’t do. So I got back to my T & S. I took them up affectionately. Probably how Newton took those apples in his hands all those ages ago and happily called out “Gravity!”. And my T & S were reformed. I didn’t say them when I didn’t mean it – oh but it somehow crept into my signature in most official emails as part of my ex-job and still remains a habit. But the problem was few people like my acquaintance has not had another growing up and decision making phase after the ban stage. So my meaningful words are either eyed with disgust or thrown away to the nearest dustbin. Sigh. I don’t know if there is going to be a change-over and I would go back to Sharukh-Khan’s ideals of big cities and stuff. Till then I am living a sad, misunderstood, helpless life. Probably with a few other whiners. Hmm should make a club of whiners who thank and apologize (The WTA).



  1. Never liked them starers and kickers. And worse, the staring part of staring-and-kicking is becoming more unpopular. Which means you are left with kicking-and-more-kicking.

    Comment by funnywriter — August 1, 2008 @ 22:33 | Reply

  2. Hey Wally,

    Trouble starts when you go abroad to a country where not saying Thanks/Sorry is deemed impolite. As most Indians who’ve lived in the States would tell you, at some point, some American would have told them how Indians are rude and typically one supposed evidence of this is in our general reluctance to say “Thanks” because we think it’s an excessive formality and “Sorry” because we lack the guts to admit we were wrong. I guess it’s a cultural thing though.

    So “Thanks” for writing this blog Wally, and I am “Sorry” I thanked you just now. *grin*

    Comment by Nish — August 1, 2008 @ 23:35 | Reply

  3. I end up saying Sorry 100 times to ppl who are close to me…. And i am such a sweet person 😀 I haven’t got many instances to say sorry to strangers. I am more well behaved with strangers i guess 😉
    With Thank you … its just the opposite. I don’t say Thank you to friends. Somehow i feel it is kinda formal.

    Comment by rose — August 1, 2008 @ 23:55 | Reply

  4. ^^I am the opposite kind
    🙂 Saying thanks or giving a thanks_nod is what i do most in a day. So by Nish bro’s definition , I am extremely polite! But I am not used to saying sorry unless i step on to some one . May be i am a perfect no-mistake guy or i am reluctant to admit my mistakes!

    Comment by Srijith — August 2, 2008 @ 09:09 | Reply

  5. @funnywriter, hehe

    @Nish, well-said. Now that you say it, yes, sorry is a little rare. But then some people have this annoying habit of saying it every so often you dont feel anyone ever means it anymore. I have noticed that some people get more irked when you say sorry than before. And LOL, loved the last line.

    @rose, be careful with the 1000 sorrys. Like I said now, some people get more offended, cause when its a word you use so often people feel you dont really mean it. I am a sucker for that word though. Someone tells me that and I am like a father who welcomes a run-away kid!

    @Srijith, my theory is that the first step of growing up or maturity is when you admit your own mistake. Hmm bro, to put it bluntly, you are a baby!

    Comment by Cris — August 2, 2008 @ 21:24 | Reply

  6. Nope!! I aint a baby!! I am a perfect-no-mistake guy!!

    Comment by Srijith — August 2, 2008 @ 21:54 | Reply

  7. @Cris – I think I owe some clarifications now that you picked up the thread and branded me as a somebody who got stuck at the ban-stage. I will still get to writing my long post sometime (don’t know when though).

    I have a small correction. I am only a member of the ban T gang. Regarding sorry, my policy is that you apologize only when you have made a mistake, and that you are sure of your mistake, and irrespective of whom your mistake affected. If you apologize when the mistake is not yours, you would be acknowledging that the mistake was yours which wouldn’t be true.

    My policy applies only for receipt of “Thanks” and does not apply to giving it. I say “Thanks” wherever people expect me to say it even if they were doing only things they were expected to do. With my close friends with whom I have shared my policy I don’t say thanks when they do something which I would have done for them. Yes it is kind of rough and harsh – I agree.

    Comment by Minking Than — August 2, 2008 @ 22:22 | Reply

  8. @Srijith, now I have proof 😀

    @Minking Than, hmm so you have half grown out of the ban stage. And there really isnt any big deal about this – people have their policies and rules they like to follow. So if you feel like saying thank you, you say it or else you dont. Over. Its entirely upto the others about feeling offended for getting/not getting one of these.. You dont have any control over there.

    Comment by Cris — August 2, 2008 @ 22:51 | Reply

  9. 😛 Nope.. I wont agree!! 😀

    Comment by Srijith — August 2, 2008 @ 22:58 | Reply

  10. well you may count me in WTA too!!
    the thing with me is, I sometimes end up saying things like ‘Thanks for calling’ to very very close friends since more than a decade or so!
    and they seriously seriously feel like hitting me for that, n then I end up saying ‘oh sorry sorry.. i know i wasn’t supposed to say that, but i meant that, you know! :D’

    Comment by usha — August 3, 2008 @ 11:11 | Reply

  11. hmm..its pretty uncomplicated..Use it where it deserves..Use it if it makes someone happy!! Thats one thing I have learned over the past 2 years..We dont thank people for little things they do to us..Even the bus driver!! He might be paid by the govt, but as far as I am concerned he is doing a service for me and he deserves a thanks..

    Comment by mathew — August 3, 2008 @ 12:29 | Reply

  12. yeah prolly you are right there .. but when i said 100 ..i was just exaggerating n now u made it 1000!!

    Comment by rose — August 4, 2008 @ 10:24 | Reply

  13. Thanks and Sorry should be used when and as needed to people whom who u think deserve them truly…overdoing it is a bit annoying for me….
    But in Singy if you forget to use it, you may get a stare back as ppl find it insulting…

    Comment by sajith — August 4, 2008 @ 20:45 | Reply

  14. @Srijith, hehe

    @usha, lol you are the extreme. I offer you the president’s seat in the WTA!

    @mathew, true. Salespersons at shops, or a direction-giver on the streets, are mostly forgotten or taken for granted for the little help they do. And a thanks can sometimes do wonders in turning their faces happy.

    @rose, LOL!!!

    @sajith, dont worry about the insults cause I am positive you wont ever forget to thank or apologise to someone!! You are already in the WTA!!!

    Comment by Cris — August 6, 2008 @ 22:21 | Reply

  15. Now, when I use T & S intentionally, I might consider including a link to this post. 🙂

    Me has got the opinion of Cris, in general and supports @Nish in that context.

    Comment by Aravind — August 12, 2008 @ 22:29 | Reply

  16. @Aravind, thanks! Links are great! Thanks for visiting my blog 🙂

    Comment by Cris — August 15, 2008 @ 22:59 | Reply

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