I have a dilemma and I’m hoping that you, my wonderful blog readers, can help me out.
Typically when someone says “I’m sorry”, the automatic response is “That’s ok!”. Try think back: when someone bumps in to you at the store or you have a long wait at a restaurant and they say, “Oh I’m so sorry”, we (or at least I do) say, “Oh that’s ok!” without even thinking about it. It’s just a knee-jerk response.
But what about when it ISN’T ok? Like when a waiter apologizes for not refilling your drink but you’ve watched him as he’s been sitting at the table behind you and flirting with the girls there for a long time instead of doing his job (i.e. getting your drink)? Or when the person who cuts fabric at Walmart is off talking to her friends in another department and you have to wait for 15 minutes until the people from the automotive department finally get her to notice you?
Obviously if someone is apologizing for bumping in to you or for something they have no control over (i.e. the long wait at a restaurant) but that they know was inconvenient, then I want to acknowledge their apology and let them know that it is fine. But when people fail to do their job and offer a quick “I’m sorry”, what is the correct response?
Because I’m so pre-programmed to do so, I usually just say “That’s ok”. But recently I’ve decided I’m tired of telling people that it’s ok when it actually isn’t. I don’t want to be rude or a jerk, but I want them to know that their actions were not acceptable? I’m not sure what to say so the last few times this has happened and they’ve said “I’m sorry”, I haven’t said anything at all. I’m not telling them it’s ok, but I can’t figure out what else to say to them. It makes for an uncomfortable silence, though.
“I forgive you” is much to pretentious.
“Thank you” seems a little awkward.
“Thank you for apologizing” might work. Acknowledging their apology but not letting them off the hook, perhaps?
I don’t know, maybe I’m just over thinking things, but this has happened several times recently and I just don’t feel like I have a good response.
(Let me clarify that I’m not talking about someone who comes to you and sincerely apologizes for a wrong that has been done and asks for forgiveness, I’m talking about those quick interactions you have at work or out in public with strangers)
So your turn to help me out:
Do you do the automatic “It’s ok” response, too, or is that just me?
What would be an appropriate, kind, Christian response to the generic “I’m sorry”?