Does sorry seem to be the hardest word? I ask in my guest post over at today.

sorry seems to be the hardest word

Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

No, this is not about Elton’s famous song.

Our boxer, Pablo, takes socks from the washing and leaves them lying in the sitting room. He knows what he’s doing is wrong. When my husband or I find the offending object, we call Pablo and say something like: “Who did this?” Pablo doesn’t make eye contact and looking very contrite, he puts one paw up to say he is sorry for what he has done. However, if we continue with our line of questioning, he turns around and walks away, as if to say: “I said I was sorry, now get on with your life.” The whole exercise is repeated a few weeks later.

So is this post about our dog? No. As much as I love Pablo, this is not entirely about him.

Pablo’s behaviour reminds me of the cases of plagiarism we’ve been seeing around the Indian blogosphere for the last few months. In June, a friend informed me that a certain woman blogger seemed to be copying my posts. Unfortunately, he was right. She had copied at least two of my posts word for word. When I shared this in a forum, a band of very determined women bloggers left comments on her blog to let her know that she had been outed. How did she respond? She wrote to me telling me that she was sorry but she didn’t know that she was doing something wrong. Besides, she said, how could she help it if she had exactly the same thoughts as I did?

A month later, a blogger who had been found copying posts and entering them for a competition, showed no remorse when she was found out. She brazenly thanked the owner of the original content for being her ‘inspiration’. When a group of us insisted that she take down the post, she said she was sorry, but how awful of us to accuse her of plagiarism. She all but accused us of not giving her a chance to defend herself. She also managed to get a few bloggers to say in her defence: “She said ‘Sorry’. Now let’s get on with our lives.”

This makes me conclude that ‘sorry’ doesn’t seem to be the hardest word any longer. No, it’s something you say to get people off your back. Once you say sorry then you are technically the aggrieved party. How can people then be so offensive as to ask you to make amends for your action?

All this while I thought that sorry meant: ‘I have hurt you and I take responsibility for my actions. How can I make amends?’ But no, I’m wrong. Sorry. Someone re-wrote the rules and didn’t inform me!