Do Canadians Apologize Too Much?

It has become as much of a joke about Canadians as the amount of times that we say “Eh?” Yes, most Canadians are incredibly polite. We are also much more likely to say “Sorry” than our American counterparts. It hardly seems like something to get upset about, but some people are actually now wondering whether Canadians are too passive their our own good.

Think about how many times you would say sorry during the course of the day. Noticed that we cut someone off? Sorry. Interrupted someone else when they were talking to a coworker? Sorry. Bumped into someone while walking towards the elevator? Sorry. Needed to talk to someone who appeared to be busy at their work? Sorry. Reached in front of someone to grab a paper towel in the bathroom? Sorry. Showed up 30 seconds late for a meeting? Sorry.

These may all seem like trivial things, but you can probably understand how they would add up over the course of a typical day. However, would not this just be showing basic politeness towards our fellow human beings? It would seem so, but some view that as a sign of weakness, oddly enough. Some have speculated that this tendency comes from our history as a British colony, the English being resolutely polite people (at least in theory).

Another supposition is that people sometimes say sorry as a way of avoiding potential conflict. Admitting guilt sometimes, even when you are not really guilty, might be seen as preferable to actually getting into an argument and having to deal with the repercussions. Some women have started they did this out of fear of physical violence.

What is your take on this? Do you think you say sorry too often or do you feel that, as a society, we do not actually say sorry enough?