“I’m Sorry You Feel That Way” & 16 Other Non-Apologies

Someone hurt you and you want them to be adult enough to say they’re sorry and actually mean it. Instead, they hit you with the classic, “Sorry you feel that way.” Wait, what? This is not a legitimate apology — it’s the person telling you what you want to hear while completely avoiding taking responsibility for their actions. If you hear that sentence or any of the below from someone who’s wronged you, it’s clear they’re being insincere.

1. “Sorry you feel hurt.”

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They might be sorry that you’re upset, but they’re not owning up to the fact that it’s something they said or did that made you feel that way. They’re putting the responsibility squarely on your shoulders, so this is not a legit apology.

2. “Sorry you got offended.”

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This is another example of a non-apology that puts the blame on the other person. This one implies that you’re hypersensitive and that whatever they said or did wasn’t as ill-intentioned as you took it. They may even play it off as a “joke” that you just don’t have the sense of humor to appreciate.

3. “Sorry you took it in the wrong way.”

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If there was a real misunderstanding that caused conflict, the person who’s apologizing should be explaining that instead of making it seem like you’ve misinterpreted them. They obviously didn’t explain themselves clearly enough or you wouldn’t be in that predicament to begin with, right?

4. “I want to apologize.”

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If someone says they want to apologize but they don’t actually do so, then what are they really saying? Probably that they have no plans to say they’re sorry and they’re hoping you’ll just brush it under the carpet and forget about it, no doubt.

5. “I’m sorry if…”

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Someone who’s apologizing might say, “I’m sorry if I hurt you or was cruel with my words.” The problem with this type of apology is that there’s the word “if” in it. There isn’t a doubt about what they did! They just don’t want to see or admit it.

6. “I’m sorry, but…”

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Another fake apology is one that includes the word “but.” For example, “I’m sorry, but you took it wrong” or “I’m sorry, but that’s not what happened.” By using the word “but,” the person’s trying to justify themselves and they pretty much negate the apology that came before.

7. “I was only/just…”

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Another type of justification in a non-apology is if someone tries to explain away their behavior, like by saying, “I was only trying to explain myself” or “I was just impatient.” In other words, don’t hold them responsible for their wrongdoing because it wasn’t intentional (even though it probably was).

8. “Bad things happened.”

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By claiming that bad things happened to cause the conflict instead of owning up to the fact that they did bad the bad thing, they skirt responsibility and make it seem like there’s no one to blame. What was their part in all of it? That’s what they don’t want to acknowledge.

9. “We both did bad things.”

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Dragging the other person into the situation isn’t fair. It’s so insulting to be told that you did something bad when the other person should be apologizing to you! They might have a victim mentality or a superiority complex, so they won’t see what they’ve done. And even if you were partially responsible, their insistence on sharing the blame shows they’re not owning up to what they did.

10. “I’ve already apologized.”

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Sure, maybe they did lob a half-hearted “sorry” your way after screwing you over, but they’ve never given you a proper apology and you’d like one. However, they’re not actually remorseful about what they did, so they claim they’ve done their repenting already and basically imply that you just need to get over it.

11. “What do you want me to say?”

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Being defensive when you’re supposed to be saying sorry for hurting the other person isn’t fair. “What do you want me to say?” is just going to add more to the list of grievances you’ve caused. Um, here’s an idea: a genuine apology would be nice! Being so defensive is also shutting down talking about it.

12. “I regret…”

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Saying “I regret my actions” or “I regret what happened” isn’t a meaningful apology. It seems to create a distance between you and what you did. You might as well be making a politician’s speech ’cause there’s nothing personal in this approach. Even if they do regret it, it might just be because you’re on their case about it rather than because they’re sorry for hurting you or betraying your trust.

13. “You know I’m sorry.”

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People who love giving non-apologies might try to prey on how you feel about them. They might say, “You know I’m sorry because you know I’m a good person” or similar. What, so you’re supposed to read their mind and they should never apologize since you’ll telepathically get the message?

14. “Sorry, okay?”

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If you’ve asked someone to apologize so you can move past the relationship issue, they might surprise you by saying, “Sorry, okay?” Wow. Clearly, they’re not sorry! They’re defensive because you’re sharing how you feel and they don’t want to own up to their mistakes.

15. “Fine, I’m sorry.”

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Another insulting non-apology. It’s like they’re being forced to apologize and they just want to get it over with. It can make you madder instead of feeling forgiving of the person. Sorry, but you’re not going to get a real apology from them.

16. “Let’s both apologize.”

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Oops, this one is a button-pusher. You’re expecting an apology from the other person, but they want you to apologize to them. It’s almost like they’re saying, “Let’s both apologize for the greater good of the relationship.” Um, no. If you want to apologize, go ahead, but they shouldn’t try to make this a team activity they can hide behind. Not cool!

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Sinitta Weston grew up in Edinburgh but moved to Sydney, Australia to for college and never came back. She works as a chemical engineer during the day and at night, she writes articles about love and relationships. She's her friends' go-to for dating advice (though she struggles to take the same advice herself). Her INFJ personality makes her extra sensitive to others' feelings and this allows her to help people through tough times with ease. Hopefully, her articles can do that for you.