Dear Tiger, “I’m sorry’s” Only Please

We’re all familiar with the phrase, “Regrets Only,” on invitations: it’s the fast-track way party planners of sought-after events let us know that since it’s likely we’re coming, there’s no need for further action unless, in fact, we aren’t.

Perhaps this is the reason I find Tiger Woods’ use of the phrase, “I regret those transgressions with all of my heart,” so soulless—it distances him from genuine remorse.

What would I recommend instead? To me, “I am deeply sorry for my transgressions, and regret them with all my heart,” would have read as far more heartfelt. For starters, the use of “my” rather than “these” takes ownership for what’s occurred. And, as stated, earlier—thanks to its frequent use in a social context– “regret” feels like a sanitized version of “sorry.”

For whatever reason, however, “I’m sorry,” seems to be off the table when it comes to apologies of this kind. As I noted at the time, not once during the course of his sixteen minute and thirty-four second apology did John Edwards utter those magic words. Instead, he “made a mistake he is responsible for,” and informed us, “It is inadequate to say to the people who believed in me that I am sorry, and it is inadequate to say to the people I love that I am sorry.”

I guess I’m unclear on when “I’m sorry,” became inadequate. Did anyone you know get a call about it?

(Apparently Mr. Spitzer did, for although he stated that he, “acted in a way that violates his obligations to his family,” he did not, in fact, say he was sorry.

Now I understand there are people out there who feel I’m being too nitpicky about this—that I should look at the intention behind the words of the apology, and I do. But the fact is I find the accountability inherent in “I’m sorry,” a far more powerful choice, and I want those of you seeking the biggest WOW Factor to make the most powerful choice in any and every situation—regrettable or (hopefully) otherwise.

I look forward to your thoughts.



4 responses to “Dear Tiger, “I’m sorry’s” Only Please

  1. Frances:
    I agree. Why is “sorry” just so hard for people to say. Do they think that somehow they can escape accountability? We ( I mean I) just think your a bigger schmuck for not saying what needs to be said.
    Cheers! Great work on the WOW Factor I loved it!

  2. It has been bugging me….what is it that is inadequate in the statement of Tiger…

    You pinned it – the meaning behind it – is NOT substantiated by the, in my opinion still magic word…”sorry”.
    Hence the statement seems false…

    Thank you for clearing my head

  3. Great post Frances,

    My sense is that sorry, like so many words, lose their impact when they have used too often. The first (or 100th) celebrity to commit a “Tiger” would have made an impact by simply saying sorry. Since a simple sorry wont make an impact anymore they all seem to fall back to handlers and PR gurus that craft the “carefully worded statement” that says enough without saying much of anything. Less meat to the media lions,etc..

    Forgetting the question of exactly what he actually owes his fans and the public, I am not sure that there is anything that could be said that would be enough for the world that is now surrounding him.

    What he says to his wife in private and how he says it is really what matters most. In those moments, a truly honest “I’m sorry” still holds the power that it no longer does when delivered to the public.

  4. Famous hockey commentator Don Cherry in his autobiography said never, never, say ‘I am sorry’. it is a sign of weakness. not that i agree with him but it is definitely the trend

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