Seeking term for this: "I'm sorry you feel that way"

Does anybody know if a term for this backhanded non-apology exists? Or what would be a good reply to this?

Note: if you’re going to debate that “I’m sorry you feel that way” is an acceptable apology in some contexts, go right ahead but do suggest a term for or reply to it at least.

Hmm, a good reply? Go fuck yourself. Unless, of course, you’re in a situation where that’s not appropriate. Like in the office. In that case, well, I don’t know what to tell you.

How about “you’re gonna be more than sorry in a minute” for a good reply?
In all seriousness though, I’m quite curious myself if there’s a term for that.

How 'bout “quel dommage”. Or from Barton Fink: “Weeping. Copious Tears.”

The person saying that is totally dismissing whatever you just said, so there probably isn’t much you can say in reply. I suppose you might come back w/,“And I’m sorry you don’t see my side of it!”, or some appropriate version of such.

I don’t know of a specific term for it, but if I had to give it a name, I’d call it an acknowledgement, since the person is simply acknowledging that he/she/it knows you’re not pleased. It’s certainly not an apology.

When someone says that to me my usual response is “you are not responsible for my feelings, only your actions”, but they have already dismissed your point of view by giving you that non-apology so all you are really accomplishing is getting the last word in.

I’ve always heard these types of “apologies” referred to as conditional apologies. For example, “I’m sorry if you thought that I was mean to you.” It takes all the blame off the “apologizer” and puts it on the person being apologized to. In my example, it’s implied that the person being apologized to should not have thought that the apologizer was being mean to them.

Your example: “I’m sorry you feel that way” is the same thing — it just has an implied “if” in there. Re-written: “I’m sorry IF you feel that way.”

But the implied if doesn’t generally make much sense - because by the time the situation has gotten that way, the person saying it knows pretty well how the other party feels.

I agree. These things are not apologies because they refuse to admit wrong. Nonetheless, I believe they are called conditional apologies.

I apologize if you didn’t understand my initial post. :stuck_out_tongue:

I think “the backhanded non-apology” sums it up pretty well, actually.

I’ll say it when someone complains about some action of mine that I don’t regret or feel sorry about – and I do it to acknowlege, not denigrate, what the other person is feeling. It means (at least when I say it), “I’m sorry you don’t like what I did, but I’m not sorry I did it.” For me, there’s not implicit “so fuck you” at the end of that sentence – though that might certainly be there in some cases.

What you put in quotes really sounds a lot more honest than the fake apology, at least you are coming right out and saying you don’t regret what you did, so why not just say that?

The last time I remember saying this was to a total stranger. I was sitting on the steps of the Met in NYC waiting for a friend. We’d agreed to meet near the middle section (the step area is very, very wide and there are a lot of people, so you need to agree on a general area or you’ll never find each other). It was dusk, and I was sitting next to one of the handrails, which have lights underneath them, because I was reading while I waited and otherwise it was too dark to do so. I was wearing a bright pink jacket (and thus was extremely visible) and I was on the “outside” of the handrail (and thus wasn’t as in the way as I could be), and there were multiple other handrails available (and thus I wasn’t blocking the only way out). More than 100 people had gone past me without a problem.

An older woman went by and said something nasty about me being in her way, I forget her exact phrasing, and I said “I’m sorry you feel that way.” IOW – I had chosen where I was sitting for a variety of reasons, and though I was sorry she was annoyed, I wasn’t sorry I was sitting there. It was a two-second exchange – and, come to think of it, there was a wee bit of a “fuck you too” vibe tacked on at the end there. :smiley:

It really depends why they said it. I have to say it’s a pretty good technique to use. No much to say in response.

If people say that in response to a criticism about their behavior, you could follow up.

“I hate that your always late”
“I’m sorry you feel that way”
“Well, do you think you can make an effort to be on time?”

That’s one thing. Sometimes you use it to acknowledge a persons feelings that you can’t do anything about.

Maybe a friend that you don’t want to get into an argument with, or get involved (and maybe you think they’re wrong).

“I feel like Sue never thinks about my feelings, did you notice that she asked Jane where she wanted to eat but she didn’t ask me? She does that all the time.”

“I’m sorry you feel that way.”
I’d say most people that use the phrase do so because they don’t agree with you but want to do it in a polite way and because they have no intention of stopping.

Message board-

Poster 1" I hate that you constantly post about blah blah, it’s boring."
Poster 2 “I’m sorry you feel that way.”
(translation- tough shit)

There’s always “the world’s smallest violin.”

I think you can use it as a perfect opening to ask for something from the person saying it. For example;
Person 1 - “When you’re late for our meetings, it makes us all late.”
Person 2 - “I’m sorry you feel that way.”
Person 1 - “Glad to hear it. Now, do you think you can work on being on time in the future?”

You know, just serve it right back to them. :smiley:

I was in a situation where a person was saying some pretty horrible and unacceptable things, but we were at a friend’s vernissage and I didn’t want to ruin it by getting into a fight, nor did I particularly want to spend more time talking with this individual longer than necessary. So I guillotined the conversation with, “Well, I’m sorry you feel that way, but it’s been nice talking with you,” exit.

I’ve heard this called an “unpology”.

and, come to think of it, there was a wee bit of a “fuck you too” vibe tacked on at the end there.
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Good grief Twix, I had you pictured as a gentlewoman. :wink: