I have spent my life in two countries with a real developed culture of apologising. In Japan, apologising is used to keep harmony. To preserve the 'wa' so that people can live in peace.
I haven't really worked out apologising in New Zealand. I remember listening to the radio in the morning and this one particular morning, listeners were calling in to win some prizes. I think they had to answer some questions. One particular caller would always say sorry when she got the answer wrong and I vividly remember the announcers telling her not to say sorry.
Yesterday I had a situation where I said sorry but when I shouldn't have said it and I kind of regret it as the other person was entirely at fault but I was the one that said sorry and he didn't even say anything.
Let me take you through the scenario. I am moving out of my apartment. I gave them the one month notice and was told that they were sorry to see me go as I haven't really had any problems with the place and I have paid the rent on time every month and everything is fine. Anyway, in the rental contract it says that they reserve the right to show the apartment while I'm still there, which is fine but they could give me say 24 hours notice as opposed to the 90 minutes they gave me yesterday. I wasn't available to take the call and only could call them 30 minutes before the viewing was supposed to take place.
My apartment yesterday was very, very messy. I had my underwear on the floor. Rubbish everywhere. it was the proverbial pigsty. I hang up the phone under the impression that they weren't going to show the apartment. Another reason why I didn't want them to show it was in the morning I couldn't find the door key and had left the door unlocked. I knew the key was inside somewhere and I would find it when I got home.
Anyway, I get home at the early time of 7pm. Usually I get home closer to 10pm and guess what. The door was locked. Why? Well I'm sure that you have already worked out that they showed the place anyway and the landlord had locked the door behind him. Fortunately I still had a little battery left on my phone as I had also left my charger in the apartment too. I called the landlord and to his credit he was over to open the door quite quickly.
I said sorry to him about the room being messy. Why did I say sorry? I'm still paying for it. I still have the right to have my stuff there, why am I apologising? If they had given me some notice I would have happily cleaned up because I don't like living in a pigsty.
Apologise when you know that you have done something wrong, but don't apologise at the the drop of a hat. You may appear to be weak in the mind of the people you are talking too and they might even take advantage of you which is never desirable, believe me.