Sillier sides to culture

Today I came across one of the more stupid things about being alive? having friends? being British? I don’t know; who is it who has decreed that if someone says `I don’t fancy you` it must immeadaitely be followed by an apology. As though it was insulting everyone of your friends doesn’t want to bed you/ be in a relationship with you/ whatever.

Loving someone is not about bedding them, likeing someone is fine without the lust…why for the apology? Who said it was a bad thing????!! Strange things bug me at times. But that particular thing really does. Completely random people who you never even looked at in that `oh` way suddenly apologising; I’m sorry I don’t want to leap on you here and now but, theres no chemistry, theres no spark, you’re like my sister…

Its a totally bizarre thing. Is it British? Is it Western? Where did this need to apologise for a fact come from?

8 thoughts on “Sillier sides to culture

  1. boy are my ears red… I don’t know why people appologise. Its for just a conversational convention. I don’t even think about it as I say it, and for the most part I’m not even sorry. Platonic relationships have always been particularly difficult for me. I’m not good at them. I’m pretty akward at them most of the time. If it makes you feel better, I’m worst at platonic relationships with other men.

  2. I think, maybe, we began to say it to soften the blow….hoping our words would not be found offensive. I know I’ve said I didn’t fancy someone blunty before and they were hurt until I apologized….so I guess I’m in the same boat as you. On one hand I feel guilty…but on the other hand I am merely stating my opinion and answering the person truthfully.

    I’m not sure where that comes from though….maybe it’s just considered good manners and has been around ever since girls could reject marriage proposals? (yeah, that’s a stretch, but I’m a scientist. I like theories, even incorrect, left field ones)

  3. We live in fear of hurting other people’s feelings. Particularly in the western world, romantic love gets too much emphasis as being the only type of love worth having. There is still this over arching feeling that platonic love is just a sop, a second place, to romantic love.

    When you say you don’t love/fancy someone in a romantic way, but you love them just as friends – that person is culturally conditioned to feel that platonic love is a second best alternative, while the elusive romantic love remains out of their reach.

    Blame it on rom-coms. How many ‘but you’re just my friend’ scenes have we all seen which are heartachingly sad? That kind of feeling pervades into real life too.

    Hence – when we tell people that we don’t love/fancy them, there is the overwhelming need to apologise, to make it seem as though the fault is with us, and not them ("it’s not you, it’s me").

    An offer of platonic affection is not an adequate cushion. We have to apologise to futher soften the blow.

  4. Well yes obviously courtesy but my point was rather why is it impolite to tell someone that you are their friend. Why is it impolite to say I don’t fancy you. Its a bizarre assumption and I was wondering where it comes from. I guess it is cultural conditioning.

    Incidentally Nesuphyn, this entry was inspired by Mixed Bag rather than you.

  5. It’s what psychologists call a ‘face-saving action’.

    People either do it for themselves (e.g. telling someone the bus didn’t come when you get to work late), or for other people, as in this example.

    The idea of apologising after saying you don’t fancy someone is taking some of the blame away from them and putting it on yourself (even if you don’t feel it – that’s beside the point). The intention is to lighten the load of the rejection a bit.

    I’m a bit vague on face-saving theory – the lecturer was as dull as all shit.

    (See, there’s another example in the last sentence.)

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