Why Koreans don’t seem to like when you say sorry?
My Korean friend gets defensive when I say sorry and never says sorry himself. He tries to make things right when we had a falling out and never said sorry and when I did or would before the falling out, he would say don’t say sorry, I don’t want you to say sorry anymore. Then I notice he never says sorry himself but will say he is wrong etc…
Good day. I live in Korea all my life and I saw many different people. Some are like your friend, some are totally different.
“I’m sorry” in Korean is 죄송합니다, 미안합니다, 미안해요, 미안해, 미안 from most polite and most formal to least polite and casual. “I’m sorry” doesn’t have some special meaning in Korea (except these words can’t be used to say I feel sorry for you).
Otherwise, it is like everywhere else. That is just your friend’s personality and doesn’t have something to do with being Korean.
If he goes to army he will learn to say sorry, if he already finished then there is no hope^^
What do you think, readers? Do Korean people you know dislike hearing “I’m sorry”?
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11 thoughts on “[Q&A] Why Koreans don’t like when you say sorry?”
My Korean boyfriend loves hearing me say “I’m sorry” whenever we get into an argument. Haha!
But joking aside, I think it’s just a personality thing, or just a your-friend-kind-of-thing because I think most people are willing to apologize if they’re wrong and most people are willing to accept apologies if they are wronged. :)
I agree. It must be a personality thing.
Kimchi Man says “I’m sorry” when he really means it and so do I.
I saw in a Korean drama (사랑비) “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” The couple didn’t like it when one of them said sorry.. so maybe.. I don’t know. But if it’s for doing something wrong to someone else, for example bumping into someone while walk, Koreans are quick to say they’re sorry.
I didn’t see that drama, but they probably either meant “No need to apologize” or that if you love someone you will never do anything bad to them and thus have no reason to say you’re sorry. It doesn’t have anything to do with the act of apologizing.
The line “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” is a line from the novel and 1970 film Love Story starring Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal. I notice Korean dramas like to use phrases from Hollywood movies. As I recall, the point of that movie was that if you loved someone enough, they would never have to apologize to you because you would understand them and automatically forgive, or maybe your understanding was so deep that you’d never be offended in the first place, so no forgiveness necessary?
Anyway, I notice in the Korean dramas I watch that they say they are sorry a LOT!
Thank you for the information. I knew I heard that line before but I had no idea it was from a movie.
I really don’t think that someone would dislike being said sorry to if there is a good reason. It makes us feel appreciated.
ohh..my korean bf also don’t like to hear me whenever i say “sorry” to him..I was wondering and always ask him why..but he never answer.. I just read your comment now and I’m thinking it might be the reason.. I think this line “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” means a lot to him..hehehe.. ^_^
No, they aren’t! They usually don’t say anything. Very rarely do the apologize!
I don’t think my friend from Korea really likes it when I say “I’m sorry”, but the situation is different, and I kind of understand why.
In terms of if someone did someone wrong (i.e., hurting the other person’s feelings), then it’s right to say “I’m sorry” if you really are sorry, but some people have too much pride or it’s really difficult to say these kind of words because 1) you’re either admitting that you are wrong, and do not want to admit that you are wrong or 2) saying sorry will bring back the topic once again… and if one or both of the parities involved are the type to let an argument dissipate, then sorry is something that is difficult to say.
In other senses though, in English “I’m sorry” can carry the connotation of giving one’s condolences. This type of “I’m sorry” doesn’t translate into the Korean word for an apology, so in that sense, it’s a difference between cultural language.
So when my friend tells me something that I find sad, and I don’t know what to say, I end up saying, “I’m sorry”, and he just tells me that I don’t need to be sorry since it’s not my fault… even though I don’t mean that it was my fault. I just don’t know how else to react. In these kind of instances, silence might just be golden. :)
Yes, if they don’t speak English too well they often mistake “I’m sorry” to mean “I appologize”.
LOL I’m a new reader. Loving the blog so far! The comment about the army in the end is priceless 😂😂😂