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"Wow! How powerful a man do you have to be to be able to shoot somebody in the face, and have that guy go: 'My bad!'"
Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

As Collateral Angst states, Some stories make things even worse by having the casualty apologize for being hurt. They will use phrases such as "being a burden" or "letting you down" to express their guilt.

They are the Butt-Monkey, The Woobie, and/or the Chew Toy, and they apologize for it. When dangerous weapons are involved, it can don the name "Sorry I Fell Into Your Fire" or "Sorry I Bumped Into Your Bullet".

Compare and contrast Wounded Gazelle Gambit. Compare Why Did You Make Me Hit You? and Apologizes a Lot. My Fist Forgives You is the inverse of this.

Note: This is not when a character makes I Meant to Do That comments in the style of "I hit him in the tray with my face." This is when the person being attacked apologizes for being attacked.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Baccano!'s Jacuzzi Splot is prone to this due to his tendency to be a Martyr Without a Cause. On the low scale, he'll apologize for pretty much anything, up to and including being shoved. At the other side of the spectrum, he's blamed himself personally for the death of three men he encountered the day before — not because he killed them, but because his gang took them down (against his protests) while they were trying to murder him.
  • Tohru Honda of Fruits Basket does this quite a bit, not wanting to burden anyone with her troubles despite those troubles being pretty drastic. This is best seen in the beginning of the series, where while her grandfather's house is being renovated, she resorts to living in a tent, rather than bother any of her friends by staying with them.
    • Also Ritsu Sohma. The two of them occasionally get into apologizing contests.
  • Yukinari of Girls Bravo.
  • Keitaro of Love Hina has been known to do this at times.
  • Pet Shop of Horrors has Chris, who often apologizes for his very existence (his mother was a Death by Childbirth case) and feels that he's a burden on his family, even when he's been rendered psychologically damaged and unable to speak.
  • Scrapped Princess: The title character does this quite often. Apologizing to her older siblings for always having to protect her, wondering if the world would be better off without her, etc. And, of course, she's never really done anything wrong — apparently, she threatens the continued existence of the world simply by living. And, apparently, by dying. Girl just can't catch a break.
  • Princess Sakura in Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-. She can't fairly be held accountable for the burden she imposes on the crew, as she didn't choose to go on a dimension-hopping quest and can't help her drowsiness seeing as her heart literally broke into pieces and flew away. Her lack of combat ability is also understandable, given that she was a princess with an overprotective big brother. Later on she does get to kick some ass, until her soul leaves her body again.
  • Inverted in Yu-Gi-Oh!. There are two instances where Seto Kaiba throws a card to disarm someone in physical combat, and each time, he's disgusted that his opponent ruined his rare card. Kaiba's "This is for making me waste a perfectly good trading card!" moment in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series was not an exaggeration.

  • Billy Birmingham's Wired World of Sports 2 includes Rugby League commentary in which a player is "headbutted in the elbow". The commentators sympathize with the player as he falls over in agony, blood pouring profusely from his elbow.

    Fan Works 

  • An auto-collision version occurs in Analyze This. After Dr. Sobol rear-ends the mobsters, Jelly tells him "it's all right; it was our fault for being in front of you like that. Forget about it!" Then again, Jelly didn't REALLY think it was their fault; he was just trying to get rid of Dr. Sobol before he noticed the kidnapped mobster in the trunk.

  • She's not directly apologizing to her attacker, but after Lady Sybil is briefly taken hostage in The Fifth Elephant, she apologizes to her husband for "letting him down." It's more an apology for being tearful and shaken about it than an apology for being taken hostage, but it's enough to seriously freak him out.
  • Used sarcastically by Lando Calrissian in one of the Star Wars Legends novels; some corrupt cops rough him up, then drag him to the equally corrupt governor, where he is charged with many crimes, including assault on a law officer. Lando snarkily admits yes, he attacked the officer's fist with his stomach.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Blackadder. In "The Cavalier Years", after discovering Bladrick's latest cock-up, Blackadder says he's too busy to punch him. So he raises his fist and tells Baldrick to run towards it. He does.
  • In the first episode of the third series of Black Books Manny has fallen out with Bernard after an argument that led to his hand being shut in a sandwich toaster and as a result, Manny is now working in their competitor, Goliath Books. When things go wrong with his new job, Manny comes home crying to Bernard that "It's my fault you toasted my hand!"
  • Desperate Housewives: Gabby finds evidence suggesting her soon-to-be ex-husband, Carlos, could be on the verge of getting a very well-paying job. She decides she's going to woo him back so she can take him for even more money. They sleep together. He then reveals that he planted the fake evidence with the full knowledge that she'd steal it, read it, and then try to rob him blind. Outraged that she's been proven beyond all reasonable doubt to be a lying, manipulative, whorish bitch, she pushes Carlos out of the upstairs window. He survives with no damage lasting beyond the end of the episode. The closing narration still tries to suggest that Carlos was in the wrong, and that he feels guilty for being so cruel to Gabby.
  • Downton Abbey: Daisy often apologizes for Mrs. Patmore's mistakes.
  • When How I Met Your Mother's Barney gets into a fight with his Canadian side (It Makes Sense in Context) he smashes a vase over Canadian!Barney's head. Canadian!Barney apologises for the thickness of his skull and offers to split the cost of replacing the vase.
    • Marshall took Robin to a Canadian bar. Unbelieving they were surrounded by her countrymen, she tests one by bumping in to his back. The man apologizes to Robin and offers to buy her a donut.
  • The Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of Hamlet covers the death of Polonius like so:
    Hamlet: Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool!
    Crow (as Polonius) Oh right, it's my fault you killed me!
  • One of the Pete and Dud sketches involves Peter Cook upending a bowl of spaghetti over Dudley Moore's head. Dud: "I'm sorry, I seem to have spilt my spaghetti."
  • Red Dwarf, "Demons and Angels", when the High Lister has been fatally stabbed:
    High Lister: Forgive me, brother. I appear to have stained thy knife-end with my blood. A thousand apologies. (dies)
    High Rimmer: Brother, permit me to furnish you with a fresh knife.

  • From "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Canadian Idiot":
    Always hear the same kinda story
    Break their nose and they'll just say, "sorry"
    Tell me, what kinda freaks are that polite?

    Video Games 
  • In Demon's Souls, if you kill the Maiden in Black, the Nexial Binding in her ankle will revive her after a few seconds, and she will tearfully apologize for being unable to die.
  • In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, the heron prince Rafiel is like this. He's exceptionally weak in combat (he seriously can't even do damage (without using spell imitating items) but has a fantastic support ability), due to a paralyzing illness, which leaves him unable to fly, despite his massive wings and so soft-spoken that Ike says he's "afraid that he'll kill him if he shouts too loud." He apologizes when Ike calls him out for it. (If his allies fail to protect him in combat and he falls, he apologizes for that, too...but then, several of the characters do that, very dramatically.)
  • The Halloween Hack has Desperate Survivors, who waste turns and even go out apologizing to you even though you're the one attacking them (only more obvious that they run away from you on the field screen).
  • Similar to Tohru Honda, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask gives us Anju, owner of the Stock Pot Inn, who apologizes constantly out of nervous habit.
  • Pokémon has Audino. Many players go out of their way to hunt down these pokemon, as they give insane amounts of experience when knocked out. At level 35 and above, some Audino will actually heal the player's pokemon while getting the tar beaten out of them by said pokemon. Several tropes come to mind.
  • Inverted in Punch-Out!! for the Wii, where one of Mr. Sandman's lines is "Tell your face... to leave my fists alone."
  • Colette of Tales of Symphonia has this habit. Considering that the "troubles" she feels like she's burdening people with are almost invariably not her fault, but also occasionally life-threatening, this frustrates everyone else to no end.
    Lloyd: Stop apologizing for everything!
    Colette Oh, sorry...

    Web Animation 
  • Boggo from The Land Of Boggs is already an Extreme Doormat, but one short takes it to the extreme when a robber breaks into her house. She apologizes to the robber for how messy her house is, and when the robber hits Boggo on the head with a bottle, Boggo apologizes for getting blood on the robber's clothes and offers him money to pay for it.

  • Karl from Emergency Exit apologizes for being useless after he gets his face torn up while saving Sal's life.

    Western Animation 
  • Chris from Dan Vs. has so far apologized for being drugged, and therefore needing to be carried, more than once. He also apologizes for being heavy...and eating.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: In "Launch" at Season 5, Mermista, Perfuma and Frosta give a The Reason You Suck speech to Entrapta out of frustration and anger because they think that she didn't care about Glimmer (who was kidnapped by Horde Prime)and had agreed into tracking Prime's ship signal as a pretext to explore his technology. Actually, Entrapta WAS trying to track the signal to save Glimmer so she could atone for her wrongdoings while she worked for the Horde; she all but apologizes for being alive and breathing while she runs away in tears to find the signal at once. Still, Mermista almost yanked Entrapta's hair off before the poor scientist could explain her true intentions, still apologizing for not hearing her bullies. In the end, the princesses help her to find the signal so Adora and Bow will be able to rescue Glimmer, but they never apologize to Entrapta for mistreating her. No onscreen, at least.
  • In the Steven Universe: Future episode "Volleyball", Volleyball (A.K.A. Pink Pearl) attempts to justify the permanent loss of one of her eyes to one of Pink Diamond's violent childish tantrums by saying it was only because she was standing too close to Pink Diamond while it was happening and that Pink Diamond didn't really mean to hurt her. Just as much as she's trying to convince Steven and regular Pearl that it was her own fault, it's clear she's trying to convince herself it was her fault.

    Real Life 
  • US Vice-President Dick Cheney accidentally shot Harry Whittington, a wealthy campaign contributor, while they were hunting together in Texas. Whittington apologized to Cheney. Then again, the accident occurred at least partly because Whittington was standing somewhere he wasn't supposed to... And Cheney was shooting there without checking. This is the source of the page quote.
  • It's almost universal in Britain for someone who's been bumped into to begin to apologise profusely. They don't like confrontation...
  • Maybe not profusely, but it's common practice for Americans to apologize, too; both the bumper and the bumpee. Particularly if they are school-aged. Many American schools have a policy that anyone involved in a fight is punished. You can literally get expelled for being attacked, even if you don't fight back at all. This has caused many students to reflexively apologize for brushing against someone out of fear that the other person will get angry and start a fight. Obviously, the habit persists outside of a school environment.
    • In which case, the assumption is generally that someone wasn't paying attention to their surroundings. Nine times out of ten, it was both, so both are at fault.
  • Canadians often fit into this, too, due to their reputation for excessive politeness. A popular joke about Canadians reads as follows:
    Q: How do you get a Canadian to say "I'm sorry"?
    A: Step on his foot.
  • It's actually quite common for victims of assault (especially when it's unexpected) to apologize profusely while it's happening, only to wonder later (or even at the time) why they would do so. It doesn't seem to be explicable by personality traits like a "lack of confidence" or whatever. Possibly justified in that instance, as it could be a way of trying to mollify the assailant so they'll stop.


Video Example(s):


Volleyball's cracks

The further Volleyball denies that she was hurt by someone who genuinely cared for her in the past, the worse the cracks on her face spread; notice Pearl's expression as it happens here.

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