Ask McFartnuggets: “Why Do People Say I’m Sorry After Someone Dies?”

Dear McFartnuggets: 
How come when a person tells co-workers that their fiance died from a heroin overdose everyone says “I’m sorry!” Why the hell do I have to say I’m sorry? I didn’t kill them! If I did then obviously an apology would be in good order, but I had nothing to do with their demise, I wasn’t even there when it happened! I get that saying “I’m sorry” when someone tells you a loved one died is supposed to mean “I’m sorry to hear that,” but I think that should be obvious. If I don’t say “I’m sorry” will the other person think I’m happy to hear the news? What kind of goddamn lunatic would be happy to hear that? If I was happy to hear that then there’d be a good chance I hated that person and I wouldn’t be talking to them in the first place so clearly I’m not happy to hear it! What is the dealio with this?! -- Gladice from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Dear Gladice:
Yeah it’s just sort of like saying “God bless you” after someone sneezes. It doesn’t really mean anything or make a difference, it’s just a polite thing to do. It’s merely a social obligation. It’s not as if people hear “I’m sorry” and it makes them feel any better. People might not assume you hate them if you don’t say “I’m sorry,” but it does open the door to some doubts so it’s best to apologize for deaths that you had no responsibility for just because it requires little to no effort.

Even if you weren't the guy in the sombrero, it's nice to send your condolences.

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