I found myself apologizing recently as I went to push a button on the elevator and accidentally pressed one for the wrong floor. It wasn't a big deal, but as I heard myself say "I'm sorry," I realized I apologize not only for mistakes I make, but for things that aren't my fault or circumstances that are out of my control.
If someone bumps into me with their cart at a grocery store, I'm usually the one apologizing. If a door slams on me because the person coming out or going into a building doesn't see me, I apologize to them before they have the chance to say "I'm sorry" to me. And that's OK, I don't mind saying "I'm sorry" when I'm wrong, or have made a mistake, but I also think apologizing is in my DNA.
While my mom is from the US, my dad was born in the UK. I've spent a lot of my life there, and have picked up a few habits, including apologizing You see, the British have a reputation for two things: talking about the weather, and they apologize for things that aren't their fault. In fact, a survey I came across not too long ago confirmed what my dad, and family overseas have known for eons....there is something very British about saying sorry.
According to Yougov, Brits apologize more when they're the "victim," i.e. someone bumps into them. A third apologize for a sneeze (compared to 22% of Americans), while more than a third would say "sorry" if someone bumped into them, versus 24% of us here in the US. And the survey also finds more Brits regret how often they apologize than we do here. In the big scheme of things, there are worse things to say than "I'm sorry,"
And like my grandmother once told me when I pointed out how often she would apologize, "Oh, I don't think of it as an apology Daniel, I think most of the time I'm just being polite." maybe she's right, but I still feel the need to say I'm sorry for distracting you from your work if you took time to read this. See, some habits are just too hard to break.