Why isn’t there a universal “I’m sorry” sign or symbol?

Earlier today I started to back out in front of someone.  Thankfully, I looked again before I continued and she was paying enough attention to catch me backing out before she hit me.  She stopped her car, I continued to back out, and I tried to tell her that I was sorry from my car, but I didn’t know how.  As I put my hands up, they didn’t know what to do.  I mouthed the words, “I’m sorry” as I put one hand over my heart and shook my head.  She nodded at me and parked in the spot that I had previously occupied and I drove away.

For the entire day I have been plagued with the question…

“Why isn’t there a universal sign to tell someone that you are sorry?”

I don’t know of a single individual, that doesn’t recognize the “Middle Finger” as a sign of Fuck you, you are an idiot etc…so why isn’t there a sign that says I’m sorry?!?!?fuck you

As a society are we that accustomed to negativity and blame that we know how to “tell someone off”, but we don’t know how to apologize?  Is it bigger than that?  Do we not know how to accept responsibility for our own shortcomings?

I spent almost an hour on google trying to find a “universal sign” for I’m sorry.  The closest thing I could find was the ASL or American Sign Language, and again that is not universal, and from any kind of distance would appear that I was giving the middle finger.

What would you do in a situation like that?  How do you convey that YOU SCREWED UP, when another driver can’t clearly see your facial expressions or hear your voice?  I had even thought of pulling over and getting out of my car to apologize, but in the city I live in you DON’T just walk up to someone’s car and not expect to get shot.

I’m sure I will go back to my busy life soon, and “forget” this incident, but I still wonder…. “Why isn’t there a sign for apologies?!?!?”



  1. Oh honey you did the best you could. That is all I do when I am trying to apologize to another drive, put my hands up in a nice way and mouth I am sorry. The universal language for telling someone off is SO much easier and understood. I use that kind of sign language a lot when drivers that can’t drive irritate me!!
    I hope you have a good day and don’t be too hard on yourself, you did not do anything wrong!!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. WOW! That’s all that comes out of my mouth. I mean thank you, but WOW! I don’t know what the liebster award is, but that fact that you would nominate ME has left me speechless….WOW! TY Alyssa 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. With all the bells and whistles modern cars have, I’ve often thought it’d be a good idea to have a small scrolling LED sign on the back shelf, with pre-programmmed messages available at the touch of a button; ‘Sorry’, ‘Thanks’, ‘Your tail light’s broken’ etc! 😉 I think it could prevent alot of road rage!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s actually so true. I’m not the best driver in the world and I had to say sorry a lot of times and tried the nodding thing too! haha sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. It would be very helpful to have a universal sign! Love reading your blog posts. Always a unique perspective.


  4. That is actually so true. I’m not the best driver so I’ve had to say sorry numerous times, tried shaking my head too, and holding up my hand, acting embarrassed haha. Sometimes it works, sometimes they don’t get it. Would be very helpful to have a sign! Love reading your posts, always a unique perspective and fun to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Accepting responsibility is a bit of a struggle for some, well, many… to apologize only admits wrongdoing. Probably one reason there’s no universal sign. And I think you’re correct there should be a hand signal like 🤙 or 🤟! I simply mouth sorry with a 😬 look. I think you did what you could and the person went in their merry way.🌸


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