How can I sound convincingly sorry?

Dear Holly,

Elton John was right: sorry really is the hardest word. I need some advice on how to make my apologies sound less terse and more convincing in future without actually meaning it… can you help?

Maria Miller

See expense claim form for address

Dear Maria,

Your best weapon in this situation is the ability to weep convincingly and dramatically. What heartless monster could continue to be angry at you as a few well-placed, lonely tears trickle down your sad face? If you find it hard to pretend, just think about something really, really upsetting – like Harry Styles being killed by firing squad, or Justin Bieber revealing he really was a lesbian all along.

Hope that helps!


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Sweden to become more stereotypical

SWEDISH ministers have announced a six-hour working day as part of plans to make their country more stereotypical.

The policy is one of several designed to bring Sweden in line with the caricatured view of the country held by other nations, particularly Britain.

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said: “Sweden leads the world in progressive social policy, but frequently visitors are disappointed that we don’t spend all our time assembling Ikea furniture in the nude.

“From now on all Swedes will have to spend at least 20 hours a week doing Swedish things, such as having a sauna and beating themselves with twigs while feeling totally unashamed of their naked bodies.

“We will also be deporting any women who are not tall, blonde and stunningly attractive. This may sound harsh, but it’s the only way to create the Volvo-driving, porn-using, smorgasbord-eating stereotype that the outside world loves so much.”

Reinfeldt said other policies would include banning all music that was not Abba-style disco-pop, which would be a blow to the country’s many rock musicians, hip hop artists and classical musicians, but would be popular with tourists.

Briton Roy Hobbs said: “I went on holiday to Sweden and for some unfathomable reason I didn’t have sex with any Swedish women. Fortunately Thomas Cook apologised and gave me a full refund.

“I did see a man on skis taking a reindeer for a walk, but that was a pretty poor substitute for 14 nights of passion with blonde nymphomaniacs.”