Is Londoners favorite phrase “I’m sorry”

I have been living in London for nearly three months now, there is something weird that goes on that I am going to talk about.  There seems to be a certain phenomenon in London, or in the UK in general, and that is the British tend to apologize for things that are out of their control, or when it wasn’t their fault.  To me as an American student studying here, that is a little bit odd.

An example of this was when I was trying to get into a jam packed rush hour tube in order to get to class on time.  The tube is crowded, it is difficult to move, and it was a very uncomfortable feeling as you can imagine.  Since I was pinned up against the wall in a awkward position, I was trying to move a little bit in order to try and get some breathing space.  However, as soon as I moved, I stepped on a man’s foot, and his face looked a little bit in pain.  However, before I could get any words out to see if he was ok, or to apologize he said “I’m sorry”.  When I heard that I was thinking “what is wrong with this guy?”  I just stepped on his foot, causing him discomfort yet he is apologizing to me?  It was such a strange moment that I have never felt before. However, now thinking back on it I realized that in general, manners are considered more in Britain as a whole. He felt like he got in my, but that wasn’t the case at all.  We were all crammed and in the same position.  So in essence I believe that Brits in general are taught to be nicer, and to always apologize even if the incident was not their fault or their own doing.  It is all about manners!