In every society there are polite rituals, such as apologizing when one bumps into another person in the street.

The example illustrates the use of routine phrases such as sorry and okay to apologize when a small offence has been committed. According to Goffman, the ritual work of apologizing 'allows the participants to go on their way, if not with satisfaction that matters are closed, then at least with the right to act as if they feel that ritual equilibrium has been restored' (Goffman 1976: 68).