Regard the following sentence.

Oh, you can't make it? That's disappointing.

It's clear and to the point but it also expresses a certain portion of negativity of the experience. I'd like to use another word that will lower the negative connotation. It's still supposed to be there but not as the main flavor.

Instead, I'd like to feel the recipient included in my "pain" and not feel as the root cause of my disappointment. Please note that I know how to explain in in a next sentence or two but this question is for a single word or at most an expression.

I'd like to cause the recipients empathy for me feeling dismissed and ignored as I'm disappointed that, despite my efforts to accommodate the other's schedule, they won't attend. They are indeed to blame as the main reason but I want that to be disregarded (or at least not pointed out by me explicitly) and focus on my (or rather our unhappiness).

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    I recalled it's a pity, but I'm not 100% sure in its tone, being a non-native speaker. Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 10:52
  • I agree with @CopperKettle. It is a common usage to represent dismissal.
    – Varun Nair
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 10:54
  • @CopperKettle Is it a comment or a reply? If it's the latter, you might want to post it as such. Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 11:04
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    @CopperKettle I see. Although I feel that it certainly complies with the question's intention so I'm disappointed (pun intended) that you don't post it as a reply. Even if it's not accepted as the answer, it's still a productive contribution, in my opinion. In fact, it's a pity you said that. :) Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 11:06
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    @CopperKettle: The phrase is spot on. Post it as the answer.
    – SF.
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 12:07

2 Answers 2


Since it has been said that the phrase is spot-on, here it is:

Oh, you can't make it? It's a pity (or "That's a pity)

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    To me, it depends on the gravity of the situation. I would not generally use words such as pity and shame for everyday events such as a missed appointment (missed dinner, missed movie, or even a missed dinner date). I would employ them for more important or serious events such as missing a wedding, funeral, etc. But the OP hasn't specified the event that was missed. Additionally, using pity and shame often refer to the other person's fortune, not to the speaker's. That's too bad is vague enough to mean anything and could fit the OP's scenario.
    – user20792
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 16:23
  • @NES - thank you for the clarification! I felt it could be a bit off the spot. Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 19:12
  • I closevoted the question because it is unclear and could stand some more specific context.
    – user20792
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 19:25
  • @NES It's supposed to be general and that's why I chose not to provide closer details. The question is about finding a good word for disappointed according to the connotations described in the question. You seem to get hung on the part with missing an event or opportunity but that's not the aim of the question, so I understand you're confused. I only want to find a word that complies with the provided intention. I hope this makes it clearer for you. If you can think of different possible suggestions, why not put them in an answer for completeness' sake? We're looking for a generic version. Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 2:27
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    @CopperKettle I disagree with NES. While it's a shame is a bit too strong, that's not what you suggested - the user add that on his own. And it's a pity is definitely usable in everyday's cases, in my opinion, so I'm leaning towards accepting it as the answer. Your reply complies with all the specs in the question, I'd say, so it's one possible answer. I was kind of hoping for several different suggestions. Maybe NES will provide a few more. Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 2:32

In expressing your disappointment when hearing such news, a few of the most broadly used expressions are the followings:

(Oh really?) I am sorry to hear that.

(Oh, really?) That's too bad.

"That's too bad" doesn't necessarily imply the listener's action (that caused your disappointment) is too bad literally. It is a common expression to share your sympathy with him/her.

The link shows some other expressions and their connotations.

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    I'm a fan of "that's too bad" since that's what I usually use.
    – ryanyuyu
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 13:55
  • While being neutral and not accusative towards the recipient, those are not fully acceptable because they're omitting the implication of the speaker's unhappiness, disappointment and negative experience. They imply that the situation is regrettable but not that the speaker is experiencing anything. Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 2:35

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